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Common Chinese Language Interface

Common Chinese Language Interface

As Chinese is the language used by most people in Hong Kong, the development of a common electronic interface for users who use Chinese in electronic communication is very important. Currently, the major problems of electronic communication conducted in Chinese are the existence of different coding standards and insufficient characters in some Chinese character sets used on computers. These problems may not have much impact on the operation of standalone computers, but will cause distortion of information in electronic communication and data exchange conducted in Chinese, thus creating inconvenience to users.

Under the Digital 21 Strategy for IT Development, the Government has developed an open and common Chinese language interface for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The objective is to address the above problems so as to achieve more accurate electronic communication conducted in Chinese. A pivotal element of the open and common Chinese language interface is the adoption of the ISO/IEC 10646 coding standard, which is an international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the handling of characters in electronic data storage and exchange. The ISO/IEC 10646 standard embraces characters used in major languages in the world including traditional and simplified Chinese characters. The Government is actively participating in the development of the ISO/IEC 10646 standard.

To facilitate the establishment of the common Chinese language interface, the Chinese Language Interface Advisory Committee (CLIAC) was set up in May 1999 by the then Information Technology Services Department. Members of the CLIAC come from various sectors including the academia, language and linguistics associations, the publishing industry and the information technology industry. The CLIAC provides professional advice to the Government on the establishment and promotion of the common Chinese language interface in Hong Kong. In the past years, the CLIAC has achieved the following:

  1. development and publication of the strategic plan of adopting the ISO/IEC 10646 standard in Hong Kong;
  2. development and publication of the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS);
  3. submission of the HKSCS to the ISO for inclusion into the ISO/IEC 10646 standard;
  4. development and publication of the procedure and criteria for inclusion of characters in the HKSCS;
  5. processing of applications to include new characters in the HKSCS;
  6. development and publication of the Reference Guide on Kai Style Character Glyphs for Chinese Computer Systems in Hong Kong and the Reference Guide on Song Style (Print Style) Character Glyphs for Chinese Computer Systems in Hong Kong;
  7. development and publication of the Cantonese Pronunciation List of the Characters for Computers; and
  8. submission of the list of Hong Kong commonly used characters to the ISO for inclusion in the International Ideographs Core (IICORE).

(Note: The latest version of the HKSCS is Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set - 2008 published in December 2009.)

Please access the other parts of this web site for detailed information on the common Chinese language interface.



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