A lot posts online use 政治正确 to mean "politically correct" or "political correctness" in English and I can say it is wrong. A few posts use 政治委婉语, but it doesn't sound good to me either, because 政治 in Chinese only means a small part of "political" in English.

The best translation I can get is: 交际婉语 for "political correctness", and 交际用语委婉 for "politically correct".

Any thought on a better translation?

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    Why do you say 政治正确 is wrong? Jul 18, 2013 at 23:56
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    @congusbongus It seems to give an inaccurate impression of what it's supposed to mean. Perhaps it is the best translation you can get (given that at least some people already use it), but "political correctness" has almost nothing to do with 政治. Jul 19, 2013 at 0:34
  • @StumpyJoePete May be just me but "political correctness" also gave me an inaccurate impression when I first encountered it. Plus I think the contemporary definition of 政治 is an adequate representation of "political". Jul 19, 2013 at 1:16
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    I think you will find 政治正确 is pretty much set in stone. In English "political" is also just a word that covers a number of concepts and the same is done here in Chinese. Trying to find a better translation is a noble thing to do, but if you are the only person using that new word in more likelihood people will misunderstand you rather than people who are using the widely used term.
    – going
    Jul 19, 2013 at 2:33
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    I think politic/政治 is one of the words that has the same base meaning in both languages but extended differently probably due to cultural differences. In Chinese, when you use 'politically correct' for things that are NOT politics, it sounds more or less negative. 保持中立 sounds neutral but loses the implication of 'manipulation, mediation, skillful intervention'. So I think this phrase has to be translated in context, case by case.
    – NS.X.
    Jul 19, 2013 at 4:05

2 Answers 2


Assuming Wikipedia is a reliable source, 政治正确 is correct.

There is a simpler explanation of it on Zhidao Baidu as well:

这要看你是说汉语 “政治正确” 还是英语 “politically correct” 。
英语 “politically (in)correct” 形容任何不属于社会规范的语言,比如美国和加拿大忌用一些词语

It's a very literal translation, but that is the proper word, even if a bit misleading.

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    I think the last line of the quote should be "英语politically INCORRECT 形容任何不属于社会规范的语言".
    – 杨以轩
    Jul 23, 2013 at 2:15
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    Thanks for your answer, but I still believe 交际婉语 or 社交婉语 are much better than 政治正确. Jul 23, 2013 at 22:42
  • The problem with 交际婉语 is that it's more about how you say something, whereas political correctness is more about what you say, the content, the meaning.
    – Curiosity
    Oct 24, 2023 at 18:05

政治正确 in Chinese is very different. For history reason, China has only one domain party, in ages before, the political environment is strict, people was roughly divided. The one follow the domain party are called 政治正确, and the against behaviors are called 政治正确. I think western may not have these meanings. If you have a example sentence, I may tell you the meaning in that particular situation.

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