China: Satirical site warns citizens over name choices

Richard Harris in character as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films Image copyright AFP

A satirical website has poked fun at the Chinese practice of choosing alternative English names, in a report urging citizens to think carefully before making their decision.

The site, which is done in the style of the state-owned CCTV website, warns people against picking a name that could cause offence, or simply make no sense at all. Many Chinese people prefer to use an English name, particularly if they conduct business with the West. But the satirical site suggests people should avoid fictional characters, names with the potential for sexual innuendo, or random words like Dragon, Fish or Lawyer, which could come back and haunt you "if you want a call back from that serious law firm in America".

An English name should "come with a 'feeling' or idea about what sort of person you are, and where you come from", so names such as Satan or Dumbledore are out, the website says. Women are told to think carefully about "food" names such as Candy, Lolly or Sugar, which might be seen as "stripper names". There's also a lengthy warning about names with sexual connotations, especially when used in conjunction with Dong or Wang, which "are used as slang for male genitalia... so avoid anything like 'Bunny Wang' at all times," the website says. Instead, a "traditional" name like Elizabeth, Catherine, William or George is considered a good choice. "Pick one of these if you're looking for a 'safe' English name, often with implications of wealth," the website advises.

Correction 9 December 2014: An earlier version of this story said the post came from an official CCTV news website. The post was actually from a satirical news site.

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.

Related Topics