Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters used in mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore, as prescribed by the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy.[1] They are officially used in the People's Republic of China, Malaysia and Singapore, while traditional Chinese characters still remain in common use in Hong Kong, Macau, ROC/Taiwan and Japan to a certain extent.

Quick facts: Simplified Chinese , Script type, Time period...
Simplified Chinese
Script type
Time period
1956 – present
  • Left-to-right, rows top to bottom (modern usage)
  • Top-to-bottom, columns right to left (traditional style)
Official script
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Hans (501), Han (Simplified variant)
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
Quick facts: Simplified Chinese characters, Simplified Chi...
Simplified Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese简化字[note 1]
Traditional Chinese簡化字
Alternative rendering
Simplified Chinese简体字
Traditional Chinese簡體字

Simplified Chinese characters may be referred to by their official name above or colloquially 简体字; Jiǎntǐzì . In its broadest sense, the latter term refers to all characters that have undergone simplifications of character "structure" or "body",[note 2] some of which have existed for millennia mainly in handwriting alongside traditional characters. On the other hand, the official name refers to the modern systematically simplified character set, which (as stated by then-Chairman Mao Zedong in 1952) includes not only structural simplification but also substantial reduction in the total number of standardized Chinese characters.[3]

Simplified character forms were created by reducing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of Chinese characters. Some simplifications were based on popular cursive forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character, usually the simplest amongst all variants in form. Finally, many characters were left untouched by simplification and are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies.

A second round of simplifications was promulgated in 1977, but was later retracted in 1986 for a variety of reasons, largely due to the confusion caused and the unpopularity of the second-round simplifications.[4]

In August 2009, China began collecting public comments for a modified list of simplified characters.[5][6][7][8] The new Table of General Standard Chinese Characters consisting of 8,105 (simplified and unchanged) characters was officially implemented for use by the State Council of the People's Republic of China on June 5, 2013.[9]