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Shan (simplified Chinese: 单; traditional Chinese: 單; pinyin: Shàn) is a Chinese surname. The origin of this surname is not clear. One explanation is that it came from Shan County in Shandong province. Another possible origin involves King Cheng of Zhou's youngest son's acquisition of the name when he was given what would become the Shan state when the enfeoffment system was enacted during the Zhou Dynasty. The Shan state existed for a few hundred years before it was annexed by a stronger neighbouring state. It was located in present day Jiyuan, Henan province. Although the surname comes from the place name, the Shan family was a branch of the royal family of the Zhou Dynasty. Its ancient origin determines its rareness and not many people have the Shan surname. According to one unverifiable estimate, about 150,000 people are of the surname.
Some ethnic peoples adopted "Shan" as their surname but its pronunciation is mostly "Chan". Some Manchu and Hui people choose "Shan" as their family name, but their population is small. Majority of the Shan are Han Chinese and they can trace their origin to the Zhou Dynasty.
Notable people with the surname Shan
- Shan Jing (單經), a general under the warlord Gongsun Zan during the late Eastern Han Dynasty.
- Shan Xiongxin (單雄信; 581-621), a general of the Transition from Sui to Tang period.
- Shan Tinggui (單廷珪), a fictional character and one of the 108 heroes in the classical novel Water Margin.
- Shan Zhongsheng (單仲升), who lived in the Yuan Dynasty. He is known for his filial piety.
- Pal Sinn (單立文, Shan Liyou; born 1959), a Hong Kong singer and actor.
- Shan Tianfang (單田芳; born 1935), a pingshu performer.
- Sin Chung-kai (單仲偕, Shan Zhongkai; born 1960), a Hong Kong politician.
- Sin Wai-chu (單慧珠; Shan Huizhu), a Hong Kong film director.
- Shan Zhiqiang (單之薔), former editor-in-chief of National Geographic in China.
- Paul Shan Kuo-hsi (單國璽, Shan Guoxi; 1923-2012), a Taiwanese bishop.
- Shan Fuliang (單富良), a history professor at the Grand Valley State University and former President of the Chinese Historians in the United States (CHUS).
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