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Parents select poetic names for babies

By Tang Yue | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-12 07:25

You might have heard of Li Na, the Chinese tennis star who won the single's title at the 2011 French Open.

While her achievement was one of a kind for the country, her name, which means "graceful", is far from unique. According to a report on Chinese names that was released on Tuesday, more than 250,000 people in the country use the same name.

However it is not the most common name in China.

Parents select poetic names for babies

Wei, which means "great", is the most popular first name among Chinese, with Zhang Wei, Wang Wei and Li Wei being ranked first, second and fourth respectively.

The analysis, by naming service company Qimingtong, is based on the names of 1.1 billion Chinese people, including 5 million babies born in 2015.

The most popular 100 names account for about 10 percent of the population, according to the report.

Names also reflect different eras, the report said. While Jianguo, which means "building the country", is common among the older generation, the names of today's newborn babies are more personal and poetic.

"The names show the parents' wishes and expectations for the children and, in a way, also tell the ethos of society," said Zhang Jing, founder of Qimingtong and chief editor of the report.

Xuan, which means "high" or "lofty", is also often used for boys, while Yu, which means "rain", is popular among girls.

"Chinese people might spend more time choosing names for the babies and sometimes spend a lot of money to have an auspicious name for children," said Zhao Gang, an education professor at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, Jilin province.

"However, good parenting and education has a much greater impact on the children's growth," Zhao said.

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