Naming babies with 'Chinese characteristics'

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2017-02-04 09:50:33

New trend

"Names reflect a nation's changing cultural trend," Hu said.

Thirty years ago, babies were given names like Wei (meaning greatness), Aiguo (patriotism) or Xiuli (gently beautiful), now Chenxi (sun rays) and Haoran (righteousness) are more popular.

In 2015, 4,034 new babies were born in Honggutan, where Hu works. From January to November 2016, there were 4,695 newborns, up 16.38 percent year on year.

Some police districts in China have developed computer systems for registrants to search whether a name has been used and by how many people. Hu's department does not offer such services, but she gives her advice.

"I have repeatedly told parents not to use extremely uncommon characters. Such names are unscannable in banking or social security systems," she said.

Zhang Ruxin, who led the report on names, said people used to have only one Chinese character as a given name, but two-character names were now preferred, mainly to avoid duplicates.

According to the report, 299,025 people, about the population of Iceland, are called Zhang (surname) Wei (given name, third tone, meaning greatness), the most-used name. The second-ranking Wang Wei is shared by 290,619 people.

Younger parents are more influenced by pop culture, including romance novels and popular TV series. Zixuan, a name which probably has roots in heroines and heroes of TV series, is remarkably overused. It comes in different Chinese characters.

"My boy Zixuan was admitted to the hospital, and there happened to be four Zixuans in the same ward," a mother said.

In southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, repetition of names is also being shunned. Doje Drolma, a college student from Tibet, said several of her friends had longer names, like Tenzingendenlesh.

In Tibet, babies are often named by high monks, living-Buddhas or the elderly in their families.

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