Whether the traditional Chinese or Western (Gregorian) calendar is used for official purposes, including Resident Identity Cards; how dates are converted from the traditional Chinese calendar to the Western calendar [CHN34866.E]

According to The Book of Calendars, the traditional Chinese calendar "is the longest unbroken sequence of time measurement in history" (1982, 215). However, the Gregorian Calendar has been used for official purposes since 1911, with the traditional "ancient lunar calendar" based on both lunar and solar observations remaining in general use (1982, 218). The conversion of dates between the two systems formerly required the use of text conversion tables, for example, The Book of Calendars. However, several online converters exist, for example, at the Website of the Academica Sinica (in Chinese) and the China News Digest (in Chinese and pinyin).

According to a former Political Counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, the traditional Chinese calendar remains popular for non-official purposes, however, it is unlikely - but not impossible - that it would be used for official documentation, including Resident Identity Cards (12 July 2000).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Academica Sinica Computing Centre (Taipei). n.d. "Chinese Western Date Converter." http://www.sinica.edu.tw/~tdbproj/sinocal/luso.html [Accessed 13 July 2000]

The Book of Calendars. 1982. Frank Parise, ed. New York: Facts on File.

China News Digest. 3 November 1999. "Chinese Calendar Home Page." http://www.cnd.org/Other/calendar.html [Accessed 13 July 2000]

Former Political Counsellor, Canadian Embassy Beijing. 12 July 2000. Personal interview.