Thursday, February 9, 2012

China: Banning Names That Identify Orphans

Hmmm, I thought China had done this a couple of years ago, but China Daily reports a new rule that bans names that identify a child as an orphan:
China plans to forbid orphanages from giving children names that may prove discriminatory against them later in life.

Names to be banned would include those with a political connotation and those that reflect the place or nature in which the child becomes orphaned or abandoned, said an official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs this week.

"We don't want children who grow up in orphanages to carry labels that imply they are different from those who have parents," said Chen Lunan, children's welfare deputy director at the department of social welfare and charity promotion.

He added that the ministry is amending regulations on the management of child welfare institutions to ensure that only the 100 most common Chinese surnames are used for naming children. The new rules are expected to come into effect later this year, he said.


Amy said...

My child's name means "Earthquake Defiance" (Kang Zhen) because he was brought to the orphanage on the day of the big earthquake in 2008. (Surname is Fu.) Whenever we said his name to people (who were Chinese) in China, they laughed. I have assumed since then that this name is not one that a child in China would typically be given, and I wondered what would have happened if he'd grown up in China...

Anonymous said...

How interesting that even the Chinese government is trying to pretend or suppose that children growing up in an institution with out parents and extended family is "the same" as those with.

Reminds me of conversations on this board where adult adoptees rail against the presumption that adoption means "the same" as a family formed through birth.

Dawn said...

I think this has more to do with stigma of not having a family than "the same." My daughter's sir name is the name of her village which would stigmatize her as an orphan if she were still in China.
Now if she goes back she will have a very western last name to stigmatize her instead.

Anonymous said...


I'm puzzled as to why a Westernized last name would be considered a stigma?

She certainly would not and will not be alone in Asian women that carry a Western last name.

It will, IMOP, only be stigmatizing if she allows it to be. Its simply another part of who she is.

Anonymous said...

I find it very interesting that China claims to have very few NSN children in orphanage care any longer, yet THIS seems to be a future problem for the children left behind?
If there are so few children left, then why even consider the impact of naming them in a way that can identify them as orphans?
Not saying this is not a good thing...just saying, I find it odd that China would find a need for this unless there are a significant amount of children left to be raised in orphanages.

Anonymous said...

I believe that in the article the adimitted 100,000 children in over 900 orphanages. This not waht we've been led to believe over the years. We've been told that the orphanages are just about empty. Well I'm pretty sure that if the Chinese are saying that there are 100,000 kids then there are actually a lot more than that. Back to the ban on sir names that identify children as orphans - this is a good thing! My daughter was named after the town she was found in. Imagine that your last name was the name of a city or place.