Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, March 25, 2002

Chinese Experts Pitching in Rescuing World's Only 'Female Characters'

Chinese experts are organizing a project to rescue "Female Characters" as the only written form of feminine scripts in the world that are on the verge of extinction.
"Female Characters", also named "female letters", is an old unique written form of females handed down among folks from generation to generation in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province.


Sole Female Characters in the World

Totaling over 2,000 symbols in all, the characters by themselves were just a sign system having been used by females in daily life.

As is known from textual research, these were not only sole female characters or rare signs and old syllable characters closely related to inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells known to China's history, but also a written form of scripts from ancient Yue handed down to current age.

"Characters" Face with Inheritance Crisis

After being discovered by the "Female Characters" Research Group of the South-Central University for Ethnic Communities of Hubei Province in 1983, the precious works of the traditional Chinese culture quickly aroused thick attention and wide concern among Chinese and foreign scholars. However, due to certain historical and practical reasons, the "Female Characters" are faced with inheritance crisis. Successors of the scripts had passed away successively without worthy successors; source works of the scripts had run off severely. About a hundred of "Female Character" works had been missing but found in foreign lands and some were even damaged.

Society Urged to Rescue the Chracters

  • Proposal on Close Attentions

  • A call has been issued by participants at the Chinese "Female Characters" Cultural Salvage Project Forum--National "Female Characters" Academic Symposium held in the South-Central University for Ethnic Communities in May 2001 for close attention and active effective measures for conducting, rescuing, research and developing work on "Female Characters".

  • Research Collection to be Published

  • Experts proposed to set up "Chinese 'Female Characters Cultural Symposium" and unite all those who are concerned with "Female Characters". "Female Characters" Cultural Research Center of the South-Central University for Ethnic Communities and the People's Government of Jiangyong County will jointly set up an editorial board of the "Chinese 'Female Characters' Cultural Research Collection". The board will be in charge of the work of editing and publishing the "Chinese 'Female Characters' Cultural Research Collection". The collection will include a large number of original written sources and documents of the "Female Characters". The publication of the collection is the first step of the rescue project.

  • Blueprint of Rescuing Work

  • Sources say that "China 'Female Characters' Cultural Salvage Project" has been blueprinted for collating and publishing an 8-million-chracter collection of "China 'Female Characters' Cultural Research", setting up a Chinese "Female Characters" Cultural Museum, developing Jiangyong Cultural Tourism Beauty Spot and Convening the International Academic Symposium on "Female Characters".

    By PD Online staff member Du Minghua

    About SCUEC

    South-center University for Nationalities, a comprehensive university directly under the leadership of the State Nationalities Affairs Commission, is a primary training center for all kinds of professionals among minority nationalities and one of 190 famous universities in China. It is located in Wuhan, a large city in Central China which has convenient transportation by water, air and land. SCUEC was founded in 1951.The 70-hectare campus is beautiful with green hills, lakes and luxuriant trees. The facilities,170,000 square meters, retain a strong style of the nationalities combined with modern architecture, reflecting the shades of gentle slopes and blue sky. With much greenery the campus is widely known for its garden-like environment.

    By now SCUEC has set up one Adult Education School and 15 departments, 12 Research Institutes and four Centers. In addition, the university publishes three different academic periodicals. SCUEC now has a staff of 1,500 from more than 20 ethnic groups, among whom are 30 full and associate professors. There are more than 6,700 full-time students and nearly 2,000 students of the Adult Education school from about 30 nationalities.

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