On December 11, 2020, the National Center for Monitoring and Research on Language Resources released the “Top 10 Chinese Media Buzzwords of 2020” as an important part of the annual “Chinese Language Stocktaking” campaign. This list is based on the National Language Resources and Monitoring Corpus, and was compiled using intelligent language information processing techniques, together with manual extraction and selection. A total of more than 1 billion characters from the publications, transcripts and texts of 15 newspapers, 12 TV stations, 7 radio stations and 2 web portals were analyzed to choose the top 10 buzzwords that best describe what happened in China in 2020.
Top 10 Chinese media buzzwords of 2020 and their meaning
1. 新冠肺炎 (xīn guān fèi yán, COVID-19)
At the end of 2019, an outbreak of viral pneumonia of unknown origin emerged. On January 9, 2020, this viral agent was tentatively identified as a novel coronavirus and the media began using the term “novel coronavirus disease” in reports. On February 11, the World Health Organization announced that it had named the new disease “COVID-19”. The spread of COVID-19 has had a profound impact on global economic and social life. Many businesses have been shut down, while tourism and other services have been heavily disrupted. New ways of working and living have emerged, and the world has changed rapidly and dramatically.
2. 抗疫 (kàng yì, combating covid-19)
At the end of 2019, immediately after the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, the central government mobilized resources from across the country to the aid of Hubei province, and introduced the most comprehensive and strictest lockdowns. Medical workers in other provinces volunteered to work in Hubei, putting themselves in harm’s way to save patients. Thousands of construction works work 13 days nonstop, building two makeshift hospitals in Wuhan. Citizens used great discipline and will power, locking themselves in their own homes and avoiding crowds for two months until the nationwide lockdown was lifted.
3. 复工复产(fù gong fù chǎn, resumption of work and production)
On February 3, 2020, the central government instructed that local government “fully support production resumption by enterprises while bringing the epidemic under control”. This instruction marked the beginning of a gradual but swift recovery of the Chinese economy put on halt for a month. On March 4, the central government emphasized that “differentiated approaches should be adopted to reopen the economy in regions based on local epidemic situations”. On April 8, full-scale resumption of work and production was approved. On April 17, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China noted at meeting that “economic and manufacturing activity was gradually approaching or reaching a normal level”.
4. 民法典 (mín fǎ diǎn, the Civil Code)
On May 28, 2020, the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China was adopted at the Third Session of the 13th National People's Congress and will come into force on January 1 2021. This is the first major code of law ever to be enacted since the founding of the PRC and contains the most substantive provisions. The Civil Code marks a new era in China’s legislation, and holds far-reaching significance for China’s governance, opening up and reforms, and drive towards modernization.
5. 网课(wǎng kè, online classes)
At the end of January 2020, the MOE issued a notice to postpone the start of the spring semester, in response to the covid-19 outbreak. In order to ensure that students kept learning even without going to school, education departments at all levels made quality educational resources available and easily accessible online. At the same time, schools and universities moved their classes online. Online classes became the main channel of communication between teachers and students during the nationwide lockdown.
6. 双循环 (shuāng xún huán, dual circulation)
“Dual circulation” refers to a development strategy in which the domestic consumption, production and distribution plays a leading role, supplemented and reinforced by an export-driven economy. The strategy was first proposed by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China on May 14, 2020 and further reiterated by President Xi Jinping at the Two Sessions in late May. It was intended to reduce China’s reliance on export for economic development and build a more resilient and open economy amid rising unilateralism and protectionism around the world.
7. 人类卫生健康共同体(rén lèi wèi sheng jiàn kāng gòng tóng tǐ, a community of common health for mankind)
On March 21, 2020, President Xi Jinping first proposed the idea of “a community of common health for humanity” in his call to French President Macron. On May 18, in his opening address to the 73rd World Health Assembly, held via video conference, President Xi formally put forward the notion, calling for joint efforts to protect the lives and health of all peoples and planet earth.
8. 抗美援朝70周年 (kàng Měi yuán Cháo 70 zhōu nián, 70th Anniversary of the war to resist American aggression and aid Korea)
2020 marks the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) army entering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to help in the war to resist US aggression and aid Korea. On October 19, 1950, as requested by the DPRK, CPV forces crossed the Yalu River to aid the DPRK push back invading American troops. Through three years of relentless fighting and arduous battles, the CPV and the North Korean armies accomplished an epic miracle of the weak overcoming the mighty, obliging the world’s most powerful US troops to accept a negotiated peace. The victory was a formal proclamation that the Chinese people had risen to their feet, and marked a major milestone in the nation’s march toward rejuvenation.
9. 六稳六保(liù wěn liù bǎo, six pillars of stability, six policies for protection)
“六稳” means to keep employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign and domestic investments and expectations stable. The policy guideline was put forward at the Central Economic Work Conference in 2018 in response to an increasingly complex internal and external economic environment. In April 2020, in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak and rising external uncertainties, the central government introduced the “六保” policy initiative, i.e., ensuring security in employment, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, industrial and supply chains, and the functioning of grass-roots governments.
10. 嫦娥五号 (cháng é wǔ hào, Chang’e-5 probe)
A Long March 5 rocket carrying China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe took off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan on November 24, on a mission to collect rocks from the moon. On December 1, the probe landed at a pre-defined location and beamed back a camera image of the ground below the spacecraft. On December 17, the Chang'e-5 mission successfully returned to Earth carrying China’s first moon samples.