Traditionally, the father's family name is the first choice for a
Chinese kid's surname, although the use of the mother's name is not
But babies could soon have a surname combining the parents' family
So, if a father's family name is Zhou, and the mother, Zhu, the baby
could have four options for the surname: Zhou, Zhu, Zhouzhu or Zhuzhou.
A regulation on name registration drafted by the Ministry of Public
Security (MPS) allows a baby to have the combined surname.
The ministry said it had distributed the draft to police departments
across the country for comments.
The Marriage Law stipulates that a newborn can have the surname of
either the father or the mother, but does not mention a combined surname.
A nationwide survey released by the MPS in April shows that about 85
percent of the Chinese share only 100 surnames, with Wang being the most
There are 93 million Wangs in China, followed closely by 92 million
with the family name Li and 88 million called Zhang.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has reported that at least 100,000
people share the name of "Wang Tao", making it the most popular.
Such names cause great trouble in daily life; and the new regulation
can vastly reduce name
repetition , said a household registration officer with
the Beijing public security bureau.
Du Ruofu, a researcher on Chinese surnames who retired from the Chinese
Academy of Sciences, said combined surnames are becoming popular with
young, modern couples, though they are not strictly permitted by law.
He said including the mother's surname also shows gender equality and a
clear stipulation would promote the trend.
Seven of the 10 people China Daily randomly surveyed said they welcome
such a change, with the rest against it.