Monday, October 23, 2006

Chinese bloggers must sign their names, Ministry of Information demands

The Chinese government's Internet Society of China, the "consulting" arm of the Ministry of Information, has recommended that Chinese bloggers be required to register their blogs in their real names, Reuters reported.

Apparently, all those anonymous Chinese bloggers are saying things the Chinese government doesn't like.

"A real name system will be an unavoidable choice if China wants to standardize and develop its blog industry," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the Internet Society's secretary general, Huang Chengqing, as saying.

"We suggest, in a recent report submitted to the ministry, that a real name system be implemented in China's blog industry," Huang said.

WTF is a "blog industry"? Are there millions of Chinese adults and children hunched over in sweatshops, churning out blogs for mere pennies per day?

Bloggers anonymously disseminating untrue information on the Internet brought about a negative influence on society, the Xinhua report said.

Just like its namesake in George Orwell's novel 1984, the Ministry of Information's sole job seems to be to suppress information.

Has the Ministry itself gone high-tech yet? They better be using some pretty sophisticated computers, to keep up with the 1,313,973,713 people living in China as of July, 2006, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Then again, with half the population having just one of nine surnames, and 90% of the population having one of only fifty surnames, they're likely to have a lot of bogeys on their watch list. How do they keep up with them all?

Fifty percent of the Chinese population is surnamed Chen (Chan), Lin, Huang (Hwang, Hwong), Li (Lee), Zhang (Chang), Wu (U, O, Oh), Wang (Wong), Cai (Tsai) or Liu.

Complicate matters with the fact that Chinese parents, just like their counterparts in the United States and elswhere, tend to give their children trendy first names, so that everyone ends up with the Asian equivalent of Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Emily, Emma and Madison (2005's top three names of newborn boys and girls in the USA).

Here is the order of frequency of the most common characters chosen for Chinese first names:

1. Wen (culture, writing)
2. Zhi (will, intention; emotions)
3. Yi (cheerful)
4. Ya (elegant)
5. Ming (bright)
6. Hui (smart, wise)
7. Hong (great, wide)

Sources:
Chinese names
American names


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