So, I'm looking at a number of verbs that all float around the idea of 'to promote sth', however am not too sure where the dividing lines between them lie. Any help beyond my initial attempt below would be greatly appreciated!

  1. 促进 vs 提倡 - these both seem to mean 'to promote an (intangible) idea or cause', so for example health, generosity, a charity - so to openly say to other people that x is good and that should encorporate these intangible concepts into their lives. What is the difference between the two though?

  2. 推广 - this seems to revolve more around promoting tangible objects, mostly commercial items for sale?

  3. 宣传 - this also seems to mean promote but given that, as a noun, it means propaganda, I suppose it must have some kind of negative connotation. Maybe there is less emphasis on the recipient incorporating the intangible item in question into their lives, but just being aware of it?

Many thanks!

  • I would also mention the strong negative connotation of propaganda in English is more recent (partly because English convention has decided to translate government communication departments that promotes "bad" governments as departments of propaganda). 宣传 has no general negative connotation in Chinese (unless you are using it in specific political sense and you don't like the Party, I suppose), e.g. 宣传片 (publicity videos for corporations etc.) or 宣传材料 (promotional materials) are all neutral terms without specific connotation.
    – xngtng
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 11:49
  • Actually, that is an interesting point. I hadn't thought about that. Thanks!
    – Hashamyim
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 11:52

2 Answers 2


促 = to urge; to speed up

进 = to advance

促进 = to promote (something to make it advance).


(促进)香港旅游业发展 = (to promote/speed up) the development of Hong Kong's tour industry

(促进)血液循环 = (to promote/speed up) blood circulation


提 = bring up

倡 = support

提倡 = to promote (an idea by voicing support)


提倡人人戴口罩 = (Promote/ Voice support for) everyone wearing a mask)

提倡男女平等 = (Promote/ Voice support for) equality between men and women


推 = push

广 = wide

推广 = to promote (to spread an idea to the public)


推广男女平等 = (Promote/ Spread the idea of) equality between men and women

推广学习中文 = (Promote/ Spread the idea/ benefit of) learning Chinese


宣 = to announce

传 = to pass along

宣传 = to promote (to push)


(宣传)香港旅游业 = (Promote/ Push) Hong Kong's tour industry

(宣传)这个新政策 = (Promote/ Push) this new policy

  • Thanks for the input, Tang! I'm almost ready to take HSK5!
    – Hashamyim
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 13:44
  1. 促进: vt. something that is already there and the action is to deepen its extent, the objective following which is often a concrete thing instead of ideas, for example, 促进发展 promote development, 促进血液循环 enhance blood circulation.

提倡: vt. verb that carries a positive meaning, its objective is not necessarily something already there and should be something positive or virtuous. I.e. 反腐倡廉,here 倡廉 means encourage the incorruptness.

  1. 推广:this is closest to the english word "promote" since one of its extended meaning is to advertise a product by the mass media or KOLs, anyway, its original meaning is to make something more well-known to people, let it reach a broader audience, for example, 推广水稻种植方法,to promote the cultivation methods of planting paddy.

  2. 宣传:you are right in that it is used sometimes related with propaganda, but without the negative meaning, rather, it carries itself positive implications, unless with the addition of other explicit negative words. The misunderstanding there could be a cultural barrier, and for the promotion of the bad things, we use "宣扬" instead of "宣传"。 For example,宣传奉献精神 means to promote the spirit of dedication.

Sorry I just saw that the question was posed over two years ago, maybe you already got the idea. Cheers.

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