As I have brought up on this site before, one of the things I most appreciate about the language is the amount of creativity speakers have due to the lack of a regulating body. Another issue that has never ceased to amaze me is the fact that other countries do not allow you to name your child anything you wish; instead, it has to be approved by an authorizing office before it can become official. But perhaps that could have saved a messy situation in China:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/world/asia/21china.html

In short, in order to provide a certain sense of individuality in a country and culture where common overlap to the tune of hundreds of thousands, parents have been giving their children non-traditional that require uncommon characters. The only problem arises is that now the is looking to implement a computerized system to read ID’s, which as the capability of reading only 32,252 characters…which is but 60% of the total! This comes along with the simplification of the system for characters.

It sounds like a shame and a loss of means of expression, which may also bring about the problem parents have been working to avoid: too many names overlapping. But as China continues to make strides into the global economy and become more relevant to Western countries, this may actually work to everyone’s favor, as removing unnecessary and obscure characters will make the (still formidable) bridge that much smaller…

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