Tongzhi, ni jiao shenme mingzi?

The next time you’re annoyed at some seemingly inane mandate that has come down on high from your corporate IT department, consider the following.

The April 15th edition of the Economist reports that due to software deficiencies in mainland China, the police are banning the use of rare characters in people’s names because they cannot be correctly represented using their current software packages. People with such names have long had problems with everything from booking airline tickets to opening bank accounts, according to the article. This apparently became a particular problem with the introduction in 2004 of national ID cards with embedded microchips.

Bad news for the estimated tens of millions of Chinese citizens with rare characters in their names.

That old version of Mozilla you’re being forced to use doesn’t look quite so bad now, eh?


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