Posted on September 14, 2005

Chinese City Bans Foreign-Sounding Names

Christopher Bodeen, AP, Sept. 13

SHANGHAI, China — Farewell, “Aladdin Gardens.” “White House Mini District” — you’re history.

The southwestern Chinese city of Kunming is forcing developers to change the names of those properties and others deemed too foreign sounding, saying they debase traditional culture, officials said Tuesday.

At least nine developments in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, have changed their names since officials began implementing new guidelines last month. “Paris of the East Plaza,” “French Gardens,” and “Ginza Office Tower,” were among others making the change.

“It’s not proper to name those communities with so many weird foreign titles,” said an official with the Kunming Urban Planning Bureau, who like many Chinese bureaucrats would only be identified by his surname, Xiao.

“We feel obligated to keep our local characteristics,” he said.