Chinese Surname Ying not in Chinese Character Set

Chinese character Ying, used in names, is not part of the standard Chinese character set. This would be a huge issue in China. Ying has a second, rising tone, or Ying2

Chinese character Ying, used in names, is not part of the standard Chinese character set. This would be a huge issue in China. Ying has a second, rising tone, or Ying2

Silly me I thought that the standard Chinese character set was, well, standard. In reality it is not inclusive to all Chinese characters. Friend David tipped me off to this article.

The Economist journo Zhang Ying wrote that her given name “Ying” had given her trouble in China. This character is not part of the Chinese character set for Ubuntu, nor can I find it online at MDBG.net

Ying means “the lustre of jade” and has a component “王”, which indicates my generation within my clan. Changing it to make filling out forms easier would seem like a triumph of bureaucracy over humanity.

Chinese character Ying, used in names, is not part of the standard Chinese character set. I did find it in an older printed dictionary, second from the bottom. On top is the cao, or  grass radical, above a roof. To the left is the wang, or King radical. At the bottom is the jade radical. Photo by Don Tai

Chinese character Ying, used in names, is not part of the standard Chinese character set. I did find it in an older printed dictionary, second from the bottom. On top is the cao, or grass radical, above a roof. To the left is the wang, or King radical. At the bottom is the jade radical. Photo by Don Tai

This Chinese character, Ying2, is similar in pronunciation (ying, with a rising tone) but lacks the left side character for king. Its definition is “luster of gems; bright, lustrous”, close but not quite. The main radical for this Ying character is cao , or grass, and not yu4 , or jade, which is not as suitable for the meaning. There must be precedence rules for the cao character.

Having your name excluded from the standard Chinese character set would have a huge impact on your life in China. Bank accounts, ID, passports, all would be affected. This would complicate living in security conscious China.

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