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UN Chinese Language Day 2024 – April 20

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UN Chinese Language Day - April 20 2024The United Nations (UN) Chinese Language Day is annually observed across the globe on 20 April to promote and celebrate the Chinese language, one of the 6 official languages of the UN.

  • On 20 April 2024, the UN celebrated the 15th annual Chinese Language Day.

Goals of UN Chinese Language Day:

i.Showcase Chinese characters’ beauty in traditional and contemporary art forms.

ii.Promote dialogue and cultural exchange among civilizations through the sharing of ideas.


i.In 2010, the UN Department of Public Information (now the Department of Global Communications) announced the launch of the UN Language Day to commemorate multilingualism and cultural diversity while advocating for the equal usage of all 6 official languages within the Organisation.

ii.The 1st ever UN Chinese Day was observed on 12 November 2010 and since 2011, the day has been observed on 20th April. 

Why April 20? 

i.The date April 20 was selected from Guyu (“Rain of Millet”), which is the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars, to pay tribute to Cangjie. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20.

ii.Cangjie is an ancient figure and the ancestor of Chinese characters. He was claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and credited with inventing Chinese characters.

Chinese at the UN:

i.Chinese became the official language of the UN in 1946 but was initially not commonly used in the work of the UN.

ii.Its usage increased after restoring the People’s Republic of China’s rights in the UN in 1971.

iii.The UN General Assembly (UNGA) recognised Chinese as a working language in 1973, followed by the Security Council in 1974.

iv.Today, Chinese is increasingly utilised by UN offices and staff members.

Key Facts:

i.When the UN was established in 1945, Chinese was identified as one of its official language.

ii.Chinese is widely recognised as the most spoken language globally.

iii.Among the 6 official languages ​​of the UN, Chinese is the only language that has study activities in its native country China.

iv.In 2009, UNESCO included Chinese calligraphy, a tradition spanning over 3,000 years in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

2024 Events:

The Permanent Mission of China to the UN, the Chinese Translation Service of the UN Headquarters, and the UN Staff Cultural and Entertainment Council Chinese Book Club organized some events to promote the Chinese language in the UN multilateral diplomacy.

i.On April 18, 2024, the UN China Book Club organised an event “Conversation and Joy, Harmony and Coexistence” to celebrate the 15th UN Chinese Language Day.

  • This event was divided into 3 parts: Chinese music, language lectures, and round-table discussions.

ii.An Exhibition titled, “Chinese Characters: A Journey of Creation, Connection And Harmony“, has been organised from 19th – 26th April 2024 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

  • It is co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of China to the UN, the Nanjing Municipal People’s Government, the Chinese Language Section of the UNGA Department, and the UN China Calligraphy Society.

iii.The Documentation Division presents an Exhibition titled, “The 24 Solar Terms: Fifth Great Invention of Ancient China” sponsored by the Chinese Translation Service from April 8th – April 19th, 2024 at Albano Building Hall, in New York.

iv.The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organised an exhibition celebrating UN Chinese Language Day from 15-19 April 2024 in Paris, France.

Note: In addition, the UN offices in Geneva (Switzerland), Bangkok (Thailand), Nairobi (Kenya), Vienna (Austria), and other UN agencies also hold events to celebrate the UN Chinese Language Day.

Other UN Language Days:

  • Arabic Language Day: December 18
  • English Language Day: April 23
  • Russian Language Day: June 6
  • Spanish Language Day: April 23
  • French Language Day: March 20