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Zhou Youguang, father of Pinyin writing system, dies aged 111
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Zhou Youguang, a linguist considered the father of modern China's Pinyin Romanization system, died Saturday at the age of 111.

Born in Changzhou, Jiangsu province in 1906 during China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing, Zhou died at his home in Beijing, one day after celebrating his birthday, according to state broadcaster Chinese Central Television and other official media outlets.

After receiving a Western-style education at Shanghai's St. John's University, Zhou moved to the United States and for a time worked as a banker on Wall Street.

Returning to China along with other idealistic youths after the communist victory in 1949, he was placed in charge of a committee working on a new system to allow Chinese characters to be converted into Roman script.

Adopted by the People's Republic in 1958, Pinyin has virtually become the global standard due to its simplicity and consistency.

Before Pinyin was developed, 85% of Chinese people could not read, now almost all can.

Pinyin has since become the most commonly used system globally. In the era of computers and smartphones, Pinyin has become more ubiquitous than ever.

 
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