The Chinese Telegraph Code, Chinese Telegraphic Code, or Chinese Commercial Code ( or )〔Simply ''diànmǎ'' or ''diànbàomǎ'' may refer to the “Chinese telegraph code” whereas ''diànmǎ'' is a general term for “code,” as seen in ''Móěrsī diànmǎ'' () for the “Morse code” and ''Bóduō diànmǎ'' () for the “Baudot code.”〕 is a four-digit decimal code (character encoding) for electrically telegraphing messages written with Chinese characters.
== Encoding and decoding ==
A codebook is provided for encoding and decoding the Chinese telegraph code. It shows one-to-one correspondence between Chinese characters and four-digit numbers from
Senders convert their messages written with Chinese characters to a sequence of digits according to the codebook. For instance, the phrase (Zhōngwén xìnxī), meaning “information in Chinese,” is rendered into the code as
The codebook also defines codes for Zhuyin alphabet, Latin alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet, and various symbols including special symbols for months, days in a month, and hours.
Senders may translate their messages into numbers by themselves, or pay a small charge to have them translated by a telegrapher.〔The Tianjin Communications Corporation (2004) in the PRC charges RMB 0.01 per character for their encoding service, compared to their domestic telegraph rate of RMB 0.13 per character.〕 Chinese expert telegraphers used to remember several thousands of codes of the most frequent use.
The ''Standard Telegraph Codebook'' gives alternative three-letter code (
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