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Chinese Studies

The guide provides some starting points for your research of China at Duke


Citing Chinese-language materials follows all the same principles as citing English-language resources. Differences arise from the fact that Chinese is written in a non-Roman script. See below for instructions and resources pertaining to the three most commonly used citation styles.

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social and behavioral sciences. For non-Roman scripts, you must:

  • Provide a transliteration of the script into the English alphabet. APA does not specify the Romanization style, but pinyin is recommended.
  • Provide an English translation of the title in brackets.


Author: 學愚

Title: 中國佛教的社會主義改造

Citation: Xue, Y. (2015). Zhongguo fojiao de shehuizhuyi gaizao [The socialist transformation of Chinese Buddhism]. Hong Kong: Xianggang Zhongwen daxue chubanshe. 

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. For citations in non-Roman scripts, MLA recommends you include:

  • The title in the original script
  • An English translation of the title in brackets and
  • A transliteration of the Chinese characters in works geared to non-specialists (optional)

These three elements should be included in this order: original characters, then transliteration (if included), then translation.


Author: 學愚

Title: 中國佛教的社會主義改造

Citation: Xue, Yu. 中國佛教的社會主義改造 Zhongguo fojiao de shehuizhuyi gaizao [The socialist transformation of Chinese Buddhism]. Hong Kong: Xianggang Zhongwen daxue chubanshe, 2015.

For more information on MLA Citation and how to order entries in non-Roman scripts, see this FAQ entry from the MLA Style Center.

Chicago-style citation is most commonly used in history papers. There are two main types of citation in Chicago Style: notes and bibliography (preferred in the humanities) and author-date (preferred in the social sciences and sciences) style. Similar to APA and MLA, Chicago asks for:


Author:  華林甫

Article Title: 清代以來三峽地區水旱災害的初步硏究

Journal Title: 中國社會科學

Citation: Hua Linfu 華林甫. “Qingdai yilai Sanxia diqu shuihan zaihai de chubu yanjiu” 清代以來三峽地區水旱災害的初步硏究 [A preliminary study of floods and droughts in the Three Gorges region since the Qing dynasty]. Zhongguo shehui kexue 中國社會科學 1 (1999): 168–79.

The online version of the Chicago Manual of Style includes Sections 11.102-11.110 on Chinese and Japanese languages.


Further Resources

Chinese Language papers

There is no standard way to cite sources in Chinese papers. The Library at Hong Kong Baptist University links to some departmental and publication practices. In addition, the University of Taipei has published this Chinese-language guide to APA Style.