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Simplified Chinese characters (简体字)

The Simplified script (a.k.a. Simplified Chinese) was officially adopted in the People's Republic of China in 1949 in an effort to eradicate illiteracy. The simplified script is also used in Singapore but the older traditional characters are still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia.

A second round of simplifications which was published in 1977 but proved very unpopular and was abandoned in 1986.

About 2,000 characters have been simplified in a number of different ways (the simplified characters are shown in red):

Many simplified characters are based on commonly used abbreviations:

Simplified characters based on common abbreviations

Others retain only one part from the traditional character.

Simplified characters which retain only one part of the traditional characters

Some replace the phonetic element of the traditional character with a simpler one that is pronounced in the same or in a similar way:

Characters in which a complex phonetic element has been replaced by a simpler one

In some cases, several traditional characters are represented by one simplified character:

Simplified characters which represent several standard characters


Recently the traditional characters have started to make a come back, particularly in southern China.

Further information about the Chinese script


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Information about Simplified characters

Simplified to Traditional Chinese Conversion Table

Further information about the Chinese script

Learn Chinese with AIChinese

Recommended books

Books about Chinese characters and calligraphy
Mandarin, Shanghainese, Hokkien, Taiwanese and Cantonese language courses, dictionaries, etc.

Semanto-phonetic writing systems

Akkadian Cuneiform, Ancient Egyptian (Demotic), Ancient Egyptian (Hieratic), Ancient Egyptian (Hieroglyphs), Chinese, Chữ-nôm, Cuneiform, Japanese, Jurchen, Khitan, Linear B, Luwian, Mayan, Naxi, Sawndip (Old Zhuang), Sui, Sumerian Cuneiform, Tangut (Hsihsia)

Other writing systems

If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.

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