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Chinese Communism Exemplified

I can't think of a better example of how communism forces its citizens to live for the good of the state than this one:

The joke goes in China that if you call out the name Wang Wei in the street at least one person is bound to answer. The personal name Wei, or "mighty", is so popular that parents have been turning to ancient and esoteric dictionaries to find more unusual names for their child.

No longer. The Ministry of Public Security has drawn up a new regulation on registration of names. In future, babies' names must be drawn from a list that excludes tens of thousands of rare Chinese characters. With the introduction of electronic identity cards, the authorities will only register names that can be stored in their police database.

That's the Chinese government at work: individuality squashed at every opportunity.

Hat tip: The Corner


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Comments (13)

Scandanavia has been doing ... (Below threshold)

Scandanavia has been doing this for years. Those poor people. So oppressed!

Any breaking news on that explosive Iraqi document Kim? Haven't heard much...

It seems to me that it woul... (Below threshold)

It seems to me that it would be a lot easier for the government to just assign numbers, and get away from bourgeois artifacts like "names."

#342,764 Jr.

I believe the the French go... (Below threshold)

I believe the the French government limits given names, just like the Scandinavians and Chinese. Government efficiency comes before personal choice. I wonder what the bases for determining acceptable names might be? Can you imagine American bureaucrats poring over manuals to determine if "Shawan" is an acceptable variation of "Sean"?

SATerp, that sounds a lot l... (Below threshold)

SATerp, that sounds a lot like social security...

Hmmm.The Japanese ... (Below threshold)


The Japanese also have a government run board that must approve all names of Japanese infants before a birth certificate is issued. The problem is, with China and Japan, a serious issue.

Both countries use the calligraphic form of the written language for official documents. The problem isn't necessarily the recording of the names but the fact that not everyone knows every single pictographic character in either language. So the available set of calligraphic characters for names, which must be used all the time, have to be restricted to the most common set.

The rather amusing thing about both countries is that parents are also trying to use Western names to differentiate their children simply because there are so many children with exactly the same name. It's amusing when 3,000 kids are named Li Wei. It's not so amusing when you've got 3,000 businessmen in the Beijing airport all answering a public announcement for a Mr. Li Wei of Beijing. It can also be difficult for Westerners who have to deal with a few hundred Mr. Li Wei's within a Chinese company.

It's kinda interesting. Kinda funny. Kinda amusing in a way.

jp2:Are we to take f... (Below threshold)

Are we to take from your remark that you support government dictated children names?

Far be it from me to defend... (Below threshold)

Far be it from me to defend the Chinese government, but in this case the requirement is not as unreasonable as it sounds.

The Chinese language is ideographic and, depending on who you ask and how, exactly, you define a character (as opposed to just a variant ideogram for the same character), may have more than 50,000 characters. They've already given the Unicode standards bodies conniptions and forced them to extend Unicode to more than 2 bytes, something that they originally believed would not be necessary.

Characters that cannot be typed or stored in computer systems give everyone major problems. Believe me - I know - I've been involved in building systems for the Hong Kong government which requires support for about 2,000 additional characters beyond the normal Chinese standard that are only used in Hong Kong.

Saying that you can't register a name that does not use one of the standard characters isn't that unreasonable. After all, how far would you get in the US trying to persuade the US government that your name includes a Euro symbol or one of those Scandinavian 'O's with bars through them?

Japanese has both Katakana ... (Below threshold)

Japanese has both Katakana and Hiragana character sets which are phonetic. With those it's possible to write/store any name.

If a computer system can't handle a name like Bjørn you can always just put Bjorn, or else use a convention to use regular characters to indicate the accent, such as Bj/orn. No problem.

I'd say it's the government's job to adapt to store people's names, not tell them what those names can be. Adaption is not difficult. If they can't use phonetic or other techniques to get around these limiations then they're incompetent.

Umm... Maybe... want to try... (Below threshold)

Umm... Maybe... want to try registering for a Social Security card in the US as Bj/orn?

I have 26 employees. 9 of t... (Below threshold)

I have 26 employees. 9 of them are Chinese or Taiwanese. Of the 9, 5 are named Wei with one of them being named Wei Wei. The youngest, Wei Sun, is married and her husband's name is---Wei Sun. I'm not so sure it's a sign of communism as much as it is practicality...

Saying that you... (Below threshold)

Saying that you can't register a name that does not use one of the standard characters isn't that unreasonable. After all, how far would you get in the US trying to persuade the US government that your name includes a Euro symbol or one of those Scandinavian 'O's with bars through them?

You might ask the artist formerly known as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince".

Bet he didn't have that sym... (Below threshold)

Bet he didn't have that symbol on his driver's license.

Sounds like mass confusion... (Below threshold)

Sounds like mass confusion to me ! to many robot models all with the same lable and model #s






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