In an attempt to preserve its own culture, China’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs has announced it wants to initiate a serious crackdown on buildings and living complexes whose names sound too “foreign” or “strange.”
Head of the Ministry, Li Liguo, explained that the widespread use of foreign place names was undermining Chinese culture during a press conference on Tuesday, reports SCMP. Upscale residential areas often don English names to appear more cosmopolitan, thereby appealing to the country’s booming urban middle-class who would rather live on the Riviera or in Manhattan.
However, Li noted that the cultural heritage of China’s smaller cities and villages was being left behind. Statistics from the Ministry show that over just the last 30 years, about 60,000 towns and 400,000 villages have lost their names. “The name of a place represents the local culture of the region,” Li laments.
Proposing a solution to his concerns, Li said, “Clearing up westernized names or preserving traditional names would help preserve China’s cultural heritage.” A policy introduced by the ministry in 1996 forbids the use of foreign names on residential complexes and buildings, but has been (very) poorly enforced.
No word on what this means for residents of China Venice, China Pentagon and China Hogwarts.
By Matthew Patel