89th Int'l Esperanto Conference underway in Beijing
The 89th International Esperanto Conference convened in Beijing on July 25. The week-long conference includes seminars, exhibitions, and a Chinese cultural week. It attracted over 2,000 academicians and Esperantists from over 50 countries and regions.

Tokin Humphery (3rd R), vice-president of International Esperanto Association and Chai Zemin (2nd L), the president of the China Esperanto Learners Association and other attendants unveil the monument to Esperanto at Chaoyang Park in Beijing July 27. (Xinhua Photo)

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89th Universal Esperanto Congress convened

Tokin Humphery, vice-president of International Esperanto Association, makes a speech at the unveiling ceremony of a monument to Esperanto at Chaoyang Park in Beijing July 27, 2004.(Xinhua Photo)
The picture taken on July 25, 2004 shows the opening ceremony of the 89th Universal Esperanto Congress in Beijing.

UN needs neutral language: experts  

BEIJING, July 28(Xinhuanet)-- Some experts attending the ongoing 89th International Esperanto Conference said that the United Nations(UN) needs a more neutral language to solve the problem of linguistic inequality in its system.

Dr. Lee Chong-Yeong, vice president of the Universal Esperanto Association, noted that the language problem in the UN system is the hegemonic status of English, which will result in the linguistic hegemony.

Though English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic are the six working languages of the United Nations, English is much more frequently used.

Lee believed that Esperanto, created by Polish doctor L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, is a neutral language easy to learn, which can be a supplementary language tool.

"Linguistic equality is the basis of social equality, and concerns sovereignty and human rights. Esperanto, an artificial language without cultural background, won't influence or kill other languages and cultures, nor will it infringe upon any states'sovereignty. It is the best international common language," said Professor Su Jinzhi of Institute of Applied Linguistics of the China State Language Commission.

Therefore, Lee suggested that the UN should realize the language problem, and discuss the use of a supplementary language."Esperanto, with a history of 117 years and speakers in 120 countries, is the right choice," Su said.

He also suggested that Esperanto should be applied to international documents of the United Nations.

"Many UN documents are written in English. People who don't know English enjoy no linguistic equality and their basic rights are violated," Su said."The solution lies in the use of an international common language and the maintenance of diversified languages."

According to statistics, the budget of the UN in 2004-2005 amounted to over 3 billion US dollars for the first time, which still can't solve its financial difficulty. Lee said that the annual translation expense on one language can amount to 100 million US dollars. He suggested that the employment of Esperanto in the UN can also reduce its expense.

"To build a new international language order is very necessary for linguistic equality, linguistic human rights, and world peace," said Lee.

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