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China defines key culture terms

Updated: Dec 24,2014 7:19 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China defined and translated key concepts in its traditional philosophy and culture, such as widely-known “yin and yang”, to avoid misconception.

The definitions and translations of first 81 terms that express Chinese mentality and values were published in Beijing on Dec 24, with more to follow.

The defining work is part of the “Project to Share Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture” which is headed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in cooperation with other government departments.

The 81 terms include basic concepts that constitute the essence of what is considered the best of traditional Chinese culture, such as Dao, Ren, Yi.

The three phonetically translated terms generally mean righteousness, love for others and proper standard for people’s actions. Their detailed extended meanings and applications, rendered in both Chinese and English, are included in the definition.

“Yin and Yang” were defined as two basic contrary forces or qualities that coexist, with a further explanation that “the active, hot, upward, outward, bright, forward and strong are yang, while the opposite is yin.”

The MOE said in a statement that lack of a unified and coherent interpretations of these concepts has led to misconception and difficulties for foreigners to understand Chinese culture.

According to the MOE, the project will be published, made into an online database, and turned into video and audio products. A website will be launched early next year, where readers can browse the terms in simplified and traditional Chinese, as well as in English.