Wednesday, February 15, 2006

No More Party Girls at the Orphanage

An orphanage in Dalian, in China's Liaoning Province, is abolishing a policy requiring that all boys bear the surname "Guo" ("Country," in English) and all girls the name "Dang" ("Party").

[T]he orphanage decided to change when they found the surnames might attach labels to the orphans. The kids might feel inferior to others for their special identities and revoking the rule might help them integrate themselves into the society more easily, according to the orphanage. [Link]
A second Chinese orphanage will start handing out a different surname each year, chosen from a book of 100 common names. This year it's "Li," next year it's "Wang."

This sort of thing once happened in Cuba as well. Orphaned boys at the Casa de Beneficencia were given the name "Valdes," and girls the name "Rodríguez." A contributor to CubaGenWeb says that "Around the 1950's, according to what my grandmother used to tell me, the custom of using the last name Valdes was discontinued by the Beneficencia in favor of picking a surname at random from the telephone book."

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