I am wondering to what extent spoken language is important to the intelligibility of written Chinese. I read the Wikipedia article on Chinese grammar in which they have words in one particular language (Mandarin maybe?) are written in the text as though it is the only language, when obviously that is not the case.
For example, newspapers in Beijing I assume are written by people who speak Mandarin, whereas in Shanghai I would guess they are written by people who speak Wu. Even so, my understanding is that they use the same character for a concept, even though the words are different. For example, "man" may be spoken differently in Mandarin and Wu, but both cities use the same symbol for the idea.
Does the underlying language affect the ability to read and write Chinese?
For example, can someone who ONLY speaks Wu understand a Beijing newspaper as well as a Mandarin? And likewise, if a Wu speaker writes a document, can a person who does not speak Wu comprehend the document just as fully as a native Wu speaker can?