Corrections of for CN entries

Paul Eggert eggert at
Mon Sep 24 23:23:42 UTC 2001

> Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 15:56:32 -0400 (EDT)
> From: <yaoz at>
> The way I submitted to you is following examples of US.  That is
> "time - state (province)".

That's designed for the US, which has multiple time zones.  China has
just one time zone, so it's not that useful in that context.  Programs
that use are expected to narrow in on the country first; once
CN has been selected, there's little point to saying "Beijing Time"
for every entry.

> a. Urumqi is in Xinjiang so it maybe better say "Xinjiang & Tibet".

The comment is intended to identify the region in question.  The
region does not include all of Xinjiang, just most of it.

> b. Kashgar is also in Xinjiang and there is no such region as
> "Eastern Turkestan".  That region is commonly call "Southern
> Xinjiang".

In English, the region is far more commonly called Eastern Turkestan,
even today.  At least, that's what Google says (2650 hits versus 766).

> It seems to me those entries exists because historically, they are
> in different time zones (as you specified in "asia" file).  But
> I've seen Linux users in China wondering "Why Shanghai, Harbin, etc.
> are picked up but not Beijing or my city?

It's a long story, but it's the same reason that Los Angeles and
Chicago have entries, but Washington, DC and Houston do not.  It's
merely a matter of which city is the largest in a particular region.
For more details, please see the Theory file.

> On TV, radio, it is always saying "It is now 20' clock Beijing Time."
> I haven't heard of "China time" before.

Interesting.  Are these announcements in the Chinese language, or in
the English language?

> In 'asia', you are saying before 1980, there are still 5 timezones in
> China.

Yes, that's what Shanks (our best source) says.  But it is not
authoritative and I suspect that it is incorrect.  Among other things
I tend to believe Bob Devine's remark about China having two time
zones (Beijing and Urumqi) at some point in its recent history.  If
you can find something better (preferably an official government
source or something like that), I'd appreciate it.

> From: "Brian Garrett" <mgy1912 at>
> Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 11:57:18 -0700
> My understanding was that the pinyin system is favored in the People's
> Republic of China, and that either the pinyin or the older system
> (Wade-Giles?) is acceptable in Taiwan.

It's a bit more complicated than that.  The PRC doesn't merely "favor"
pinyin: hanyu pinyin is official government policy and an
international standard (ISO 7098:1991).  Taiwan has never had an
official government-wide policy, but has muddled through (e.g. signs
often use Wade-Giles without apostrophes, which is a bit like using
English but omitting the letter "i").  Many in Taiwan oppose hanyu
pinyin at least partly for political reasons.  Some have drafted
tongyong pinyin, a different pinyin variant that is a bit friendlier
to English speakers (e.g., it drops the umlaut and gets rid of the
q's, x's, and zh's).

(Had enough? :-) Anyway, it's safe to say that the matter of pinyin is
still controversial within Taiwan.

> The major English-language news services switched to pinyin in the early
> 1980's.

It's not clear to me that "Kashi" versus "Kashgar" is a pinyin versus
non-pinyin issue, as the name "Kashgar" is not a Chinese one.  "Kashi"
is the pinyin version of the Chinese name for "Kashgar".  The city's
population is about 3/4 Uighur, so calling it "Kashi" is a bit like
calling the capital of Mongolia "Ulan Bator" (the anglicization of the
Russian name).

I just visited the BBC and found two instances of "Kashi" but 7
instances of "Kashgar".  For an example of the latter, please see:
I also used Google to do searches for "Kashgar China" and "Kashi
China", in both cases looking only for English-language hits.  Google
reported about 2910 hits for Kashi and about 6780 for Kashgar.  So it
appears to me that "Kashgar" is still the more common spelling by far.

"Chongqing" versus "Chungking" is another matter.  This is clearly a
Chinese name, so it's a pinyin versus non-pinyin issue only.  Also,
Google (English-only) reports about 55,600 hits for Chongqing, but
only about 12,700 for "Chungking".  I recall the ratio being the other
way when I researched this matter a few years ago, so it appears that
common usage really has switched here, and it's time to update the
tz database.

> Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 23:41:53 +0200
> From: Oscar van Vlijmen <o.van.vlijmen at>
> I would suggest:
> CN    +3114+12128    Asia/Beijing    most eastern locations

Shanghai has more people than Beijing, so I'd rather stick with
Shanghai, as per the Theory file.

> CN    +2934+10635    Asia/Chongqing    Chongqing - central China

But it's not just Chongqing -- it's most of the (mountainous) central
part of China.

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