To view a PDF version of this Style Guide, please click here.
Submissions to The China Story website, the Yearbook and associated publications must conform to this style guide.
Footnotes and endnotes should be presented as an unformatted list at the end of the document.
Links (URLs) should be presented as plain text, such as www.chinastory.org, NOT embedded in underlined text. The editors will embed the links for publication on the website.
Images should be sent as separate attachments.
In Word documents and drafts, use 12 point Cambria for English, 12 point Cambria italics for Hanyu pinyin and 10 point Huawen kaiti 华文楷体 or similar typeface for Chinese characters.
The first line of the initial paragraph of each section should be left justified. The first line of subsequent paragraphs should be indented with a tab. A blank line should be left between paragraphs (DO NOT use automatic paragraph spacing).
Australian English spelling is preferred, but North American spelling is acceptable. However, consistency is essential.
The Official Name of China
First mention should be the People’s Republic of China, followed by parentheses and the capitals (PRC). It should not be written P.R.C.
Use upper case for concepts, political campaigns and official Chinese formulations. For example:
Sing Red, Strike Hard, Harmonious Society
Mass Line, Reform and Opening Up
Do not capitalise the title of a previously held position,so:
Premier Li Keqiang, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong
former premier Wen Jiabao
former vice-president of Taiwan, Lien Cha
Upper case for the Party and the Communist Party, but lower case for ‘party-state’ or as an adjective, e.g. party line.
Lower case ‘province’ and ‘county’, for example:
Hunan province, Huailai county, etc.
Do not include characters for provinces and counties except for obscure places.
Italicise foreign words and phrases, and use appropriate accents.
Do not italicise yuan and renminbi.
Chinese Characters and Romanisation (Hanyu pinyin 汉语拼音)
Translated terms should be given in English followed by Chinese characters in parentheses. No Pinyin is required, simply the Chinese characters. Put an English-letter =length space in front of the first character. For example:
Chairman Mao said: ‘Bombard the headquarters’ 炮打司令部.
The ‘Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere’ (关于当前意识形态领域情况的通报) was an important document leaked to the media in 2013.
The only exception is when the Pinyin is used later in the text to convey a Chinese concept that is better left in Chinese. In such cases, Pinyin spellings should always be italicised. For example:
Foreign businessmen frequently refer to the importance of guanxi 关系.
This is a strategic shift, following a decade of ‘Stability Maintenance’ (weiwen 维稳), a political program closely associated with the Hu Jintao – Wenbao era that encompasses a range of politico-legal activities aimed at preventing and/or breaking up collective protests and quelling complaints through court action.
At the height of its use, the weiwen program gave local courts considerable flexibility in resolving civil and administrative disputes …
Capitals for Pinyin spellings should be used for proper names.
In the main, simplified characters (jianhua Hanzi 简化汉字, or jiantizi 简体字) should be used for topics related to the People’s Republic of China and Singapore. Non-simplified or ‘traditional characters’ (fanti Hanzi 繁體漢字 or zhengtizi 正體字) can be used when writing about Taiwan/Republic of China, Hong Kong and Macao.
Do not use the Oxford comma. For example:
Lu Xun, Sima Nan and Marx
Lu Xun, Sima Nan, and Karl Marx
Use single quotation marks, and double quotation marks for quotes within a quote. Put the full stop outside the quotation unless the quotation is a full sentence.
According to an article on the Australian Treasury website, ‘the “made in China” tag has been common for some time now on manufactured products found in Australian homes’.
Use a spaced ‘em’ dash (ctrl + alt + minus symbol on number keypad) in a sentence to set off an amplifying or explanatory statement, to isolate parenthetic elements, or where there is a shift of flow in thought. For example:
Depending on what the website will do — if it involves ecommerce or news, for example — other permits may be required.
Use an ‘en’ dash (ctrl + hyphen OR ctrl + minus on PC keypad) to indicate a relationship between two elements.For example:
a Sino–American agreement
the China–Japan conflict
Also use an en dash in date ranges, page ranges, time spans and in figures. For example:
the 1650–1670 reign
Dates should be written in the following format:
4 May 1919
When used in a sentence, use a comma after the date. For example:
On 6 June 2012, Chen Guangbiao ate a peach
Spell out centuries, for example:
twentieth century, the twenty-first century
Use an en dash and do not elide dates:
Capitalise the name of the dynasty but with the word ‘dynasty’ in lower case, the span of the dynasty should be in parentheses with BCE or CE in small caps. For example:
Tang dynasty (618–906 CE)
Use reign name, followed by reign period signified by ‘r.’in italics with no space. For example:
the Qianlong emperor (r.1735–1796 CE)
Particular spellings, punctuation & capitalisation
USA or US not U.S.A. or U.S.
Uyghurs not Uighurs
co-operation empire Mainland China
South-East Asia, Central Asia, South Asia
Global North, Global South
Global Financial Crisis not Global Economic Crisis
Internet (uppercase), not internet
Weibo and Weixin, not weibo and weixin
but if referring to Chinese Twitter-type services other than Weibo, use ‘microblog’, for example:
Netease’s microblog service …
Use full stops between initials in names, but do not use spaces between the intials. For example:
G.E. Morrison, C.P. Fitzgerald
Use Hu Jintao, not Hu Jin Tao or Jintao Hu.
Always include Chinese characters with the first mention of the name. If life dates are given, put them in parentheses. For example:
Lu Xun 鲁迅 (1881–1936)
For people known outside of China by non-Hanyu pinyin names, use the most widely known version of the name. Do not use Pinyin even if the English name is different from the Chinese name. For example:
Bruce Li 李小龙, Chiang Kai-shek 蒋介石 and Li Ka-shing 李嘉誠爵士
Spell out one to one hundred. Also spell out million, billion and trillion. However, use numerals (including for numbers under one hundred) when there is a long series of several numbers.
Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence.
Use a comma, with no space, to divide tens and hundreds of thousands. For example: 10,000, 300,000. But do not use a comma for 1000 to 9000.
Spell out measurements in text, for example:
fifteen kilometres, 500 kilometres
However, use abbreviations in tables, for example:
26mm, 10km, 5kg
(note no space before abbreviation)
Do not use a space before the abbreviations am and pm:
Spell out percent (note one word) rather than the symbol %, unless in tables.
For isolated mentions of money, spell out, particularly if whole numbers, but use numerals for amounts that include a decimal point. For example:
Local governments have accumulated more than eleven trillion yuan of debt …
This has resulted in a highly inequitable domestic economy, in which 251 billionaires and 2.7 million millionaires (in US dollar terms) live alongside 180 million people who must survive on under US$1.25 per day.
AU$500 US$500 HK$500 (for Australian, US and Hong Kong dollars respectively)
Singapore$500 NTD500 (for new Taiwan dollars)
€500 (for Euro)
£500 (for countries other than the UK that use the pound, give the country name first, for example:
either RMB 500 or 500 yuan is acceptable
¥500 (for yen)
for other currencies, spell out the country as in the following:
500 Zambian kwacha
500 South African rand
Citation of Books, Articles & Online Sources
All footnote references should be marked by roman numerals in square brackets. Thus, , , . Cited works should appear at the end of the article under the word Notes, with numbers marked in square brackets. Notes should not be embedded in the document, and do not use the automatic footnote function of Word.
When quoting from a book, use the following style for the citation:
Author, title in italics, place of publication followed by a colon: name of publisher, year of publication, page span.
Chen Xi, Social Protest and Contentious Authoritarianism in China, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp.20-25.
When citing from a chapter in an edited book, use the following style:
Jane Golley, ‘Economic growth, regional disparities and core steel demand in China’, with Yu Sheng and Yuchun Zheng, in Ligang Song and Haimin Lu eds, The Chinese Steel Industry’s Transformation: Structural Change, Performance and Demand on Resources, London: Edward Elgar, 2012, pp.45–68.
When citing an academic article, do not use ‘pp.’ preceding page numbers. Use the following style:
Author, ‘title in roman inside single quotes’, journal name in italics, vol., no. (year): page span.
Gloria Davies, ‘Homo Dissensum Significans, or The Perils of Taking a Stand in China’, Social Text, vol.29, no.4 (Winter 2012): 29-56.
When citing a newspaper article with a web-link, use the following style:
Name, ‘title in single quotes’, newspaper name in italics or news agency, date [day+month+year] without punctuation, online at: URL
Note: do not include a full stop at the end of the URL.
Greg Sheridan, ‘Kevin Rudd’s grand vision for China policy’, The Weekend Australian, 6 June 2011, online at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/nationalaffairs/kevin-rudds-grand-vision-for-china-policy/story-fn59niix-1226069683962
When citing a Chinese web-link, use the following style:
Author followed by Chinese characters, ‘title in single quotes’ followed by Chinese title in 10pt Huawen Kaiti or similar typeface, date of publication [day month year without punctuation], followed by online at: URL.
Xu Xiaolong 须小龙, ‘The Secrets of the Chairman’s Dedicated January ‘75 Porcelain Revealed (I)’ 7501瓷主席专用瓷揭秘(上), 30 January 2012, online at: http://collection.sina.com.cn/cqty/20120130/091353863.shtml