UN Chinese Language Day

As the UN marks Chinese Language Day Tuesday, Permanent Representative of China to the UN Office at Geneva, Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu, introduced this year’s exhibition celebrating “Nv Shu,” a unique and ancient Chinese form of women’s calligraphy originating from Jiangyong County in central China.

Ma explained in his opening remarks at the UN Chinese Language Day reception that Nv Shu is significantly valuable for the research on the origin of human languages and feminine culture as well as the origin and development of civilization.

Created by uneducated peasant women living in mountainous areas, the written language is unique in the world as it was invented by women and exclusively used amongst themselves.

Using symbols for phonetic syllables of local dialect, Nv Shu is based on China’s calligraphic practice and is an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Although almost forgotten in the 20th century, the Chinese government is reviving the script which Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva Michael Moller defined as both a symbol of “resilience” and “ingenuity.”

Ma said Nv Shu may be the only gender-specific form of writing in the world and, considering the history of its origins, a testament to the power of women to overcome adversity and forge a unique cultural tradition.

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