Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




In traditional studies of language policy in China, scholars mainly try to evaluate language policy’s effectiveness in attaining goals such as national unity, economic development, and illiteracy reduction. Few people question the underlying framework of such language planning. This paper tries to call into question those basic assumptions. By adopting a critical theory perspective, this paper tries to locate the origin of the current language policy in China in its historical context and argues that the foundation for current Chinese language policy can be tracked back to colonialism: the framework of the current language policy is based on a Eurocentric model as part of a broader project of governmentality and the current simplified Chinese script is partially a colonial invention.