Brief History of Mainland China's Telegraph Code

by Jaemin Chung (Mar 18, 2019)

Since the establishment of the PRC in 1949, Mainland China made a lot of changes in 1952, 1958 and 1983 to the original code assignments due to the Chinese character simplification and the need for new characters and symbols.

In 1952

  1. moved some characters from the supplement (8000 and above) to the main body (7902 and below). For example, 她 was originally at 8282, but China moved it to 1247.

    See CN1952-fromsuptomain.jpg

  2. moved some characters from the main body to the supplement. For example, 粦 was originally at 4729, but China moved it to 9036.

    See CN1952-frommaintosup[12].jpg

  3. reassigned most characters within the supplement. For example, 垸 was originally at 9743, but China moved it to 8219.

    See CN1980-supreassigned[12345].jpg (Although these were reassigned in 1952, this table is not in the 1952 code book.)

  4. added some characters, such as 8006 孬, month symbols (9701–9712), bopomofo, Cyrillic letters, Latin letters, punctuation marks and symbols.

    See CN1952-added[12].jpg

In 1958

China added some characters to the empty cells in the main body and 7903–7927. For example, 0058 was originally empty, but China added 苯 there.

See CN1980-added[12].jpg (According to 怎样使用《标准电码本(修订本)》, these were added in 1958.)

In 1983

China not only officially adopted simplified characters, but also

  1. deleted lots of characters – this includes mergers in simplified characters, variants and uncommon characters.

    For example, 穀 (4474) was deleted because it is merged into 谷 (6253) in simplified characters;

    See CN1983howtouse-deltrad[123].jpg

    彿 (1765) and 髴 (7572) were deleted because they are variants of 佛 (0154);

    See CN1983howtouse-variants[12].jpg (There are 28 pages in total; only the first and last pages are scanned.)

    and other uncommon characters (1681 characters; not explicitly listed) were deleted.

  2. replaced some uncommon characters with other characters. For example, 0161 was originally 佪, but China replaced it with 伢.

    See CN1983-replaced[12].jpg

  3. changed some glyphs.

    See CN1983howtouse-glyphchanges[12].jpg

Other Information

Brief history of China's telegraph code (in Chinese) at the beginning of 怎样使用《标准电码本(修订本)》

See the original pages in pictures, or in Chinese text.