About 400 million Chinese can not speak mandarin

Updated: 2013-09-05 19:47


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BEIJING - About 30 percent of the Chinese population, or 400 million people, can not speak mandarin, said the Ministry of Education here Thursday.

Although the remainder of 1.3 billion Chinese can communicate in mandarin, also known as "putonghua," a large number of them do not speak it well, and the country still needs to invest in promoting mandarin, said Xu Mei, the ministry's spokeswoman, at a press conference.

The government has held a campaign to promote mandarin in the third week of September every year since 1998.

This year the ministry will focus on the remote countryside and areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, Xu said.