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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Shanghai muddle over popular name
A man waits to board a crowded Shanghai train
Officials get confused between people with the same name
If you are trying to track down someone named Chen Jie in Shanghai, you may need a little extra help.

According to official statistics, it is the city's most popular name and is currently shared by 3,937 people.

It combines a common surname - Chen - with a popular character - Jie - which means clean or pure.

According to residents, the prevalence of the name is leading to confusion with school registrations and bank accounts.

One Chen Jie told the Shanghai Daily that she kept getting another woman's letters.

"Every time I have to pass the letters to her, and her office is two floors up," she said.

The second most popular name in the city was Zhang Min, shared by 3,751 people.

Zhang is Shanghai's most common surname - almost 900,000 people are Zhangs - and Min is another popular character, meaning swift and smart

The Youth Daily newspaper said overlapping names were becoming "a serious social problem".

But while the government wants parents to choose more unusual names, they are limited to those on a list of standard Chinese characters.

The findings by a national identity body also included other impressive statistics.

Over 1.5 million people in the capital, Beijing, have the surname Wang, the Shanghai Daily reported.

China has more than 700 family names, but the vast majority of people use one of the most popular 20 names.


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