Hundreds March in Southern China to Defend Cantonese Language

China Guangzhou city residents protest the termination of Cantonese language broadcast.26 July 2010

Chinese police are warning against any more demonstrations in Guangzhou, where hundreds of people marched Sunday to protest a proposal to halt the use of Cantonese in prime time television programs.

More than 20 people were reported arrested in Sunday's march, the second in two weeks. About 200 more, including some from Guangzhou, joined another demonstration in Hong Kong, where the southern Chinese language is also widely spoken.

Local broadcasters have been asked to switch their programming to Mandarin, which since 1982 has been promoted as the common language for all Chinese. But Cantonese remains more widely understood in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and surrounding Guangdong province, a major manufacturing hub.

The issue has become more sensitive because Guangzhou will host the Asian Games in November.

Some information for this report was provided by Asianews, AFP and Reuters