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100,000 share the name Wang Tao
Latest Updated by 2006-08-07 11:00:03

THERE are 4,100 family names for some 1.3 billion people in China, of which 94 percent use one of the 300 major family names, such as Li, Zhang or Wang, according to a two-year national name survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"The problem is getting worse and shows no signs of abating," Wang Daliang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was quoted by the China Daily as saying.

According to his analysis, the most frequently used name in China is Wang Tao, with about 100,000 people bearing the name, including a table tennis world champion, the first female academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a variety of football stars, calligraphers and musicians.

This gives rise to confusion in many aspects of daily life, such as when using insurance, making deposits, and even making phone calls.

Some 7.4 percent of Chinese people are surnamed "Li," making it the most popular family name in China, according to a survey released by China's National Natural Science Foundation in January.

Following "Li," "Wang" and "Zhang" are the second and third most common surnames in China, accounting for 7.2 and 6.8 percent of the total population respectively, the survey said.

The survey, conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a Shenzhen-based company named Dinchang, has investigated about 1,110 counties and cities covering nearly 296 million people with 4,100 surnames.

China is the earliest country in the world to use family names from around 5,000 years ago. Surnames in China are passed down through paternity.

Two decades ago, the academy first published a list of Chinese family names, which also found the three most common surnames to be Li, Zhang and Wang.

Editor: Wing

By: Source:China View website
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