Internet users have been asked to recommend a single Chinese character and a word which can describe China and the world best in 2014.
It is the first time the public can not only recommend, but also vote for the "character and word of the year 2014", according to organizers.
In the past, experts had the final say, they said.
It's also the first time participants can use social media such as microblog Sina Weibo and WeChat, a popular instant messaging service. Discussion and suggestions on the "character and word of the year" began on the social media sites on Nov. 20.
Anti-graft terms "hunting tigers" and "swatting flies", political slogans of "rule of law" and "streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels", and words related to international events such as "Ukraine crisis", "missing Malaysia Airlines flight" and "ebola virus" are among the preliminary recommendations.
While "APEC blue", a popular Internet phrase in November, used to describe the clear sky during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Beijing due to a series of measures taken by local governments to cut emissions, is seen as a strong candidate.
"The word was adopted by official media after being created by netizens, and then President Xi Jinping used it and explained it (to world leaders)," Zhu Huaxin, the public opinion research director of the People's Daily Online was quoted as saying by the Beijing Evening News.
It's the ninth consecutive year for the Chinese National Language Monitoring and Research Center, the Commercial Press, and People's Daily Online, to co-organize the selection.
"House" and "positive energy" were selected as "character and word of the year 2013". Past winners also include "dream", "smog", and "tuhao", meaning rich people with poor taste.
The result of this year's selection will be announced on Dec. 19, along with "catchword of the year", "new word of the year" and "Internet slang of the year", selected based on research by the Chinese National Language Monitoring and Research Center.