With more than a billion people now sharing just 100 surnames, Chinese
authorities are considering a landmark move to try to end the confusion, media
report said Tuesday.
Current Chinese law states that children are only allowed take the surname
from either their mother or father, but the lack of variety means there are now
93 million people in China with the family name Wang.
In a country of around 1.3 billion people, about 85 percent share only 100
surnames, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the Ministry of Public
Security in April.
The survey found 92 million people shared the surname Li, while 88 million
were called Zhang. A further seven surnames -- including Chen, Zhou and Lin --
are held by at least 20 million Chinese.
Another report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences found at least 100,000
people share China's most popular name, Wang Tao.
Under a new draft regulation released by the ministry of
public security, parents will be able to combine their surnames for their children, a
move that could open up 1.28 million new possibilities, report said.
For instance, a father named Zhou and mother named Zhu could choose to call
their child either Zhou, Zhu, Zhouzhu or Zhuzhou, the report added.
Guan Xihua, a household registration officer with the Beijing public security
bureau, said the lack of variety caused trouble in daily life and the new
regulation would slash repetition.
Du Roufu, from the academy, said combined surnames had already become popular
with younger couples even though such combinations were not strictly permitted
The draft also allows ethnic minorities to register some letters and
characters among new names, but bans any foreign letters.
Du said the move for ethnic minorities would encourage them to use
traditional surnames and avoid the practice of taking Han Chinese surnames,
which reduces the variety of names and harms their cultural