Friday, September 15, 2006

4,000 Chen Jies give authorities headache in China

Shanghai: Here's to you, Chen Jie. And you, and you, and you.

The name - surname Chen, given name Jie - is shared by almost 4,000 Shanghainese, topping the list of the city's most common monikers, according to official figures released yesterday.

That's become a problem for many with the name, playing havoc with school enrolments, residency registration, bank accounts, mail delivery and health insurance.

"Names are a civil right, and formerly were just a way of calling people, but overlapping names have now become a serious social problem in China," the Youth Daily newspaper said in a commentary.

Authorities have implored parents to choose less common names, but insist that names be drawn only from a list of standard Chinese characters.

While many Chinese characters in pinyin are homonyms - appearing the same but with different meanings - "Jie" is specially popular for its connotations of purity or cleanliness.

Purely in terms of surnames, Zhang comes out on top among Shanghainese, with almost 900,000 occurances, according to data culled from identity card registrations.

Wang and Chen follow closely as second and third. - AP

Tags: ChenJie, ChernJie,

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