Oddly Enough

China to banish 'bizarre' foreign names for residential compounds

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will seek to root out geographic names that are foreign and “bizarre”, especially for residential compounds, state media quoted the civil affairs minister as saying on Tuesday.

Minister Li Liguo said China will “stem irregularities in naming the country’s roads, bridges, buildings, and residential compounds, targeting arbitrary uses of foreign and bizarre names”, Xinhua news agency said.

“Certain types of names will be targeted, including names that damage sovereignty and national dignity, names that violate the socialist core values and conventional morality and names that induce the most public complaints,” it paraphrased Li as saying.

As China has modernized and opened further to the outside world, such foreign names have become popular, especially for upscale residential compounds, as a way of showing the people who live there are international and sophisticated.

Capital city Beijing, for example, is home to apartment and villas compounds named Palm Springs, Park Avenue, Beijing Riviera and Beijing Yosemite.

Xinhua said such names were the result of “chaotic name changing practices”.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie