Skip to content

RFA: Beijing Removing English from Road Signs

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), dual-language road signs in Beijing are being replaced with Chinese-only road signs. Previously, many road signs had both Chinese and English. Authorities in Beijing said the updating will enhance the “overall city image,” give citizens a sense of belonging, and improve road safety and traffic efficiency. The change comes not long after directional signs on highways across China were changed from Chinese-language-only to dual Chinese-and-English signs.

The move  triggered a nationwide online discussion. Some speculated that Beijing may feel that its relationship with the West is completely hopeless, citing the recent meeting between Biden and Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in the US. Some netizens expressed worry that the all-Chinese road signs may cause inconvenience to foreign tourists. Others stated that many government officials send their kids to foreign countries [in the West] even as Western languages are at home in China. Meanwhile, some supporters of the new policy expressed the view that the transportation department’s signage update is a manifestation of cultural confidence and of China’s international status.

Both the Traffic Management Bureau of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and Beijing’s Municipal Traffic Service Hotline were unavailable for comment.

Source: RFA, December 1, 2023