chapter  14
ByDavid Holm
Pages 14

The Chinese writing system reigned supreme throughout East Asia until the European incursions of the last two centuries. The Chinese character script was employed not only in China itself, and in Japan, but also in Korea and Vietnam. Korea and Vietnam have since gone their separate ways, but even now, the Chinese character script continues to be used by literati, poets, and religious practitioners to write Korean and Vietnamese. For minority peoples inside the Chinese empire and within this wider ambit – the Sinosphere, the Chinese script was for many centuries the only writing system available, and was widely regarded as one of the sources of Chinese power and prestige. The script itself is regarded as a national treasure and a source of spiritual power as well as cultural prestige.