I was stunned when I read this op-ed piece in the NYT yesterday (10/24/16): "China's Digital Soft Power Play". In it, the author, Jing Tsu (a professor of Chinese literature and culture at Yale), writes:
This month, the Chinese government plans to introduce codes for some 3,000 Chinese characters as part of a grand project, known as the China Font Bank, to digitize 500,000 characters previously unavailable in electronic form. Until now, only 80,388 characters have been encoded in the international computing standard, Unicode.
The project highlights 100,000 characters from the country’s 56 ethnic minorities, and another 100,000 rare and ancient characters from China’s written corpus. Deploying almost 30 companies, institutions and universities, it’s the largest state-funded digitization project ever undertaken.