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The Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (Chinese: 香港增補字符集; commonly abbreviated to HKSCS) is a set of Chinese characters -- 4,702 in total in the initial release -- used exclusively in Standard Cantonese. It evolved from the preceding Government Chinese Character Set (政府通用字庫) or GCCS. GCCS is a set of supplementary Chinese characters coded in the user-defined areas of the Big5 character set. It was originally used within the Hong Kong Government and later used by the public. It later evolved into Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set when the characters in the set were submitted to ISO-10646 for coding.


Development History

Due to the inherent differences between written Mandarin and written Cantonese, the Hong Kong Government recognized the need for a standardized set of proprietary characters that would allow for the streamlining of electronic communication; at the time, the Big5 Chinese encoding scheme did not contain a vast majority of these characters (some were erroneously cross-listed with similar characters).

The Government Chinese Character Set (政府通用字庫) or GCCS was thus developed by the government. The character set consists of Chinese characters commonly used in Hong Kong. Some characters are Cantonese-specific, while some are alternative forms of characters. The set is not well-organised and the characters are not closely examined.

Subsequently, the HKSCS-1999 (HKSCS 1999 specification) was developed. Following its acceptance, newer revisions were released in 2001 (adding 116 new characters) and in 2004 (adding 123 new characters), totalling 4,941 characters.

The HKSCS is encoded in Big5 and ISO 10646. Starting from HKSCS-2004, all characters using to Private Use Area section of Unicode are remapped, with many of them reassigned to Extension B Block or Supplementary Ideographic Plane Compatibility Block. However, to preserve compatibility with programs that generated PUA code points, the allocated code points are reserved, and no new characters will be mapped to PUA.



Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows

In Microsoft Windows 98, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, HKSCS support can be enabled using Microsoft's patch. In Microsoft's implementation, application using code page 950 automatically uses a hidden code page 951 table for the Big5 encoding of the HKSCS extensions. The table supports all code points in HKSCS-2001, except for the compatibility code points specified by the standard[1]. In addition, the MingLiU font is altered using Microsoft's patch. This patch is known to create conflicts in applications such as Microsoft Office, or any application using fonts supporting simplified Chinese characters (eg: SimSun). If the target environment contains custom font mapped to the code points affected by Microsoft's patch, the custom fonts can undo Microsoft's patch. Furthermore, the patch breaks EUDC Editor supplied with the affected versions of Windows.[2]

Starting with Windows Vista, HKSCS-2004 characters are only be supported as Unicode 4.1 or later.[1] All characters are assigned standard, non-PUA codepoints. The characters are displayed with the MingLiU font, and these characters can be entered via the keyboard. The patch that provides Big5 encoding of HKSCS is unsupported in Windows Vista and later. A utility provided by Microsoft is available to convert HKSCS and Unicode PUA-encoded characters to Unicode 4.1 version [3].

For earlier versions of the OS, HKSCS support requires the use of Microsoft's patch, or the Hong Kong government's Digital 21's utilities.


HKSCS support was added to glibc in 2000, but it has not been updated since then. HKSCS-2004 support is handled as Unicode 4.1 and later.

For setup, AR PL ShanHeiSun Uni font fully supports HKSCS-2004 since, with latest revision of HKSCS-2004 supported in version 0.1.20060903-1.

Mac OS

Mac OS X 10.0-10.2 supports HKSCS-1999. 10.3-10.4 supports HKSCS-2001. HKSCS-2004 support is handled as Unicode 4.1 and later.


Mozilla 1.5 and above supports HKSCS, with HKSCS-2004 support added into Gecko 1.8.1 code base[4]. Unlike the above mentioned patch, Mozilla uses its own code page table.

QT 3.x-based applications (eg: KDE) only support characters mapped to code points FFFF or lower. In QT4, characters outside BMP are supported via surrogates.

GNOME supports HKSCS characters in Unicode ranges, except those mapped to the Basic Multilingual Plane compatibility block.


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See also

External links


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