Houses - a reflection of the people's heavy financial burden

While Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year 2013, selfie, captures a light-hearted global phenomenon, the Chinese Character of the Year takes on a more serious tone.

Fang, or house, reflected the heavy financial burden faced by the people as rising property prices make buying a house a far-fetched dream.

The character was unveiled as the top pick in an event co-hosted by the National Language Resources Monitoring and Research Centre, Commercial Press, China Network Television and Shandong Satellite Television and more.

Beijing Language and Culture University party chief Prof Li Yuming said in Beijing Evening News that owning a house is a practical wish, but also a pain in the hearts of the Chinese.

Fang brings out people’s expectation for a better housing policy,” he said.

The other contenders for the Chinese Word of the Year included meng (dream), lian (uncorrupted), mai (smog), jian (frugal), xin (new), min (people), zao (heat), zheng (upstanding) and fu (assist).

The organisers also announced zheng neng liang (positive energy) as the Chinese Term of the Year, zheng (fight) as the International Character of the Year and Mandela as International Term of the Year.

The three-stage selection process began with the Netizens nominating their preferred words and phrases online.

A panel of 20 experts then narrowed down the entries to 10 per category before the Netizens picked their choices in a poll.

Another poll by China’s wiki site Hudong, Chinese Culture Promotion Society, China Newsweek and others saw fa (law) being crowned Chinese Character of the Year.

As widely reported, one of the key highlights in the Third Plenum this year was to reform the country’s legal system.

Hudong concluded that the abolishment of the “re-education through labour” system, pledges to improve judiciary independence, trial of disgraced politician Bo Xilai and other examples reflected the society’s respect for law.

The poll also listed Chinese Dream, smog, Edward Snowden of the National Security Agency scandal, Bitcoin and Big Yellow Duck as the top ten popular terms of the year.

Meanwhile, financial magazine Money Weekly declared tu as the Finance Word of the Year in China.

While the character carries the meaning of abrupt or sudden, it is paired with other characters to form 10 verbs that best sum up the financial headlines in 2013.

For instance, tu po (breakthrough) described the establishment of Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, tu die (sudden drop) referred to the gold price fall while tu zhang (sudden hike) summarised the Bitcoin’s prices surge.

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. 

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