What’s with all the Wangs? That is the question that is stumping the Chinese Government. For well over a billion Chinese people, only 100 surnames are used by some 85 percent of the population, not to mention the fact that many of these names are homonyms. What’s the solution? Well, according to a proposed law, two surnames.
Soon, there will be a whole lot more Mr. and Ms. Wang Wang’s. China Daily reports that the Public Security bureau has released a new draft regulation that will open up 1.28 million new surname possibilities. As of now, children are only allowed to take the name of their mother or their father, not both. This has resulted in 93 million people named Wang, and has caused severe confusion in daily life, as well as in government documents. While dual surnames have become relatively popular with young couples, it is still an illegal and unrecognized practice. We wonder whether this new system of naming will make things less confusing or even more confusing? What happens when two people with two surnames have a baby? Four surnames?
In addition, the proposed regulation also opens up the possibility of the use of ethnic minority scripts, but clearly bans the use of foreign letters. There is no word as to when this law will be officially enacted. We at Shanghaiist think that next on the agenda should be a law against ridiculous English names. In the past month we’ve met a Kingwood, a Tomato, a Polo, and a Dirty Jeff (yes it says Dirty on his business card) … what is up with that?