China intends to get rid of foreign, bizarre geographical names


China intends to get rid of geographic names that are foreign and “bizarre“. The civil affairs ministry targets in particular residential compounds, but also country’s roads, bridges, shopping centers and  office buildings.

For foreigners, it may be an excellent news, as we may end up with English name matching the Chinese pronunciation: it will be a lot easier to tell where you want to go to a taxi driver… For example, for the Central Park compound, located in the CBD, the Chinese name is 新城国际 (pronounce Xīnchéng guójì and translated by Metro International… nothing to do with the current English name).

Targeted names: 

  • names that damage sovereignty and national dignity,
  • names that violate the socialist core values and conventional morality. Foreign names have become popular, especially for upscale residential compounds, even becoming a sales argument for Real Estate agents (a sophisticated English name referring to a premium location abroad is a way to show off: Manhattan, Venice, Chateau Lafitte, Fontainebleau… ). In 
  • names that induce the most public complaints.

The intention of the government is also to preserve China’s cultural heritage: China’s history is rich enough to find geographical places names. 

There is a but: the law is not new, but was first introduced 20 years ago, back in 1996, when ministry introduced a set of guidelines forbidding the use of westernised names for residential areas or buildings in China… Some buildings followed the guideline, such as XANADU residential compound in Beijing or the Z15 office tower under construction in Beijing CBD.


Get ready to update your Beijing map!



Chateau defeat? | New China initiative targets “foreign and bizarre” names

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I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!