Aug 162007

Last week I reported on the New Zealeand Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages refusing to allow a couple to name their child 4Real. Well, today Reuters brings us even more governmanent name shenanigans. This time from China-

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese couple tried to name their baby “@,” claiming the character used in e-mail addresses echoed their love for the child, an official trying to whip the national language into line said Thursday.

While “@” is familiar to Chinese e-mail users, they often use the English word “at” to sound it out — which with a drawn out “T” sounds something like “ai ta,” or “love him,” to Mandarin speakers.

Li told a news conference on the state of the language that the name was an extreme example of people’s increasingly adventurous approach to Chinese, as commercialization and the Internet break down conventions.

Another couple tried to give their child a name that rendered into English sounds like “King Osrina.”

Li did not say if officials accepted the “@” name. But earlier this year the government announced a ban on names using Arabic numerals, foreign languages and symbols that do not belong to Chinese minority languages.

“Most Favored Nation” or not, China’s never been known for granting its people many freedoms, but the frightening thing is how easily this sort of thing could slip into American law. The big stick the immigration advocates are waving these days is that we’re losing our “cultural identity”. Isn’t that the same reasoning the “evil communist” Chinese seem to be displaying when outlawing Arabic numerals, foreign languages and symbols from people’s names?

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