Netizens find China’s alleged ban of celebs using English names excessive

Will Angelababy change her name back to Yang Ying? (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Will Angelababy change her name back to Yang Ying? (PHOTO: AP/Ng Han Guan) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Chinese screenwriter Wang Hailin claimed on his Weibo on Thursday (1 September) that, under the request of the Chinese National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), Chinese artistes are not allowed to use names in foreign languages. This includes names that look foreign.

He explained, “Yang Ying can no longer use Angelababy, and La Mu Yang Zi (which looks like a Japanese name) has to use her Chinese name.”

Although the claim has not been verified, Chinese influencer-turned-actress La Mu Yang Zi’s Weibo post on Thursday seemed to indirectly confirm the news.

She announced that she will be reverting to her birth name Li Jiaqi. She told her fans, “If you find my name difficult to remember, just call me by my nickname Xiao La.”

However, the alleged ban did not sit well with the Chinese netizens.

Some of them questioned if the Chinese state-owned broadcaster CCTV will change its logo, which is made up of English characters. Others felt that it was an “overkill” and mocked that they might as well cancel English classes and ban English songs and international films.

In response to the heated discussion, Wang added that this isn’t a new rule. Since 20 years ago, the NRTA had already requested that drama subtitles cannot have English names. For instance, “Cindy” has to be modified to the Chinese equivalent “Xin Di”.

Apparently, the supposed ban of using English names is not just limited to the media industry.

Last year, some netizens pointed out that a new subway train line in Beijing has changed the naming of the stations. Instead of calling it “XX Station”, they have used “XX Zhan”, which is the pronunciation of “station” in Chinese.

The Beijing Subway had replied then that they started changing some of the station names according to the requirements of China’s Geographical Names Regulations and the Hanyu Pinyin scheme.

Wang has been known for being overly critical towards the Chinese entertainment culture. He has previously called out stars like Xiao Zhan, Dilireba, Cai Xu Kun, and Lu Han. Although some supported his views and understood his concerns, many were offended by his extreme remarks.

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