BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- About 73 percent of Chinese people can speak Mandarin Chinese, up from 53 percent in 2000, an official with the Ministry of Education (MOE) said Friday.
More than 95 percent of the literate population can use standardized Chinese characters, said Tian Lixin, head of the department for language application and information management under the MOE.
Chinese has become increasingly important as an international language and the number of people learning Chinese around the world is growing, Tian said.
Various activities will be held in the coming week as the country marks its 20th Mandarin promotion week, including chanting of Chinese classics and dictation of Chinese characters.
China has long been promoting the use of standardized Mandarin, based on the dialect of Beijing, and encourages ethnic minorities and those living in rural areas to learn the official language.