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English-only town triggers hot debate
北京密云欲建英语城引发热议   2011-12-20 13:47:00

An English-only teaching town to be built in a suburb northeast of Beijing would ban Chinese and other foreign languages in an effort to attract anglophiles and students looking for an immersion experience, the Jinghua Times reported last Thursday.


"We plan to build in the European architectural style of the English city. The town will be divided into 16 city blocks, laid out like a castle," said Wang Haichen, head of Miyun County.

"It's like going abroad for tourists. When they arrive, they will get a 'passport' which has to be stamped. And those who are caught speaking Chinese will have their points on the passport deducted," Wang said.

According to Wang, the language rules were drawn up as a bid to distinguish the development from the other European-style towns across the country.

News of the town, which Wang said is expected to take five years to build, has been forwarded more than 10,000 times on Twitter-like microblogging platform Sina Weibo, where it has stirred fierce debate.

Some netizens expressed disgust for the plans. "We are now in an increasingly globalized world. But that doesn't mean we should forget who we are," one blogger wrote. "It's good to embrace globalization, but why should we forget our native language?" another blogger asked.

Others argued the language rule is a form of discrimination. "Does that mean people who can't speak English should stay away?" one blogger asked. Another blogger struck a more ironic tone: "Which 'genius' developed this idea? We can speak Chinese in English-speaking countries, but now we are forbidden at home."









source :     editor:: Zhang Yan
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