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Computer program finds 10 most common Chinese names
4/10/2006 11:17

If your name is "Liu Bo", "Li Gang","Li Hai" or "Zhang Yong" then - according to a computer program - you have one of the ten most common Chinese names.
An article about the top ten, first published by Youth Digest magazine, was carried by many Chinese Website including More than 450,000 netizens clicked on the article.
The other most common names in China are "Wang Jun", "Wang Yong", "Zhang Wei", "Liu Wei", "Wang Wei" and "Li Wei", said the article.
But it seems that all the names are men's names.
The article said the findings come from a computer program developed by Lu Liang, deputy president of BlogChina Website.
"We worked with real names registered by netizens at BlogChina, " Lu said.
"Our findings show that many Chinese have the same names, and the bottleneck has become more pronounced in recent years," Lu said.
But he admitted that the results were only partial.
Having the same name as other people is an annoying fact of life for many people in China, causing lots of problems in household registration and daily life.
A girl named "Wang Jianping" working in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, has the same name as three boys in her office.
"Sometimes, the boys take my personal mail, even letters sent by my boy friend," Wang said.
In ancient China, people seldom had the same name, because they often had three second names, and the number of Chinese characters regularly used for naming was 3,000, far more than the 500 used these days, said Wang Haohua, secretary general of the Association of Chinese Name Culture Research.
China's huge population is another obvious factor in the same name problem, Wang added.
China has experienced four historical periods in which there were many identical names.
At the beginning of the founding of new China in 1949, Chinese people often chose a second name like "Jianguo", meaning founding of the country, and "Jiefang", meaning liberation.
During the "Cultural Revolution" from 1966 to 1976, many Chinese opted for the name "Hongwei", meaning red guards, or "Yuejin", meaning leap forward. Some even used the name "Wenge", meaning cultural revolution, to show their political beliefs, Wang said.
When the tumultuous ten years of the Cultural Revolution came to an end and the country entered the period of reform and opening up in 1978, Chinese people reverted to one-character second names, revealing a yearning for a simple and peaceful life, said Wang.
He said that in the last ten years, superstitions have influenced the choice of names. Many parents listen to fortune-tellers before they name their children, which leads to a lot of duplication.
To avoid giving their children names that are too common, some parents opt for rare and difficult characters. But this practice also creates problems, because computer input systems often do not recognize rare characters.
Beijing media report that a local citizen wanted to change his name to "@", but this was refused by the registration office at the local police station.
According to the public security department, more than 40,000 people in Beijing are unable to get their identity cards because the rare characters in their names cannot be keyed into the computer.

 Xinhua news