Document writing refers to the writing of official documents. It is a kind of practical writing which is scientific and uses exposition as the main expression. It is an indispensable tool used by authority organizations, enterprises ,service units and other social organizations when implementating management or conducting business activities. The purpose of writing official documents is usually to deliver instructions, express will, direct work or to communicate cases.

Official documents (including telegrams, same in the following places) are documents with legal effect and of standard forms formulated in the process of administration and are important instruments for carrying out administration and official activities in accordance with the law.


Document writing is classified into 13 types as follows:

1. Order
  An order shall be issued in the following situation: publishing administrative regulations and rules in accordance with the law, announcing the implementation of important enforcing administrative measures, and granting citations to relevant work units and personnel.
2. Decision
  A decision shall be given in the following situation: deciding on important issues or actions, granting citations to relevant work units and personnel, changing or cancelling inappropriate decisions made by sub-branches.

3. Announcement
  An announcement shall be made when announcing important issues or statutory matters to the nation or to the whole world.

4. Publication
  A publication shall be issued when publishing issues to be known or respected by the public.

5. Notice
  A notice shall be issued when approving or forwarding official documents made by sub-branches, forwarding official documents made by the Department at a higher or parallel level, informing sub-branches or other relevant organs matters that should be known and handled thereby, or when announcing personnel appointing or removal.

6. Circular
  A circular shall be issued for commendation or criticism, or for making public important issues.

7. Motion
  A motion shall be submitted by the People’s Government at all levels to the People’s Congress or its Standing Committee at the same level to raise proposals.

8. Report
  A report shall be handed in to the Department at a higher level for describing work and issues and for responding to enquiries made by the Department at a higher level.

9. Asking for instructions
  An asking for instructions shall be made when soliciting instructions or approvals from the Department at a higher level.

10. Response
  A response shall be granted when granting instructions to sub-branches.

11. Opinion
  An opinion shall be given when providing opinion over important issues and the solutions thereof.

12. Letter
  An letter shall be written when consulting, enquiring and giving reply or approval, and asking for approval to a parallel Department.

13. Minute of meeting
  A minute of meeting shall be prepared for recording, forwarding the content of a meeting.

*The type of the official document shall be decided according to the its purpose , the power scope of the issuing organ and the relationship between the issuing organ and the principal receiver.


● Practicability: It's practical in delivering instructions, expressing will, directing work and communicating cases, etc.
● Purposiveness: To deal with a certain government affairs or other events.
● Being committed to undertake a task: To comply with requirements, and accept instructions.
● Collectivity: To draw up → discuss and modify together → examine and verify.
● Prescriptiveness: Being set for the aimed readers.
● Normalization: The content, form, language and structure must be normati

Essential Requirements

When writing official documents, such principles shall be respected as “seeking truth from facts, simplicity, efficiency” in order to ensure rapid, accurate and safe handling. Besides, laws and regulations concerning State secrecy shall be respected.

● Accuracy:to reflect reality objectively.
● Terseness: to deliver maximal information with minimal words.
● Appropriateness: to adapt to the demand of different kinds of documents.
● Graveness: to be serious legal documents.
● Plain: not to pursue rhetoric or beauty of word

Layout of Document Writing


An official document is composed of level of secrecy, term of confidentiality, level of urgency, name of the issuer, issuing number, signer, heading, principal receivers, body text, explanatory notes of the annexes, date of issuance, seal, notes, annexes, subject reminders, receivers of the copy, printing organs and printing date, etc.

1. An official document relating to State secrecy shall be marked with level of secrecy and term of confidentiality. Official documents of “secrecy” or “top secrecy” shall, in addition, be marked with the total number and sequence number of copies.
2. Urgent official documents shall be marked with level of urgency such as “urgent” or “extra urgent”. Telegrams shall be marked “most urgent”, “extra urgent”, “urgent” and “usual”.
3. The name of the issuer shall be the complete name or standard abbreviation of the issuer. In case there are several issuers, the principal one shall be the first in sequence.
4. The issuing number shall include the initials of the issuer, the year and the sequence number. In case there are several issuers, only the issuing number of the principal issuers shall be marked.
5. The name of signer and counter-signer shall be marked. In case of asking for instruction, the name and telephone number of the person to contact shall be provided in the Note.
6. The heading of an official document shall indicate the main content and the type of the document. The issuer shall also be marked. Except regulations and rules that shall be included in brackets, no other punctuation shall be used.
7. Principal receivers refer to principal Departments to handle the document. The complete name or standard or uniform abbreviation shall be used.
8. In case the document has annexes, the sequence and names of the annexes shall be marked.
9. Except minutes of meeting and telegrams, all official documents shall be sealed. A document submitted to the Department at a higher level by several issuers shall be sealed by the principal Department; A document issued to sub-branches shall be sealed by all the issuers.
10. Date of issuance shall be the date of signature by the person-in-charge. In case there are several issuers, date of issuance shall be the date of signature by the person-in-charge of the Department who is the last signer of the document. The date of issuance of a telegram shall be the date of dispatch.
11. In case there is explanatory note (to explain other matters), it shall be included in brackets.
12. An official document shall have a subject reminder. The subject remainder shall be marked according to the requirement of the Department at a higher level.
13. The receivers of copies refer to other Departments that need to know or implement the official document in addition to the principal receivers. The complete names or standard or uniform abbreviations shall be used.
14. An official document shall be written from the left side to the right side and arranged horizontally. In an Autonomous Region of ethnic minorities, both Mandarin Chinese and minority characters can be used according to the writing and arranging practice.

Reference list

1.国务院, 国家行政机关公文处理办法2000-8-24.

2.Legal English. Procedures for Handling Official documents in the Administrative Departments of the,2008.