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I believe, the word 兼 is used to connect two things that are of the same status or importance, but in this case 国务委员兼外交部长王毅, 国务委员(State Councilor) is a higher-ranking position than 外交部长(foreign minister), and in another case 中共中央政治局常委、国务院副总理韩正, things are different, there is not the word 兼 in between the two titles, the same applies in the case of 中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平, but grammatically there should have been that word 兼.

Why is so? How is 兼 used?

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  • Kindly suggest not to treat Han laguage as some rigid and boring “Eight-legged essay”(八股文). It is very flexible actually.
    – Spin Lee
    Jul 4 at 13:24
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国务委员兼外交部长王毅 = 国务委员、外交部长王毅

中共中央政治局常委、国务院副总理韩正 = 中共中央政治局常委兼国务院副总理韩正

If phrases are long, we use "、" instead of "兼" to avoid a too long sentense without seperator.

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  • Agree, long phrases like 中共中央总书记兼国家主席兼中央军委主席习近平 is hard to read
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 3 at 12:40
  • How about "兼職", "兼差", "兼課"?
    – r13
    Jul 3 at 13:35
  • It means "hold two" as a vt.
    – Spin Lee
    Jul 3 at 13:54
  • Yes, but the second position has a lesser role/ranking than the first, isn't it? "本職vs兼職", "本科教授vs代課教授". In those, 兼職 = 副業.
    – r13
    Jul 3 at 18:15
  • @TangHo In China the higher the rank is, the shorter of the title, haha, as far as I know, the biggest bosses address each other with 同志 only, like 小平同志, same as the practice in Hong Kong, where people of high importance are just known as 李生,王生, but not 李总,王董 Jul 4 at 2:51
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... but grammatically there should have been that word 兼.

Spin Lee's answer already pointed out that 兼 can be replaced by a comma to avoid having a run-on phrase. For example, 中共中央总书记兼国家主席兼中央军委主席习近平 is hard to read, 中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平 break up this long-phrase neatly, make it easy on the eyes thus easier to read

I believe, the word 兼 is used to connect two things that are of the same status or importance

Typically, the order on a list of titles either 1. from the more prominent to the less prominent 2. following a timeline

Example:

好丈夫兼好父親 - Since one should become a husband before he becomes a father, we list them in this order, and link them with a 兼 (short phrases don't need to be broke up with a comma like the long ones)

店主兼主廚 - The owner appoints the head chef of his restaurant, therefore, 店主 comes first and 主廚 comes second in this phrase. Notice 'Owner' of a restaurant is also the more prominent status than the head chef of a restaurant, it is another reason for 店主 comes before 主廚. And '他是店主兼主廚' is a good example of not replacing 兼 with a comma -- '他是店主、主廚' sounds disjointed

You have to have a 本職 before you can find a 兼職. Therefore, one's 本職 is always listed before his 兼職

From '中共中央总书记兼国家主席兼中央军委主席习近平', we know 中共中央总书记 is the most important title 习近平 currently holds

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  • I agree with the order. Though disagree on how it is used in political figures holding multiple positions unless other than the first is an honorary/ceremonial position. But I am not certain about it, so I vote this answer up.
    – r13
    Jul 3 at 22:59
  • One thing interesting I come to know after your explanation is that when 兼 is used the official posts are from the same agency of the government, like in the case of 王毅, because the two titles are both under the control of the State Council, but for the other two examples, the titles are from different agencies. 总书记 is the title of the Party, 国家主席 the title of the State, 中央军委主席 the title of the military. Jul 4 at 2:45

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