Chinese Language Day

Language Days at the United Nations seek to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization. Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization's six official languages.

Why April 20?

The date for the Chinese day was selected from Guyu ("Rain of Millet"), which is the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars, to pay tribute to Cangjie. Cangjie is a very important figure in ancient China, claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that he had four eyes and four pupils, and that when he invented the characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. From then on, Chinese people celebrate the day Guyu in honour of Cangjie. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20.

Chinese at the UN

Chinese was established as an official language of the United Nations in 1946. However, in early years, Chinese was not commonly used in the work of the United Nations. The situation was improved after restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations in 1971. In 1973, the General Assembly included Chinese as a working language, which was followed by the Security Council in 1974. More and more UN offices and staff members work with Chinese language.


2021 Events Theme: Highlighting Pictographs



A three-event series on three types of pictographs associated with three World Heritage sites

In celebration of United Nations Chinese Language Day 2021, UNSRC Chinese Book Club is organizing three events under the theme "Highlighting Pictographs". The three events focus on three types of pictographs associated with three cultures and three UNESCO World Heritage sites. All three events will be conducted live via Zoom. Each event lasts one hour and includes a 10-minute Q&A session.

H.E. Mr. ZHANG Jun, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations, will deliver the opening remarks at the first event on April 19.