Wikipedia:Manual of Style/China- and Chinese-related articles

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

These conventions should be followed when making edits involving Chinese-language text, or when editing articles concerning China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and other Chinese-speaking areas.

Lead section

Personal names

In articles on people known by a

family name and which is the given name. Editors can add either a hatnote or a footnote identifying the family name (see Template:Family name explanation § Footnotes vs. hatnotes

To add a footnote, use the {{family name footnote}} after the first bolded instance of a person's name. For example:

Markup Renders as
'''Mao Zedong'''{{Family name footnote|[[Mao (surname)|Mao]]|lang=Chinese}} (December 26, 1893{{spaced ndash}}September 9, 1976) was a Chinese communist revolutionary...

Mao Zedong[a] (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) was a Chinese communist revolutionary...

  1. ^ In this Chinese name, the family name is Mao.

To add a hatnote, place the {{family name hatnote}} at the top of the article. For example:

Markup Renders as
{{family name hatnote|[[Mao (surname)|Mao]]|lang=Chinese}} '''Mao Zedong''' (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) was a Chinese communist revolutionary...

Mao Zedong (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) was a Chinese communist revolutionary...

Providing the Chinese-language name

Any encyclopedia entry with a title that is a Chinese proper name should include both the Chinese characters and the

tone marks omitted: "Mao Zedong
", not "Máo Zédōng", unless another spelling is common (see below).

Introductory sentences

The {{

Sidney Lau romanizations
. For example:

Markup Renders as
'''Zeng Guofan''' ({{zh|s=曾国藩|t=曾國藩|first=t|p=Zēng Guófān|w=Tseng1 Kuo2-fan1}})

Zeng Guofan (traditional Chinese: 曾國藩; simplified Chinese: 曾国藩; pinyin: Zēng Guófān; Wade–Giles: Tseng1 Kuo2-fan1)

If the simplified and traditional characters are different then consider adding both. Simplified characters should be first for modern China/Singapore subjects and the opposite should be done for modern Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau subjects. The {{

}} template puts simplified characters first by default; use the |first=t option to put traditional characters first, as in the example.


Ông Uî
Middle Chinese
Middle Chineseɦuang jwi

Where there is more than one parameter in use in a given article, an {{

zh}}. This removes the characters, romanization and pronunciations from the opening sentence, thus making it more readable, while retaining the information off to the side so that the reader can still see it— see the top of this section for an example; see {{Infobox Chinese/doc}} for how to use it. In general, both simplified and traditional characters should be displayed in {{Infobox Chinese
}}; however, case-by-case consensus can determine exceptions to the general rule.

Chinese can be used in other infoboxes. Some such as {{Infobox settlement}} have |native_name= and |native_name_lang= which can be used for Chinese. In others Chinese text can be added to the |name= field, separated from the English by a <br /> to put it on a new line. In this way 'English' infoboxes can be used for Chinese topics; for instance {{Infobox royalty}} should be used for Chinese emperors, see Kangxi Emperor for an example.

Chinese-language text


Avoid putting Chinese characters in italics or bold, as it tends to make their presentation less legible: . The templates {{nobold}}, {{noitalic}}, and {{normal}} can be used to remove this formatting in places where it is usually otherwise desired, such as within infoboxes.

Unless it has its own article, when a name, term, or phrase that comes from Chinese is mentioned for the first time in an article, it is often helpful to include the original Chinese-language text. There are many distinct Chinese words and names with similar or identical romanisations, and translations of Chinese terms into English may be inexact or easily conflated without additional context. Including the characters can help disambiguate in these cases. In most cases, appropriate romanisations should be presented alongside any characters that are included in an article.

However, text that cannot be read by the vast majority of readers should interrupt the flow of reading as little as possible. Put characters and their romanisations in parentheses, as if they were interjections detached from the sentence. As an exercise, read the sentence out loud while skipping everything inside the parentheses. If the sentence can be successfully read while remaining grammatical, and without any confusion or interruptions, then the form of the sentence is acceptable. When tagging Chinese-language text using the {{

zh}} template, set the |labels= parameter to no to prevent labels from being shown, or use the shorter {{zhi
}} alias. For example:

Red XN His name was 刘仁静 (Liu Renjing).

Green tickY His name was Liu Renjing (刘仁静).

Chinese characters in list or table entries do not need to be placed in parentheses because these items are seldom read like sentences. In general, whether characters should be bracketed depends heavily on context, and which aspect of the subject is being emphasised in the larger passage.

To make text easier to read and reduce redundancies, do not include Chinese text if a name or term has an article. Readers who wish to see the native representation should be able to find it on the linked article.

Red XN

Liu Bang
(刘邦), along with King...

Green tickY

Liu Bang
, along with King...


English Wikipedia uses

MOS:FOREIGNITALIC, italicise pinyin to differentiate it from the English text unless the pinyin romanisation has been assimilated into English. Pinyin should be spaced according to words, not characters
. Where a source uses a romanisation that must be converted to pinyin, consider also providing the spelling used in the source to ease verification by other users.

The exception is where a non-pinyin spelling is used by a clear majority of modern, reliable,

Yangzi River
). Another exception would be for articles on specific people:

  • Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), as opposed to Sun Yixian.
  • Shiing-shen Chern or S. S. Chern (陈省身), as opposed to Chen Xingshen.
  • Chen-ning Yang or C. N. Yang (杨振宁), as opposed to Yang Zhenning.

Other examples would be places or things relating to non-Mandarin-speaking regions of China including, but not limited to, articles on Hong Kong and Xinjiang subjects. (Note:

Cijin District, Kaohsiung
. As with the rest of the world, the local language of communication should be reflected in the article.

Where a non-pinyin romanisation has been used, other romanisations within the article should still follow the pinyin default. For example, Tsingtao Brewery is a trademark which uses a non-pinyin romanisation but an article talking about Tsingtao Brewery should still use the pinyin spelling when talking about Qingdao city:

Green tickY Tsingtao Brewery Co., Ltd. is located in Qingdao, Shandong.

Red XN Tsingtao Brewery Co., Ltd. is located in Tsingtao, Shan-tung.

Red XN Tsingtao Brewery Co., Ltd. is located in Tsingtao city, Shandong.

Titles of works

When the

title case. When reliable sources are inconsistent or most often lowercase, the romanised title should be rendered in sentence case.[a] For example, write Xinxiu bencao, not Xinxiu Bencao.[1][2][3][4]


The Chinese language has tones that are transcribed in different ways depending on the romanisation system. Words written with tone marks should be italicized and should not be placed inside English text. A romanised word that is part of English text should omit tone marks: write "...a bronze ding excavated from a Zhou dynasty tomb..." rather than "...a bronze dǐng excavated from a Zhou dynasty tomb...". Text with tone marks should only be used in templates, parentheticals, or infoboxes. For example, the introductory sentence for Gu Yanwu could read:

Gu Yanwu (Chinese: 顧炎武; pinyin: Gù Yánwǔ) was a Chinese philologist...

In pinyin, a syllable's tone is indicated with a diacritic above the vowel. If a syllable contains more than one vowel, the diacritic is added to the vowel that comes first in this sequence: a o e i u ü. The only exception is the vowel pair iu which takes the tone mark on u. Some examples:

  • Bái, not Baí
  • Xià, not Xìa
  • Suí, not Súi
  • Jiǔ, not Jǐu

To help you type pinyin, Wikipedia has clickable characters with diacritics under the edit box; you can also use {{subst:pinyin|input}} which takes pinyin with tone numbers as input (e.g. Lv3shun4kou3) and converts it to the preferred form with diacritics (Lǚshùnkǒu). Other options include Pinyinput or online converters such as Google Translate's phonetic reading function.

Tone marks in pinyin
Tone Diacritics[b]
The first tone is represented by a macron (ˉ) added to the pinyin vowel ā ē ī ō ū ǖ Ā Ē Ō
The second tone is denoted by an acute accent (ˊ) á é í ó ú ǘ Á É Ó
The third tone is symbolized by a caron (inverted circumflex) (ˇ). Please do not use the breve (a curved downward circumflex) for the third tone: write Húběi Shěng, not Húbĕi Shĕng ǎ ě ǐ ǒ ǔ ǚ Ǎ Ě Ǒ
The fourth tone is represented by a grave accent (ˋ) à è ì ò ù ǜ À È Ò
The fifth or neutral tone is represented by a normal vowel without any accent mark. There is no need to indicate neutral tones with numbers or with dots before the syllable: simply use ma, not ·ma a e i o u ü A E O


If not using the {{

accessibility and other reasons
. For example:

Markup Renders as
Ink and wash painting ({{lang|zh-Latn-pinyin|shuǐmòhuà}})

Ink and wash painting (shuǐmòhuà)

Linking to Wiktionary

Our sister-project, Wiktionary, contains the full Unihan database, and is consequently an invaluable Chinese reference tool. All Ruby characters are automatically linked to Wiktionary. In some exceptional cases, you may need to manually insert a link to the Wiktionary entry for a character.

The {{Linktext}} template can be used to link directly to Wiktionary. For example, {{zh|c={{linktext|中国}}}} produces Chinese: 中国. Separate characters with a pipe (|) symbol to link them individually. If you want to insert a link in a box to one side, use {{Wiktionarypar|字}} (see box on the right).

Ruby characters

annotation is a way of putting pinyin in small letters over the top of a Han character. It cannot be used for normal inline text on Wikipedia because the small size at which characters are displayed means that the even smaller text on top is illegible. However, it is appropriate for Han characters that have a line or paragraph to themselves. It has the advantage of keeping the transcription very close to the character, and is thus didactically helpful. In browsers that do not support it, it degrades gracefully into a transcription in parentheses after the character.


Chinese characters (
trad.) with pinyin transcription added using ruby
北方(Běifāng) (yǒu) 佳人(jiārén)絕世(juéshì) (ér) 獨立(dúlì)
() () (qīng) (rén) (chéng)(zài) () (qīng) (rén) (guó)
(Nìng) () (zhī) (qīng) (chéng) () (qīng) (guó)
佳人(Jiārén) (nán) (zài) ()
English translation
In the North there is a lady, stunning and singular.
One look confounds a city; a touch dooms an empire.
Rather not wishing to know, the ruination that may follow,
rare beauty is here and now.

The markup is as follows:

Markup Renders as


Modern browsers fully support the use of ruby characters, for details see the corresponding table at the MDN Web Docs.

Lists of pages currently using this template: ruby, ruby-ja, ruby-zh-b, ruby-zh-p.

Appropriate nomenclature

Modern polities

While total consistency in terminology across all articles is not required on Wikipedia, it is important to be aware of site policies and existing consensus, which are not to be disregarded unilaterally. Where "China" or the "People's Republic of China" is used, it should not be changed arbitrarily. In many contexts, the terms are interchangeable: if China and People's Republic of China both seem appropriate, editors should use their own discretion.

According to longstanding consensus, "Taiwan" is the

common name for the contemporaneous state officially called the Republic of China. To avoid confusion with the People's Republic of China, it should generally only be referred to as the "Republic of China" when discussing the state as it existed prior to 1949, or in the context of specific proper names related to the state, such as the Constitution of the Republic of China
. "Taiwanese" is usually an acceptable demonym for people from Taiwan.

Non-neutral terms such as Free China and Red China should not be used in Wikipedia's own voice.

People's Republic of China
mainland China
  • In many cases "China" can be used to refer to the modern state officially known as the "People's Republic of China".
  • Generally, places and things located in territory controlled by the People's Republic of China should be stated to be in "China": for example, Zhongguancun has become a major centre of electronics in China, or ... a novelist from Chengdu, China.
  • When discussing history or politics, it may be necessary to write "People's Republic of China"—either in full or subsequently abbreviated as "PRC"—to avoid possibly conflating it with the Republic of China (ROC). For example: the PRC replaced the Republic of China as China's UN representative in in 1971, or The PRC was established in 1949, or The People's Republic of China objected to the Vatican inviting ROC diplomats to represent 'China' at the pope's funeral.
  • When mentioning official documents, institutions, or positions, it may be appropriate to write "People's Republic of China" in full: for example, The Constitution of the People's Republic of China...". However, subsequent mentions may use the demonym "Chinese", e.g. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
  • In other situations where there may plausibly be ambiguity, use the more specific "People's Republic of China".
  • The term "mainland China" refers to the People's Republic of China, usually excluding Hong Kong and Macau. Due to potential ambiguity, it should only be used when a distinction with Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan is required, and a construction such as "China, except Hong Kong" is unworkable. For example: Lo Wu is the most heavily trafficked border crossing between Hong Kong and mainland China, or Due to the relocation of many industries to mainland China, the unemployment rate in Taiwan reached its highest level since the 1973 oil crisis.



varieties, or "lects". It is often viewed both as a single language with many dialects, and as a large language family, depending on context. When used informally, or when describing a specific, mutually-intelligible spoken language, the term "Chinese language" typically refers to Standard Chinese, or Modern Standard Chinese (MSC), a standardized variety originally based on the dialect of Mandarin Chinese spoken in Beijing. When used to describe a written language, "Chinese" usually refers to the form of written vernacular Chinese corresponding to spoken Standard Chinese, as contrasted with forms such as written Cantonese

Often, "Chinese" is adequate: it is unnecessary, and often confusing, to call Standard Chinese "Mandarin", as Mandarin is a large language family in itself. The standardized form should be referred to as "Standard Chinese" when being contrasted with other Chinese varieties, such as Shanghainese or Cantonese.


When identifying people by their ethnicity in China-related articles, refer to

ethnic groups in China
. In English, "Chinese" also describes the Chinese nationality, so care is warranted to avoid conflating the two concepts, including accidentally implying that ethnic minorities are not true Chinese nationals.

Unless the nationality of the groups in question clearly differ, use parallel terms within phrases to clarify their meaning: for example, use Han Chinese when you use Zhuang Chinese, Han people when you use Zhuang people, or simply Han when you use Zhuang. This avoids the confusion that may arise when a phrase uses Han Chinese alongside Zhuang people, for example.

Some find an explicit or implicit dichotomy between "Chinese" and "Taiwanese" people to be objectionable. A dichotomy between mainland Chinese and Taiwanese people is more politically neutral, depending on context. The term mainlander poses issues: it is often ambiguous whether it refers to a resident of mainland China, or to a resident of Taiwan who had originally arrived from the mainland along with the KMT in 1949. When referring to the latter group, mainlander is mildly objectionable in English, but its literal translation is highly offensive in Chinese. To unambiguously refer to these two groups, prefer mainland Chinese for the former, and waishengren (外省人) for the latter.


On most maps, Taiwan should not be indicated as being part of the People's Republic of China. (

) On maps specifically about the PRC, Taiwan may be included if a distinction with the mainland is made reflecting its status. For the convention on colouring Taiwan and other disputed areas, see Wikipedia:WikiProject_Maps/Conventions#Orthographic_maps.

Citation style

In accordance with the English Wikipedia Manual of Style, a list of works cited in the article should be included in an article's "References" section. Editors are strongly encouraged to use the appropriate Citation Style 1 or Citation Style 2 template when listing works. The following examples use Citation Style 1 templates:

Markup Renders as
{{cite book |last=Doe |first=John |date=1950 |title=A Book About Sinology |location=New York |publisher=National University Press}}

Doe, John (1950). A Book About Sinology. New York: National University Press.

If an author is Chinese, their name should generally use pinyin without tone marks. Access to the characters for Chinese or Japanese names is helpful. (This is not true of Korean and Vietnamese names, as those languages have now generally abandoned the use of characters.) As elsewhere, it is preferable to link to an article on the author (which can be done with the |author-link= field) and omit the characters from the citation:

Markup Renders as
{{cite book |last=Lu |first=Xun |author-link=Lu Xun |translator-last=Leung |translator-first=George |date=1926 |title=The True Story of Ah Q |location=Shanghai |publisher=Commercial Press}}

Lu, Xun (1926). The True Story of Ah Q. Translated by Leung, George. Shanghai: Commercial Press.

If there is no article for the author, the characters for their name can be included in the |author-mask= field:

Markup Renders as
{{cite book |last=Li |first=Si |author1-mask=Li Si (李四) |date=1990 |title=Yet Another Book About Sinology |location=London |publisher=British Publishing}}

Li Si (李四) (1990). Yet Another Book About Sinology. London: British Publishing.

If a work is in an East Asian language, the original title should be romanised, spaces at the word boundaries, and each word capitalized, the rest given in lowercase unless they are proper nouns. Tone marks may be included. Names of publishing companies or presses are transliterated but not translated, without tone marks. The language of the work may be indicated with the |language= field.

Markup Renders as
{{cite book |last=Wang |first=Aiguo |date=2016 |title=Hànxué zhī shū |location=Shanghai |publisher=Hanxue chubanshe |language=zh}}

Wang, Aiguo (2016). Hànxué zhī shū (in Chinese). Shanghai: Hanxue chubanshe.

For Chinese and Japanese works, it is helpful to also include the characters of the title. These should not be italicized, which can be accomplished by using the |script-title= field. The field should include the language code zh or ja, a colon, and the characters of the title (e.g., |script-title=zh:汉语方言槪要). English translations of titles should be placed in brackets or parentheses after the original title. This can be accomplished by using the |trans-title= field. For example:

Markup Renders as
{{cite book |last=Yuan |first=Jiahua |author-link=Yuan Jiahua |title=Hànyǔ fāngyán gàiyào |script-title=zh:汉语方言槪要 |trans-title=Outline of Chinese Dialects |location=Beijing |publisher=Wenzi gaige chubanshe |date=1983 |language=zh}}

Yuan, Jiahua (1983). Hànyǔ fāngyán gàiyào 汉语方言槪要 [Outline of Chinese Dialects] (in Chinese). Beijing: Wenzi gaige chubanshe.


  1. ^ See this December 2022 discussion for the most recent consensus rendered on this matter.
  2. ^ Words in pinyin cannot start with the letters "I," "U," or "Ü."