eveloping a luxurious residential complex in China? Better name it after some local model village rather than, say, the Palace of Versailles.
Another round of name rectification appears to be in full swing in China with the provincial government of Hainan recently ordering that 84 buildings on the island be renamed because their current names are “too foreign.”
The local government of Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province, has since followed suit, releasing a list of 98 properties with names deemed too “foreign,” “weird,” and difficult to pronounce or understand.
Coming soon to a city near you?
These orders are the result of a joint national campaign which officially launched last December, specifically targeting four types of improper names, those featuring exaggeration, unrelated foreign elements, repetition, and strange or vulgar words.
Names such as these were said to violate the core values of socialism, damage national pride, and negatively affect the lives of China’s people.
It remains to be seen how many other provinces and cities will soon issue lists of their own.
Names on the blacklist
Check out a few of the “foreign-worshipping” place names in Xi’an and Hainan that have been ordered to re-brand:
- Paris Mansion
- Victoria Gardens
- Beautiful Seattle Bay
- Oriental Rome Gardens
- California North Lane
- Great Bear Eurasia Hotel
- Little Spanish Village
- Xi’an Imperial Art Museum
Even such seemingly innocent names as “6th Courtyard” or “Courtyard Number 8” can also be spotted on the lists.
Terms like “central,” “international,” “riverside,” or “mountain” are often considered inappropriate as well.
Vienna pushes back
Fighting back against this campaign is a popular Shenzhen-based hotel chain which was established back in 1993 with the now-unfortunate name of “Vienna Hotels.”
The chain, which operates in more than 100 cities across the country, has argued that it should be excluded from the order because it owns a registered trademark on its name which doesn’t expire until 2022. It’s not yet clear if this will be enough to convince officials to grant them an exclusion.
On Friday, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs voiced its support for the campaign but said that the crackdown ought to be carried out “prudently and appropriately,” adding that its focus is on newly-built residential areas and major projects.
Still, netizens have joked that the campaign could end up claiming some extremely big names in China, including Jack Ma’s Alibaba, for worshipping Arabic culture, and everyone’s favorite actress, Angelababy.