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BEIJING (AFP) - Nearly half of China's population cannot speak their national language fluently, with the majority of non-Mandarin speakers residing in rural areas, state press reported Wednesday.
According to a recent survey by the education ministry, 53 percent of 500,000 people queried could "effectively communicate" in Mandarin, Xinhua news agency reported.
In urban areas 66 percent of residents spoke fluent Mandarin, while in rural areas only 45 percent of those surveyed could speak the language fluently, the report said.