BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The popularization of Mandarin Chinese has helped more poor people to improve their communication and vocational skills, according to the Ministry of Education.
The use of a common language is important for education, and education is important for poverty reduction. This idea has now been widely recognized, Xu Xiaoping, an official with the ministry, said Wednesday at a symposium on poverty reduction in Beijing.
According to the ministry, China has been promoting the use of Mandarin in most impoverished areas to remove language barriers.
China published a three-year action plan in 2018 listing Mandarin popularization as a task in poverty alleviation.
As of 2015, about 73 percent of Chinese people could speak Mandarin, up from 53 percent in 2000, while more than 95 percent of the literate population could use standardized Chinese characters.
The country also launched an annual Mandarin popularization week in 1998 to promote standard spoken and written Chinese language, improve literacy and develop Chinese culture.