Skip to main content


Showing posts with the label pinyin

Pinyin vs Wade-Giles, or China vs Taiwan

In the past I have been asked why in some of my posts I write Guomindang while in others I write Kuomintang . Both have the same meaning and pronunciation, but the different spelling is indeed confusing. The same thing can be said for other names, such as Kaohsiung vs Gaoxiong , or Taichung vs Taizhong . I must admit that I have been quite inconsistent. So far I haven't made a clear choice between the Taiwanese and the Chinese way to write these names. But why are there different ways to write Chinese characters using Latin letters? And which one is better? Map of Taiwan. The names are written with the Wade-Giles system Wade-Giles, Pinyin, and the Chinese Civil War When contacts between China and the West intensified in the 19th century, Europeans were confronted with a big issue: how to transliterate Chinese names? For instance, if a Westerner wanted to write a book about China for a Western audience, he had to mention Chinese persons and places. But how could