Brush Strokes


Character of the year


The Chinese character zhang (涨), which means ‘rise’, has been voted “Character of the Year” for 2010. In an internet poll published on, a popular web portal, 40% of the 7,563 respondents voted for it, beating other nominated characters like yuan (resentment), hui (grey), chai (demolish) and si (death).

Why? Experts say the result suggests the public’s awareness of inflation, with the character closely associated with jumps in food and house prices. Last month, Beijing announced that consumer inflation jumped 5.1% in November – a 28-month high. “We heard various opinions about which character summarised the big events of the year 2010 and most netizens finally chose zhang, which mirrors the fact that price surges have affected the lives of so many people,” says Ying Jianqun, head of the press department of Tianya. “I hope the related government departments will hear the response from the public.”

And as it turns out, the character seems to have further political meaning. Many say the word also best describes the improving relations between China and Taiwan, said China News Net. Last year, the two signed the historic trade deal ECFA, which reduces tariffs on hundreds of products on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and deepens economic ties between the one-time enemies.

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