Friday, March 17, 2006

Cultural Revolution No Longer Popular

Chinese parents might be getting some help naming their children. More and more, they've been digging up rare given names to set their kids apart. But identity cards are now electronic, and these rare characters can no longer be accommodated.

Bao Suixian, a deputy director at the ministry, said: “We cannot handwrite rare characters on the cards like we did before.” About 60 million of China’s 1.3 billion people have at least one rare character in their name, making it difficult for them to open a bank account or to buy an aircraft ticket.

The fashion for unusual names is understandable in a society emerging from decades of revolutionary fervour when many children were called “Leap Forward”, “Cultural Revolution”, “Safeguard the Red” or — possibly the most popular — “Found the Nation”. [Link]

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