China booming, The Pinyin System of Romanization, Chinese spelling
Old stamp of a Chinese Palace
On January 1, 1979, the Chinese Government officially adopted the pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in Roman letters. A system of Romanization invented by the Chinese, pinyin has long been widely used in China on street and commercial signs as well as in elementary Chinese textbooks as an aid in learning Chinese characters. Variations of pinyin also are used as the written forms of several minority languages. Pinyin has now replaced other conventional spellings in China’s English-language publications. The U.S. Government also has adopted the pinyin system for all names and places in China. For example, the capital of China is now spelled 'Beijing' rather than 'Peking.'