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Father of Chinese Romanization dies at 111

15 Jan, 2017 20:14:07

Staff Correspondent:Chinese linguist Zhou Youguang, who created the writing system that turns Chinese characters into words using letters from the Roman alphabet, has died at the age of 111.

Born in 1906 during China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing, Zhou died at his home in Beijing, one day after celebrating his birthday.

Mr Zhou and a Communist party committee spent three years developing the Pinyin system in the 1950s.

It changed the way the language was taught and helped raise literacy rates.

Zhou went on to work on an official Chinese translation of the Encyclopedia Britannica and write on topics including the evolution of Chinese historical languages and scripts.

As a young man Mr Zhou spent time in the US and worked as a Wall Street banker.

He returned to China after the communist victory in 1949 and was put in charge of creating a new writing system using the Roman alphabet.

It is also widely used to type Chinese characters on computers and smartphones.

In his later years he wrote a number of books, most of which were banned.

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