Saturday, April 25, 2009

Technobureaucracy Reshaping Chinese Names

Names have long been effected by governments. The Norman census of England, the Doomsday Book, help to enforce the requirement of last names among British upper class. A unified naming system helped the Normans better tax and govern the various lands under their control.

Today bureaucratic regimes continue to effect naming conventions. The police-state bureaucracy of the People's Republic of China is requiring a changing of names for many Chinese. Some Chinese characters cannot be read by the current technology and therefore many identification cards must be made by hand. This has put a burden on the system which the government no longer desires.

This and other efforts by the People's Republic of China is creating yet another divide in the Chinese cultural sphere. In the People's Republic Simplified Chinese is used while Traditional Chinese is found in the established Chinese communities of the Republic of China, South Asia, and the United States. However, new emigrants leaving the People's Republic are slowly infusing simplified characters into traditional expat communities. The changing of names may eventually have impact elsewhere but for a while, the Chinese community outside the mainland will continue to be separated more and more from the cultural changes on the mainland.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Try opening your mind and learn Chinese, not your Manifest Destiny.

Catholicgauze said...

Anon,
I was not having a closed mind. In your strong Chinese nationalism you saw an assault that was not there. What has offended you in this article?

/Although I know you probably won't respond, it is still interesting to see PRC-ultranationalist bands comb the internet for fights.

Darren said...

You did say "police-state bureaucracy." That might get a few folks riled if they didn't bother to read the link.

Catholicgauze said...

Darren,
Good point.