Re: Chinese forced to change their name hanzi

From: Andrew West (
Date: Tue Apr 21 2009 - 16:05:17 CDT

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    2009/4/21 Benjamin M Scarborough <>:
    > Andrew West wrote:
    >> The character in question is actually 𩧢
    > I'm afraid I must disagree with you! If you'll look more closely at the
    > image included in the article, you'll find that the hanzi in Ms. Ma's
    > name uses the simplified form of the horse radical (马) rather than the
    > traditional form (馬).

    Yes, my mistake, I didn't check the original article but only looked
    at the Wikipedia article, because I remember seeing that the
    three-horse character in Ma Cheng's name was proposed for illustrating
    a "Did you know?" hook recently.

    > The character in Ms. Ma's name is NOT currently included in Unicode! In
    > fact, it is not present in Extension C (which JTC 1/SC 2/WG 2 has
    > already appended to ISO 10646), nor is it present in the most recent
    > review versions of CJK_D or CJK_URGENT (as seen on the IRG's document
    > register).
    > With a character like this not supported by Unicode (and thus, not by
    > GB 18030), it's easy to see why it would raise a fuss.
    > Now the real question is: does this give the character enough usage to
    > be added to Unicode?

    Yes, there is already strong precedent from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong
    and Macau for encoding single-use personal name ideographs.

    And if you look at China's list of Urgent Need Characters
    <> you will see that
    it comprises entirely of simplified forms of rare traditional form
    characters that are "used for Given Name in the ID system of the
    Ministry of Public Security of China". Clearly China is already
    addressing issues such as those faced by Ma Cheng, and presumably
    sometime in the future her character will come up for encoding.

    My personal opinion is that all remaining missing simplified forms of
    existing simplifiable traditional form characters should simply be
    encoded en masse without need for attestation, and that in furure any
    simplifiable traditional form characters that are proposed for
    encoding should be encoded as simplified/traditional pairs. Of course,
    with hindsight it would have been better to use a better mechanism for
    representing simplified characters, but as it stands I think the only
    option is to consistently encode all simplifiable characters twice.


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