Editorial Style Guide for Authors


Font type and size: For English use the 12-point Cambria font; for Chinese use 10-point Huawen kaiti 华文楷体 or similar.

Spelling: British/Australian standard.

Paragraphs: Leave right margin unjustified.

Indent the first line of paragraphs with a tab.

Do not leave space between paragraphs.

Quotations: Use single inverted commas (quotation marks): ‘x’ not “x”. Put the end punctuation outside the final inverted comma unless the quotation is a complete sentence. (e.g. They insisted it was only a ‘health problem’. But She said, ‘I took him to hospital myself.’)


General Style

Use plain English. We write for a mixed audience of China scholars, policymakers, journalists and the interested general public. Do not use academic or bureaucratic jargon or other such phrases or the editors will hunt them down and kill them.

Also, avoid the passive voice as much as possible. It tends to make prose dull and flat and leaves important questions of agency unanswered.


Chinese Names and Phrases


  • Mainland: Use Hanyu pinyin. Surname first, space, given name (e.g. Xi Jinping).
  • Taiwan and Hongkong: Follow individual convention. (e.g. Tsai Ing-wen, Chow Yun-fat, Denise Ho)
  • Historical: Chiang Kai-shek, Sun Yat-sen, the Qianlong emperor

Provide the characters after the name. (e.g. Qin Gang 秦刚), using simplified characters for mainland people and traditional characters for Taiwan and Hong Kong people.

  • No need to provide characters for well-known figures such as Xi Jinping, Deng Xiaoping, Sun Yat-sen etc.

Political parties and territories:

  • The Communist Party of China (CPC) or Communist Party but not the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Capitalise Party when it is shorthand for the CPC (eg ‘jostling for influence within the Party’) but not in expressions such as ‘party line’.
  • The Kuomintang (KMT)/the Nationalist Party
  • The People’s Republic of China (PRC)/mainland China/China/Beijing (when representing the actions or views of the Chinese leadership on the international stage)
  • Lower case for province, county etc (e.g. Hunan province, Huailai county)
  • Use Republic of China (ROC) only when relevant.
  • Hong Kong. Use Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China only when relevant. (Rare)


  • Use upper case for political campaigns and official Chinese formulations, followed by Chinese characters. (e.g. Stability Maintenance 维稳).

Provide the pinyin if pronunciation is relevant or the phrase is in fairly common usage: ‘Foreign businessmen frequently refer to the importance of guanxi 关系.’


Numbers, Percentages and Currencies

Spell out one to one hundred (e.g. twelve million, 180 million) – except before ‘percent’. (e.g. 12 percent – n.b. ‘percent’ not % or per cent)

Use commas for thousands: 5,000, 10,000, 300,000.

Major currencies:


US$500 (not USD)


RMB 500/ 500 yuan/500 renminbi






Dates: Day, month year: (e.g. 4 May 1919)

Decades: numerals (e.g. 1980s, 2000s)

Centuries: spell out. (e.g. twentieth century). But: 1980s, 2000s

Dynasties: lower case (e.g. Tang dynasty)


Hyperlinks and Footnotes

When to use footnotes: If information is available across multiple, publicly available sources, it doesn’t need to be footnoted. If you aren’t sure, footnote it and insert a question using the comment function.

Use the normal footnote function in Word for numbered footnotes. Do not use hyperlinks. They make editing a nightmare. If you insert them, we will send the piece back to you for reformatting before beginning to edit. We convert URLs to hyperlinks ourselves in the final stages before publication.

Footnote Style:

Books: author, title in italics, place of publication followed by a colon: name of publisher, year of publication, page span.

(e.g. Louise Edwards, Women Warriors and Wartime Spies of China, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, p.9.)

Book chapters: author, title of chapter in inverted commas, then book as above.

(e.g. Xu Langjun, ‘Translation and internationalism’, in Alexander Cook ed., Mao’s Little Red Book: A Global History, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014, p.76.)

Academic articles: author, ‘title in roman inside single quotes’, journal name in italics, vol., no. (year): page span (numerals, not ‘pp’.)

(e.g. Jonathan Schwartz and Muh-Yong Yen, ‘Toward a Collaborative Model of Pandemic Preparedness and Response: Taiwan’s Changing Approach to Pandemics’, Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, vol.50, no.2 (2017): 125–132.)

Newspaper articles: name, ‘title in single quotes’, newspaper name in italics or news agency, date [day+month+year] without punctuation, online at: URL

Do not include a full stop at the end of the URL.

(e.g. Lily Kuo, ‘Coronavirus: Wuhan doctor speaks out against authorities’, The Guardian, 11 March 2020, online at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/11/coronavirus-wuhan-doctor-ai-fen-speaks-out-against-authorities )

Chinese language sources: Add Chinese title.

(e.g. Han Xuan, ‘Folk artist Zhang Gasong: “The attention and excitement about me will soon pass” ’ 民谣音乐人张尕怂: 对我的关注和激情都快过去, People.cn, 3 June 2020, online at: http://ent.people.com.cn/n1/2020/0603/c1012-31733687.html)


Useful phrases, spellings, etc

Central Asia

Communist Party of China (CPC)


Global Financial Crisis (GFC)

Macau (not Macao)

Nine-Dash Line

Nineteenth Five-Year Plan


South Asia

South-East Asia



Uyghurs (not Uighurs)






Use simplified characters for topics related to the People’s Republic of China and Singapore and traditional characters for Taiwan/Republic of China, Hong Kong and Macau.