Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese)/Archive 12

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Support for additional distinction between China/Taiwan

  • Pure honestly, pls. do not ridicule*

Hello, I am Chinese, and when I was growing up, I thought that Taiwan (ROC) wanted to declare independence from China (PRC) because Taiwan wasn't internationally recognized as "China" after it lost the Chinese civil war, and that Taiwan didn't want to become "Communist" after China threatened to take over. So, Taiwan cut off her nose to spite her face by declaring Taiwan (ROC) as not part of "China," essentially backing out of her claims to China so that China will somehow feel hurt by Taiwan (ROC)'s decision to become more isolated from "China"/China (PRC)'s legitimate claims to Taiwan island (geographic). I never knew that Taiwanese separtists wanted to be independent from PRC and ROC!!! I thought ROC herself wanted to be independent from China and China (PRC).... which is was so difficult since I always equate Taiwan = ROC, so why would ROC want to declare independence from China if ROC claimed all of China for herself? That was the confusing part, but now I get it... It's better to say that PRC is Communist China and ROC is Nationalsit China, and Taiwanese separtist want to declare independence from Communist & Nationalist Chinas, because I thought all along that only PRC was the bad guy, but even Taiwanese separtist don't want to be under Nationalist China control.... So further distinction is neccessary! (talk) 07:44, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

I think this issue is outside the scope of Wikipedia. The names we already use all have precedents and are largely not contentious. The names "Republic of China" and "Republic of China (Taiwan)" are used because that's what the formal name is, not because Wikipedia endorses some political position or ideology. While some ROC nationals and laws still claim control over China, using "Nationalist China" and "Communist China" to refer to ROC / PRC post-1949 is non-neutral or even inaccurate in most contexts. wctaiwan (talk) 08:41, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry but this isn't true at all. Our article on North Korea isn't called "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" our article on Myanmar is not called Myanmar. Even our article on France is called France and not the Republic of France or the French Fifth Republic. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 10:21, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Um, I think you misunderstood my comment. I'm not saying we shouldn't call China and Taiwan by those names where appropriate, I'm saying that when a distinction needs to be made politically, the current guidelines as detailed on the project page are more suited than what he is proposing here. (Unless that is a misunderstanding on my part, in which case please tell me on my talk page—I'd rather not hijack the section here.) wctaiwan (talk) 10:47, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you're right. But I do think it is within scope of Wikipedia to use different names to the current ones to refer to the PRC and ROC. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 17:31, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Request for Comment related to the naming of China-related articles

There is a Request for Comment at Talk:China#Primary topic of China which is related to previous discussions held on this page. If you wish to participate in the discussion please do so on that page and not this one.

Is the People's Republic of China the primary topic of "China"?

-Metal.lunchbox (talk) 20:31, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Place names

A banner atop the place names section says the section's designation as a guideline is disputed, but I couldn't find any relevant discussion in the archives, so I thought I'd start some. The section reads:

Mainland China place names should be in Hanyu Pinyin. Place names in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and overseas (such as Singapore) should be romanized in whatever way is commonly used for those places. Same goes for non-Han Chinese place names. So use Hohhot, Kashgar, and Shigatse, not Huhehaote, Kashi and Rikaze. (呼和浩特、喀什、日喀则)

Why should mainland China place names (alone) be in pinyin? If it's because pinyin is official there, pinyin is also official in the other places listed. And what does "romanized in whatever way is commonly used for those places" mean? What if the official romanization of a locale is different than the spelling by which the place name was introduced into English? Why the distinction between "Han Chinese" and "non-Han Chinese" place names? If a place that is inhabited by non-Han people is commonly known in English by a transliterated Han name, then why not use that common name? I see little consistent reasoning behind these guidelines, and with its disputed status, they ought to be removed without compelling reason or consensus. Quigley (talk) 05:00, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

The examples of exceptions are good. How about 'use pinyin for place names unless another form is established in English'? (There are also times we give local forms, and pinyin would be inappropriate for that as well.) Other examples are Hong Kong, Macau, Shaanxi, Canton (possibly), Amoy, Inner Mongolia, Tibet. — kwami (talk) 05:14, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
That's a much better and simpler guideline. I've replaced the disputed text with your principle. Quigley (talk) 05:55, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I think there is a strong tendency to err on the side of using Hanyu Pinyin for places in the mainland China that are not in minority autonomous areas, and a strong tendency to choose a common name on a case-by-case basis otherwise. Note that the recently-adopted Tibetan naming conventions specify that places in the PRC can be titled by their Tibetan or Chinese names depending on which is more common in English sources.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 21:01, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
The biggest problem I see with that deals with places which are not significant enough to have any established English-language transliteration. So while Urumqi and Hohhot might be established names for those cities in English literature, lesser-known places like "Kundulun District" of Baotou or "Hexigten Banner" of Chifeng do not have established "English-language names". These places must have consistent naming conventions to avoid one being in pinyin and another being in Mongolian transliteration (which ironically is the case here). Even their own governments have struggled with romanizing their name based on pinyin or based on Mongolian, so if you go to these places the romanization is almost always a mess. Colipon+(Talk) 21:50, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
What if we go with the minority language is areas where it's official? — kwami (talk) 23:31, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't see the problem with having inconsistencies in the way that Colipon describes. Quigley (talk) 19:19, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Kwami. Unless there is a serious case to be made for having its name in Chinese pinyin, all place names whose origins are not from the Chinese language should be transliterated according to their native language - this avoid internally inconsistent names such as "Huolin Gol" or "Erlian Hot" (which according to Mongolian transliteration should be "Holingol" and "Erenhot", respectively). I also think the same should apply to people; for example, I would argue that Wu'er Kaixi should actually be named Orkesh Dolet. This seems to be the case with minority politicians in China, such as Ismail Amat and Radi etc. The inconsistency is not a huge problem per se, but it is a little bit sloppy. Colipon+(Talk) 23:26, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Reliable English-language sources call Wu'er Kaixi by that name, not Orkesh Dolet. There are also minority places whose inhabitants prefer the Chinese pinyin name, such as Kangding. The Tibetan naming conventions say, "For PRC political officials and appointees, the spelling of an individual's name in official media can be considered an example of that person's preferences for spelling his or her own name." I would extend this to most notable people in the PRC and not just politicians. Quigley (talk) 23:43, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if Kangding is a good example, to be honest. Kangding is merely the Chinese name of a city, not the Chinese transliteration of a non-Chinese langauge name. In this regard, Hohhot's "Chinese name" is Guisui, Urumqi's "Chinese name" is Dihua, etc. But anyhow, I agree that for officials we should just go off of Xinhua; this also works pretty well with place names, actually. Xinhua has always used Kashgar, Hohhot, and Urumqi, when referring to those places, and has a similar policy of other ethnic minority places. Colipon+(Talk) 23:54, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Quigley, perhaps the example you were looking for is "Baotou", which is clearly not a Chinese-language name but official and English-language sources uniformly use the pinyin spelling Baotou over the Mongolian spelling "Bugat". Colipon+(Talk) 00:12, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Good idea. I've incorporated your advice into the section. Quigley (talk) 00:48, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
An interesting example is the recently-ex-governor of the TAR, Qiangba Puncog; as the naming convention says, "this spelling apparently combines his Tibetan name, Qamba Püncog, with his Chinese name, Xiàngbā Píngcuò". No standard other than case-by-case would produce "Qiangba Puncog".—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 04:56, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Along the same lines, Xilinhot, which combines the pinyin "Xi-lin" with the Mongolian "Hot". For some time there was also usage of "Erlian hot", which was subsequently standardized to "Erenhot". Colipon+(Talk) 11:39, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

If only for interest's sake, here's a real mess of romanization found on the "official" English site of the Xilin Gol League: [1]. Colipon+(Talk) 11:42, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Colipon, I think you are a bit mistaken about Xilinhot. The transliteration looks pretty much like straight from Mongolian to me, and perfectly consistent with Alxa, Xar Moron, Hexigten etc.
Re. the main topic of the discussion, certainly there are some standards in place that are used by, e.g, cartographers, and place names like Shaanxi or Golmud or Sonid Youqi are not made up at the whims of a mapmaker or some wp editor? Yaan (talk) 21:19, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Yaan, you may be right. Mongolian transliteration is quite a mess when it comes to Inner Mongolian cities. But it's the same in Xinjiang, somewhat uniform in Tibet (luckily there is no such problem with the Zhuang). The problem, again, is just inconsistency. I like Wikipedia's "common name" policy, but what if the name itself is just not common in the English language? For example, why is Plain Blue Banner not "Zhenglan Banner", and Kundulun District spelt using pinyin? All the more confusing is that Chinese train tickets use pinyin for all transliterations, which can be totally confusing for the traveller who is trying to look up, say, "Kashi" or "Wulumuqi" on WP. And then, what about cities in Heilongjiang who derive their names from Manchu? Harbin and Qiqihar seem to be pinyin-Manchu combinations, but why are Jiamusi and Yichun "pure" pinyin? Colipon+(Talk) 00:21, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't really think it is so hard to look up Wulumuqi. Stuff like Kalgan or Pailingmiao used to difficult to figure out, but with the help of redirects this is all no big problem anymore. Also I don't think some inconsistency between romanizations is such a big problem, as long as wp is consistent with romanizations that are used in atlases or by geographists. I see that Plain Blue Banner (which is hypothetical, the article has been moved to Zhenglan in 2010) might be a bit borderline. But then, we translate '旗' just like we do with '区' or '县' and sometimes '市', we also translate '右翼中旗', and I don't really see the justification for not just translating the rest of the name as well. Yaan (talk) 20:17, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Proposal to emend the zh template

That is, {{zh}}. Worth mentioning here where more people will see it since it appears on so many pages.

First, a proposal to correct the current semicolon use that makes simplified, traditional, and pinyin look like separate languages.


The Khitan people (Chinese: 契丹; pinyin: Qìdān; Persian: ختن, Khitan)... [current]
The Red River (Vietnamese: Sông Hồng; Chinese: 红河; pinyin: Hóng Hé)...
The Khitan people (Chinese: 契丹, pinyin: Qìdān; Persian: ختن, Khitan)... [proposed]
The Red River (Vietnamese: Sông Hồng; Chinese: 红河, pinyin: Hóng Hé)...

Second, a further proposal to shorten the current glut of space used by the template on the model of the Russian transliteration links.


Lü Buwei (simplified Chinese: 吕不韦; traditional Chinese: 呂不韋; pinyin: Lǚ Bùwéi; Wade–Giles: Lü Pu-wei, 291?–235 BCE)...
quis nostrud (simplified Chinese: 成语; traditional Chinese: 成語; pinyin: chéngyǔ; Wade–Giles: ch'ung-yu; literally "set phrases")...
"Garden of Stories" (traditional Chinese: 說苑; simplified Chinese: 说苑; pinyin: Shuōyuàn)...
Ruins of Yin (殷墟, pinyin: Yīnxū)...
Lü Buwei (Chinese: s 吕不韦, t 呂不韋, p Lǚ Bùwéi, w Lü Pu-wei; 291? – 235 BCE)...
quis nostrud (Chinese: s 成语, t 成語, p chéngyǔ, w ch'ung-yu, lit. "set phrases")...
"Garden of Stories" (t 說苑, s 说苑, p Shuōyuàn)...
Ruins of Yin (殷墟, p Yīnxū)...

Discuss there, obv. — LlywelynII 10:44, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Requested move for China

Don't know why this wasn't listed here before, but a requested move has been submitted to make the following changes to article titles:

There's a subsequent move for Category:People's Republic of China to Category:China (but no coordinate request for Category:China). (talk) 05:27, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Using the name "China" instead of the "People's Republic of China"

The purpose of this guide to naming conventions is to help editors write with confidence and to help those who use different language resolve conflicts. Since the move of the article at People's Republic of China to China there has been uncertainty about when one should use which term. This naming convention offers some help but I think we need to offer some more concrete advice, as we do with ROC, Taiwan and related terms. It is common practice among nearly all English language sources to use the term "China" to refer to the country now officially known as the People's Republic of China. Even here on wikipedia where doing so has been moderately taboo, it is common practice because it is policy to reflect common English language usage here on English Wikipedia. I would like to propose that we give our editors clear permission to do so, but advise them to use term "People's Republic of China" when there is potential ambiguity and when specifically referring to the government since 1949. Using "People's Republic of China" or "PRC" all the time may seem more precise but it is actually confusing in contexts in which such exact naming is not required. I think we should give them these guidelines and advise them that it is up to their discretion, whichever term best suits the context, as both are often used interchangeably. Do we agree on these principles? If so I can propose language to use. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 05:33, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Seems sensible. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 14:09, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Please clearly define the situations where "potential ambiguity" could occur, though. Quigley (talk) 23:56, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree that we need something more specific, perhaps guidelines with concrete examples added in, such as "When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949". In addition to "potential ambiguity" I would also add "potential inaccuracy" (which is really the case when referring to the government, or the political entity in external relations contexts). I think we should work on a draft first, before we can agree on it.--Jiang (talk) 03:44, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
A draft would be useful. I'd suggest for a start that we use the full title in at least the first instance for mentions of China in the years 1949-1971. I assume we are trying to reexamine the Political NPOV section on this page? Chipmunkdavis (talk) 04:09, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it is the "Political NPOV" section, which I tagged as under discussion. Quigley (talk) 04:18, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

That latest addition, saying not to use China and Taiwan next to each other in political contexts, should probably be discussed. While I see the reasoning behind it, that's what sources usually do. Just as an example, there was an interesting article in the International Herald Tribune a few days ago that discussed Kinmen, which described its controlling power as Taiwan. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 06:58, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

The guideline should acknowledge that Taiwan is a synonym or shorthand for Republic of China, and is not just an island. In a way, it already does this, by allowing the use of "Taiwan (Republic of China)" as a variant of "Republic of China (Taiwan)". Therefore, a construction like "Kinmen, Taiwan" should be allowed. Quigley (talk) 07:11, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
That just confuses things. In the contexts of politics where both the PRC and the ROC are being discussed, the acronyms should be preferred. Nightw 11:54, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Because the term "Republic of China" is not familiar to most readers, contrasting "Taiwan" and "(mainland) China" is more effective. This is the standard English practice used in all nature of publications, from US newspapers, to ROC President Ma. I do not think it is productive to prohibit editors from using those terms. I do not however think that "Taiwan" should be used in all cases. In cases where we are definitely not talking about the island of Taiwan we would be better off using "Republic of China", as in the case of "Kinmen, Republic of China". Although I would avoid that formulation altogether by talking about "Kinmen, one of the islands administered by the Republic of China (Taiwan)," but that's all dependent on the context. There are other cases involving history where the terms, China and Taiwan may be somewhat ambiguous and the official names should be used. Say we are talking about Taiwan in and around 1945 for instance. Chipmunkdavis also mentions China 1949-1971 as an example of a situation in which there may be ambiguity.
Perhaps we can start by just making a list of points or guidelines which we appear to be generally in agreement upon, or that we have a good chance of building agreement upon. Let's try to err on the side of inclusiveness in the beginning and then try to make something logical and coherent out of it. Because Taiwan/ROC has such an extensive explanation already, It seems best that we stick to CHina/PRC right now. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 18:41, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
It is better that we address the Taiwan/ROC issue now, because the existing extensive guidelines are based on a rigid set of ideas that the community rejected in the China move. Quoting from the first three sentences in the "Political NPOV" section: "Text should treat the Republic of China as a sovereign state with equal status with the People's Republic of China. Text should not take a position on whether they are considered separate nations. Text should not imply that Taiwan is either a part of China or not a part of China." People quoted this text to justify some pretty extreme and absurd positions, such as that the PRC cannot be called "China". In particular, this part has become contradictory and nonsensical in the wake of the move ("treat the Republic of China as a sovereign state with equal status"... "should not imply that Taiwan is either a part of China or not a part of China"). The meaning of "China" must be clarified here. Quigley (talk) 19:04, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Things which seem to need to be settled: When do we recommend using PRC instead of "China"?, When discussing diplomatic relations between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China is acceptable/preferable to contrast "China" and "Taiwan" instead of the long official names? Is it okay, after all, to imply that Taiwan is or is not part of China, depending on context?
I'd say that our naming convention should avoid using the word "imply" as much as possible. Its just to easy to make nonsense arguments about what a statement does or does not imply in a given context. It seems more useful to stick to the facts that are without controversy than to worry about implications. For instance the NC should give a very simple over-view of the political status of Taiwan and just tell the editors to stick to those facts as closely as possible. "The island of Taiwan and several nearby islands are wholely controlled by the Republic of China although the PRC claims sovereignty over those territories and considers Taiwan a break-away province." We should probably not tell editors how to write about topics related to those facts but simply point them to WP:NPOV as this topic does not require special language. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 22:29, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I strongly agree with avoiding "imply", and with using a less authoritarian approach to the guidelines. Here are the principles I favor: use "PRC" instead of "China" only in diplomatic contexts between 1949 and 1971, when the ROC is clearly making a claim to represent all of China. It is acceptable to contrast "China" and "Taiwan" in diplomatic contexts after that, but not necessarily preferred. (Maybe we should have something like MOS:RETAIN to prevent lame revert wars) The idea behind avoiding both "implying that Taiwan is or [implying that Taiwan] is not part of China" is confusing and impossible, because of the multiple meanings of "imply", "Taiwan", "is", "part of", and "China". That language should be removed entirely. Quigley (talk) 23:39, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like we're on the same page. I definitely think we need to include a statement paraphrasing MOS:RETAIN, we do not mandate the consistent use of either term and editors should be discouraged from arbitrarily switching them as a matter of stye. It sound's like we've got a few principles around which we can start to draft a new version of the NC. I'd like to see some more specfic examples of cases we can show where one term is preferred over the other and examples where either is just fine. I'd like to propose that any geographic language should favor "China" not the "PRC", for example "Huangshan is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China." not "eastern People's Republic of China" or some similar formulation. It's obvious but it's a case where one term should clearly be preferred over the other and I don't expect we'll be arguing over it. We also need to state directly that in the Naming convention that in many contexts either term could be used and that editors should use their discretion and favor the term preferred by reliable sources when in doubt.
The article also currently says that we should avoid "Chinese president" or "citizens of Taiwan", that when discussing politics we have to use the official names. Do we still agree with that? do we want to adjust it slightly, say the opposite? keep it exactly the way it is? We should also mention the term "mainland China", that it should in contexts where contrast with Taiwan or the SARS is needed, and that editors should avoid "the mainland" at least where "mainland China" has not already been used in proximity above. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 00:44, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Agree on the points about Huangshan and citizens of Taiwan. (talk) 14:19, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd agree with Nightw. 'People's Republic of China' or its acronym should be used whenever there's a possibility of ambiguity. Taiwan should be avoided in contexts irrelevant with geography (i.e. the island) or the province, as it would create ambiguities around Quemoy, Wuchiu, the Matsu Islands, the Pratas, and Itu Aba. (talk) 14:19, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
"should be discouraged from arbitrarily switching them as a matter of style" is why the chart was made for usage of Taiwan/ROC. Too many partisans unnecessarily moving articles back and forth or find-and-replace in text.
re "citizens of Taiwan" - I do think there is a fine distinction here that ROC should be used. Depending on the precision necessary for the article, a "resident of Taiwan" might live on an island other than Taiwan, but a citizen is always of the ROC.
mainland China should only be used in contrast with Taiwan or the SARs. Its usage should be rare outside of an article predominantly on TW/HK/MO subject matters.
"in cases where there is ambiguity" + "with the Republic of China" ...
SchmuckyTheCat (talk)

The year 1971 is a rather arbitrary date. Just because membership in the UN changed did not mean that usage of the term "China" changed overnight. We should not be prescribing 1971 as a cut-off point. Just look at the number of recently published books still using the term. The guidelines should be based on avoiding ambiguity and inaccuracy, not geopolitics.--Jiang (talk) 03:27, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Maybe 1971 is too late of a date, but it was the decisive turning point, and the best arbitrary date possible. Guidelines like these are "best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply". Using China as a shorthand for PRC is not "ambiguous" or "inaccurate". Using China as an ambiguous referent to both the PRC and ROC after 1971, however, is an inaccuracy perpetuated by "geopolitics". Quigley (talk) 03:46, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I doubt any date would be sufficient, and prescribing one should be avoided, but why not name 1991 or 2000 as the cut-off dates? I see sources referring to both the PRC and ROC as "China" into the early 2000s, and not all in the historical context. If we're going to use "China" to refer to the PRC after 1971, then are we going to use "China" to refer to the ROC before the year 1971?--Jiang (talk) 03:53, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Why not 1979, when Washington recognised Beijing and broke off ties with Taipei, or 1996, when the presidency was elected chiefly by the Taiwanese electorate? (talk) 14:19, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Draft guidelines for "China" and "People's Republic of China"

These are collectively edited, don't bother to sign them. Try to propose language that will be supported by consensus.
  • In many cases "China" can be used to refer to the modern nation-state officially known as the "People's Republic of China".
  • When discussing politics or diplomatic relations, it may be necessary to use the full official name "People's Republic of China". This may be necessary to avoid confusion with the Republic of China if it may have been referred to as "China" at the time or place being discussed. For instance "the PRC replaced the Republic of China as China's representative in the United Nations in 1971." and "The establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949..." and "The People's Republic of China objected to the Vatican inviting diplomats from the Republic of China to represent 'China' at the funeral of the pope."
  • When mentioning official documents, institutions, or positions, it may be preferable to use the full official name "People's Republic of China". For example, "The Constitution of the People's Republic of China...". However, subsequent mentions in the same article may use the adjectival form "Chinese". For example, "Chinese premier Wen Jiabao".
  • In cases where there is ambiguity (we need to explain this ambiguity), use the more specific "People's Republic of China"
  • When discussing geography, those places within the territorial control of the People's Republic of China should generally be said to be in "China". For example, "Zhongguancun has become a major centre of electronics in China", "... a novelist from Chengdu, China".
  • The term "mainland China" refers to the People's Republic of China when contrasting with the islands of the Republic of China. The term also usually excludes Hong Kong and Macau. Because of the ambiguity of the term, it should only be used when a contrast is needed and when a simpler construction such as "China, except Hong Kong" is unworkable. For example, "Lo Wu is the most heavily trafficked border crossing between Hong Kong and mainland China," "Due to the relocation of many manufacturing and labor-intensive industries to mainland China, unemployment in Taiwan reached a level not seen since the 1973 oil crisis."
  • Consistency of language across all articles is not a requirement of Wikipedia. It is also not necessary that a single article use one term consistently over the other. Where "China," or "People's Republic of China" is used it should not be changed arbitrarily. In many contexts the terms can be used interchangeably. Which one is used in such contexts is largely a matter of editorial style. In cases where either "China" or the "People's Republic of China" both seem appropriate editors should use their own discretion.
  • Use of the term "PRC" should generally be avoided as the initialism isn't commonly known in the English speaking world, and isn't generally used by reliable sources. Either China or People's Republic of China should be used instead as appropriate.
I don't think the official name is that much less familiar than the short name in the case of China, but in principle these all sound good. I'm trying to think of an ambiguous situation, and outside of a text which needs to distinguish it from previous dynasties (regiemes?) of China, I can't really think of any. As for the retention, I'm not sure that's the best idea. Changes would be useful in many areas. I would change it to say something along the lines of "The use of "China" or "People's Republic of China" in existing articles should not be changed without good reason. In case of a dispute, discuss the issue at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese)."
I've altered the statement above about retention, I think it better reflects what we've been discussing. I'm also trying to think of good examples of ambiguity. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 04:28, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
How about government officials and government agencies, should we leave that to editor preference and context or should we encourage/discourage one of the options? "Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China"? what about "Chinese premier Wen Jiabao"? I think both of those are fine, should we address this even? The only one I have a strong opinion about is the "Constitution of the People's Republic of China". It just seems like that can't be just "China", at least not on first mention. I do not know how to formulate this into a general guideline. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 05:21, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure why this would need to be addressed. It sounds just like any other country. We would say "American Secretary of State" or "President of France". But we would never say "Constitution of America" because a constitution defines the state in a way that leadership positions do not. I think common sense will suffice. Readin (talk) 06:20, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know, the accepted use should be "United States Secretary of State" for general use, or "Secretary of State of the United States of America" for more formal use. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 06:49, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
On Wikipedia we should avoid, e.g., 'former Chinese premier Hua Guofeng' or 'former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai', since that's ambiguous. That was a time when the ROC was widely recognised as China, and Chen Cheng, Yen Chia Kan and Chiang Ching Kuo were the 'Chinese premiers' instead. 'Former Chinese premier Li Peng' or even Zhu Rongji are potentially ambiguous, too, to readers who are not familiar with the subject matter. Anyhow, it always correct to go more formal and say 'premier of the PRC'. (talk) 14:29, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Disagree with point #1 'In many cases "China" can be used to refer to the modern nation-state officially known as the "People's Republic of China".'. (talk) 14:19, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

The example of 1949 and the date of 1971 both seem to be motivated by the fact that at certain times and places, the Republic of China that had moved to Taiwan was still called "China" either because, as in 1949, they had been China or because, as in the years just prior to 1971, certain countries found it diplomatically useful to maintain the fiction that the ROC was still China. I think it makes sense to point out this reasoning. Whenever the time and place being described was such that the ROC was being called simply "China" which could lead to confusion about what is meant by "China", then the PRC's full name should be used. This might even apply to some situations today such as when an ROC visits the Vatican as the representative of "China". Readin (talk) 06:06, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think we should say that "Red China" and "Communist China" are "pejoratives". They are simply descriptive terms that once accurately applied but no longer do. A "pejoratives" is a "term of abuse". The only reason "Red China" and "Communist China" have a negative connotation is that they referred to a negative situation. They are no more deliberately insulting than "Communist Party", "Cultural Revolution" or "Chairman Mao". Let's just say that PRC is the preferred term. There may be some places where "Communist China" actually works better than PRC, but "Red China" can probably be replaced everywhere by "Communist China" or PRC. Readin (talk) 06:14, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Right. This is good, I feel like we're starting to get somewhere. I'd only like to add to the above that "Communist China" might be rare not only because it is now conventional to use the unqualified "China" but because it describes the country as "Communist" as label which is not particularly accurate, at least debatable. "PRC" however is still plenty accurate. There may be cases where one could use "communist China" to contrast with today's "capitalist China" but then it would be better to use description instead because the labels are problematic. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 06:53, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the mention of "Red China" or "Communist China" is even necessary. It's self-explanatory that we don't use these terms here.--Jiang (talk) 17:42, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

I think the suggestion "When in doubt use the term preferred by the source(s)." is problematic. Wikipedia has its own set of naming conventions and manuals of style. If there is no preference here, we usually stay silent. Sources are inconsistent, and each article should (presumably) use multiple sources. This suggestion is different from the guideline to "use discretion" in the last bullet which requires some thought and logic on the part of the Wikipedia editor, rather than blindly following what language outside sources are using.

I am not sure how the construction "China (excluding Hong Kong)" (such as in "China's (excluding Hong Kong) imports from ASEAN will reach US$35.5 billion in 2005") will ever make sense. Almost never will an economic statistic exclude Hong Kong but include Taiwan and Macau. Most economic statistics exclude Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, but this is far from self-explanatory, especially for those less familiar with the topic. Geographic statistics are even murkier. The guideline should be, where it is not clear from context, specify if the topic pertains to "Mainland China only". I also think that it is safe to assume that the term "Mainland China" excludes Hong Kong and Macau: [2] --Jiang (talk) 10:52, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes, Mainland China excludes Hong Kong and Macau. I should note here that we shouldn't try to define things which are common sense, like Jiang said. We should provide guidance on that which is unclear, not that which general guidelines cover perfectly adequately. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 14:44, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with these two statements above, the part about siding with the sources has been removed, general guidelines adress this and simply saying that its up to their discretion in cases whether either term would appear to fit seems adequate. I think there are quite a few demographic and economic statistics which exclude the SARS and in those cases "mainland China" should probably be used. I think the draft guideline as it is written now pretty much says this. Is there anything else on this topic which is potentially unclear and not addressed by the above draft guidelines? - Metal lunchbox (talk) 17:41, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
No, we do not need to use "mainland China" when discussing statistics and etc. It is generally understood that many states have dependencies, colonies, SARs, breakaway provinces, et al. It's a very easy mindset to define China by its externalities (HK/MO/TW), because of their prominence, but it isn't something done in any other state case. We never define a parent state by the exonym. Mainland China is the primary parent state known as China, not a jurisdiction among equals. If, because of precision, it is necessary to show whether a statistic refers to the mainland only then it should be done via explanatory text or footnote where the term "mainland China". In most cases, such precision isn't necessary in the primary prose because the reader isn't looking for it (and doesn't need the precision). The reader interested in following up can, but it would be confusing to use this term unnecessarily. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Right. "Mainland China" is not a natural term in English, and when used in articles not explicitly about cross-Strait relations, it unnecessarily emphasizes irrelevant political issues. The uniqueness of the SARs, Taiwan, etc. is implicit. Quigley (talk) 21:27, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Agree, when its important for the reader to know that a statistic excludes HK, Macau and/or Taiwan then that should be briefly explained instead relying on the term "mainland China". It seems conventional in English however to use "mainland China" when contrast is needed with Taiwan and/or HK like the examples given. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 22:52, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
These look generally sensible. However I would like to minimise usage of PRC unless it's necessary for brevity where "China" would clearly not be appropriate. I don't think it's a well known term. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 14:02, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
Are you saying editors should try to use the full "People's Republic of China" instead of "PRC" where practical? "PRC" without the expanded form nearby risks being quite confusing for the uninitiated so. Might be common sense but we're so accustomed to use "PRC" amongst ourselves that we can forget that it's not a term familiar to most people. I agree with Eraserhead1 above if I've understood properly his suggestion. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 23:02, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
Well use "People's Republic of China" or "China" ideally. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 06:56, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd doubt if 'Mainland China' has ever been an exonym. It has been in used well before 1949 or 1945 within the mainland. More importantly, for those unfamiliar with the subject matter, they wouldn't be able to tell readily that the figures don't cover the former colonies and the so-called 'breakaway province'. The case here isn't quite comparable with that of other sovereign states, since dependencies and territories of all those countries are far less prominent economically. And beyond economics it isn't uncommon to see, e.g., Denmark with a footnote to tell that Greenland and the Faroes are excluded, given the enormous size of Greenland comparing to that of Denmark in northern Europe. (talk) 14:19, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

I've been following this discussion and can't see anything wrong with the above, though it mostly comes under 'use common sense'. On the acronym 'PRC' though the right thing is to follow the policy at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations, which is also common English usage, which says it should be given in full first time but can be abbreviated afterwards. Exceptions are given for acronyms that are commonly known (that page lists some) but that doesn't apply to PRC which is not that widely known, with "China" being the common name of the country.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 23:34, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Most of it does fall under 'use common sense' and following other guidelines, but we should be quite clear in recommending usage. The political motives of some editors, and much more importantly, the perceived political motives of other editors means that we need clear guidelines. Naturally we need to walk a line between giving editors something clear they can reference when deciding on usage in a given context and being too prescriptive or pedantic. I think we've accomplished that above. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 02:48, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
I've removed PRC from the guideline. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 07:07, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
I disagree that PRC is not used by reliable sources. see [3] and they all refer to the same thing, unlike a similar search for "ROC". PRC is very commonly used in academia. And when speaking of the legal field, moreso than "China". --Jiang (talk) 07:26, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
It may well be used in the legal field and in academia, however for the 99% of the audience which isn't in those fields (or is in American property law or something) they aren't going to know what it means. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 07:33, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Then the guideline should be to introduce the acronym before using it. That is, "People's Republic of China (PRC)" should appear somewhere before PRC. Likewise, we shouldn't have a guideline saying DEET should be called "insect repellent" or NASA should be called "the US space agency" (yes, this might not be known outside the US). I see no point in avoiding it as long as it's not obscure or ambiguous. If we wanted to avoid PRC entirely, we would have the same argument for avoiding People's Republic of China entirely.--Jiang (talk) 07:46, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I have a bottle of insert repellent and it says "Deet" on it - and there are other non-DEET based insect repellants. With Nasa the BBC seems to use Nasa widely with 23,000 hits. Whereas PRC only gets 515 hits, quite a few of which (aside from the first one) appear to refer to the Palestinian organisation, or various other organisations with the initials PRC. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 08:06, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
My point being that 99% of our audience doesn't know what DEET means and that doesn't mean we shouldn't use it. As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia should look to not only news articles, but academic journals and published books. In fact, I would say (given our space to define terms on the spot) we are closer to scholarly sources than mass media. I strongly disagree that we should avoid the term PRC. I think it is okay to use it as long as it is clear from the context what we mean by it. We should avoid jargon, but this is not jargon - the term is used by multiple academic fields - anyone with an interest in China would know its meaning. --Jiang (talk) 17:53, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Anyone who has ever attempted to buy insect repellent is going to very rapidly find out what DEET is. Additionally there is no particularly good alternative form to use instead. With regards to PRC, it doesn't even appear to be used that consistently to refer to China by news media sources and there is a perfectly good alternative term to use instead - China.
If we look at the relevant guideline - WP:TECHNICAL "Strive to make each part of every article as accessible as possible to the widest audience of readers who are likely to be interested in that material." - we can still use "People's Republic of China" to start with as appropriate before dropping back to a non-technical term that the widest possible audience understands. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:57, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thinking some more can we split the difference on this and compromise between our positions? Mainly I want to use China if its clear to do so, but there are cases where it isn't and probably then using PRC would be reasonable for second and subsequent uses. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 22:25, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

I think using "China" as short form for "People's Republic of China" would be covered by the first bullet point. I think we should only have an explicit guideline using a particular acronym if it is so obscure that we will leave readers wondering if we made it up on the spot. "PRC" is way too commonly seen to fall under this category, and I think if it were obscure we would not need to mention it in the first place, since avoiding it should be covered by another general Wikipedia-wide guideline. Can we live with both PRC and China as being acceptable short forms of People's Republic of China? My understanding is that in writing these guidelines, we are striving mainly to give clearer (more detailed guidance) to editors instead of making a major change in usage policy, and what is already in place now will essentially remain in place in the future.--Jiang (talk) 15:15, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Can we agree to disagree on the acronym? I see your point about making major changes, and I agree with you that preventing PRC from being used would be a major change. Feel free to make changes to the proposed guidelines above to fit your argument - unless anyone else cares/objects. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:04, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I think its probably too prescriptive to tell people to use "PRC" or not. We already have a guideline for acronyms and initialisms which applies to this topic, cited above. Since there is a common initialism (PRC) but that accronym is not nearly as familiar as the expanded form (People's Republic of China) or the common name (China), common sense says we should probably use the expanded form or the common name in place of the initialism, but there are plenty of times an editor might want to use "PRC", such as when it is part of a very long title. We should quote them the following: "Always consider whether an abbreviation may be better simply written out in full, thus avoiding potential confusion for those not familiar with it. Remember that Wikipedia does not have the same space constraints as paper." and point them to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations and let them use their own discretion, maybe mentioning that PRC unlike "NASA" of "BBC" is not likely to be familiar to the reader. In this way we are only describing how existing guidelines might apply instead of attempting to carve out something more specific. if we can't agree to that then I'd say we should keep it very simple, just mentioning that "PRC" is an initialism for People's Republic of China but it's not likely to be familiar to the average reader, without us giving any further instructions. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 01:15, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think unfamiliarity will be a problem if the guideline states to introduce the acronym "People's Republic of China (PRC)" before using it elsewhere in the same article. The same people who would be unfamiliar with PRC would not appreciate why we wrote People's Republic of China instead of China in the first place - that doesn't mean we wipe out all mentions of People's Republic of China. --Jiang (talk) 11:38, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
To be fair People's Republic of China is far better known than PRC. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:06, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
I've been bold and updated the guidelines excluding the final point about the PRC acronym. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 15:35, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Please avoid weasel words such as 'many' - 'In many cases "China" can be used to refer to the modern nation-state officially known as the "People's Republic of China".', and, indeed, in many cases the term 'China' is ambiguous. (talk) 15:44, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

And with all due respect, I've been bold and reinstate the conventions around the ROC and Taiwan, which are not covered at all by the new proposal. (talk) 16:00, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

With regards to the guidelines on Taiwan/ROC you are right - but there is some content in that section which basically refers to just the PRC which I have removed - if that content is useful it should have been in the main "China" section anyhow. I suppose for the first sentence we could go for "China can generally be used to refer to the modern nation-state officially known as the "People's Republic of China" - as that's what the vast majority of our sources do - I'm not sure how much we can compromise on this in a reasonable way - I'm not clear on where the use of the term China would be ambiguous in a modern context. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 16:21, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. Thanks again for doing away the overlapped and replaced part which I didn't noticed.
With regards to 'many' or 'generally', I guess it's generally okay for events from the early 1980s onwards. But there are still notable exceptions, e.g., the president of China at the Pope's funeral was the one from Taipei. As far as I remember South Africa, Saudi Arabia and South Korea had diplomatic ties with and recognised only Taipei way into the 1990s. And as at 2011 the Taipei government is still recognised by Paraguay as the government of China. Anyhow it's always less ambiguous and more neutral to say PRC than China for anything after 1949. This creates much less confusions to unfamiliar readers. (talk) 17:10, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
How in the world is referring to the PRC as 'China' NPOV when there is clearly two POVs on the definition of China? I mean hell, even the Irish did not dare overstep that boundary and kept the 'Ireland' article as an article on the island rather than the Irish Republic. Naming the PRC article as 'China' is one thing, but when you refer to the PRC as 'China', that's clearing pushing POV, and should be avoided and the term 'PRC' should be used instead. 'China' should be a term reserved for the civilisation or the peoples/region in general, it should never refer to a political state when there are two going by the name 'China'. (talk) 21:42, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Other comment

But in any case, a thought that I just had when I was in the shower was this: the problem is really more "prosaic jarring" that doesn't need to happen, and the problem is also more extensive than the "Han" problem above due to the Chinese states' recycling of past dynasties' names as state names. (What I mean by "prosaic jarring" is that the reader has to slow down and think about which of the states is being referred to; sure, context will tell which state is being referred to, but it will still take the reader some time to realize which state is being talked about.) I'm doing a bulleted list (I tried to do a table, but tables is not something I do well in Wiki coding) below of what I see as potential ambiguities, with the ones where I see the most problematic in bold — which tend to be the ones where there are no commonly accepted disambiguators (and I don't mean Wikipedia disambiguation; I mean disambiguation within the circle of historians; the ones with commonly accepted disambiguators are still listed, but are going to create far less prosaic issues since they would rarely, if ever, be referred to without the disambiguator) — that will create this "prosaic jarring" problem. I am listing all of the Chinese regimes that I can think of are either at least occasionally referred to as "Dynasties" in either English or Chinese (with the character 朝). I do not include as ambiguities the states with same romanizations.

--Nlu (talk) 20:52, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

With respect, moved to a new topic space since it was off-topic and pretty disruptive to the flow of votes.
I'm also not clear what you're aiming for. These descriptors – where they meet English Commonname – are already in use, aren't they? Were you recommending we stop using them? — LlywelynII 10:23, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you missed my point: my point is that the existence of these ambiguities is the reason why in Chinese — and, as I was arguing, English as well — "Dynasty" (朝, in Chinese) is part of the same proper noun as, e.g., "Tang" or "Han." "Tang Dynasty" is not the same contextually as "Tang dynasty" (which I still believe should not be used), just as "West Virginia" is not the same as "west Virginia." --Nlu (talk) 02:21, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Except it's nothing like that. There are different Tangs which are all dynasties. The actual parallel is that "Bill's House" is poor grammar for "Bill's house", unless he's opening a restaurant around back. — LlywelynII 12:56, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
And that's the point, isn't it? You may disagree with the point, but the point is that "Tang Dynasty" refers to a specific state/regime, just as "Bill's House" refers to a specific place, just as "San Jose Sharks" refers to a sports team while "San Jose sharks" would refer to (hypothetical) sharks that are in San Jose. --Nlu (talk) 16:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Deferentiate dynasties from Empires

For what it's worth, I'll throw in that dynasties are eras and families and empires are states and we shouldn't be conflating them as currently. — LlywelynII 10:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand the point of this assertion. In any case, I think that "Tang Dynasty," in current common usage, would clearly be evoking the image of the state rather than of the Li family. --Nlu (talk) 11:00, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I think "Tang Empire", in current common usage, clearly evokes the image of the state. The dynasty is the family and the era of their rule, but not the state apparatus itself in English or Chinese. — LlywelynII 12:52, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I can live with "Tang Empire" (as a replacement for "Tang Dynasty"), but that would be even less commonly used in scholastic sources. --Nlu (talk) 16:44, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
The suggestion that Chinese dynasties should be referred to as "kingdoms" (before the Qin) and "empires" (from the Qin onward) is logical, but it contradicts standard use. I have never seen a scholarly history of China that refers to premodern Chinese governments as "empires" and never as "dynasties". If you have such a book, please let me know what source(s) refer to Chinese governments this way.Ferox Seneca (talk) 07:33, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

On removing capitalization from "dynasty" in wiki titles

(moved from Wikipedia talk:History standards for China-related articles)

The "Dynasties" section of this guideline claims that the title of wikis on Chinese dynasties "should always be [[(Name of Dynasty) Dynasty]]." And indeed that's what we have right now: Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, etc. Wikipedia policy is very clear about capitalization:

Unlike "Empire," which is sometimes used as a proper noun, "dynasty" is a regular noun. I've never seen a single scholarly book that capitalized it, and non-China wikis usually do not capitalize it either: Capetian dynasty, Tudor dynasty, Hohenzollern dynasty, Romanov dynasty, Twenty-fourth dynasty of Egypt, etc. (There are exceptions, of course, but this shows that "dynasty," unlike "Empire," is treated as a common noun in many other titles.)

In summary: common usage in China articles shouldn't trump explicit naming policies. To respect Wikipedia policy (WP:TITLEFORMAT) and naming conventions (WP:CAPS) and to agree with reliable sources, which do not capitalize "dynasty," I propose we remove capitalization from the second word of Xia Dynasty, Shang Dynasty, etc., all the way to Qing Dynasty. A bot can then correct the text of each article. What do you think? Madalibi (talk) 03:52, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

SOunds sensible to me. Unless it would be technically difficult, China articles should be in line with other articles. ch (talk) 05:00, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Lower case seems correct. I don't think it matters that "dynasty" is not a proper noun. River isn't, and we have Hudson River, where both words together make a proper name, sort of. So, is "Qing dynasty" a proper name? I don't think so. I see overwhelming incidents of "Qing dynasty" at Google books and Google scholar. (This is where an English prof. comes and tells me I'm a dunce.) Anna Frodesiak (talk) 09:54, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support This does seem to be the common usage in works on Chinese history. Kanguole 23:19, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Also "Spring and Autumn period", "Warring States period" and "Northern and Southern dynasties", but "Three Kingdoms" and "Five Dynasties". Kanguole 23:50, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I support these changes (and non-changes) too, because they fall under the same logic as the usage of "dynasty." Madalibi (talk) 00:54, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Undecided -- I have always thought the 'Dynasty' capitalization was odd, and at variance with common usage (and indeed my own usage outside Wikipedia), but on the other hand "Tang Dynasty" and "Spring and Autumn Period" do seem to me be compound proper nouns, corresponding to proper nouns in Chinese (e.g. "唐代"), and so it does make sense to capitalize them. If the proposal goes though, then I agree that "Three Kingdoms" should be capitalized as it is always capitalized outside of Wikipedia, but then also "Sixteen Dynasties" would be correct as it refers to 16 specific dynasties, not just any old 16 dynasties. Following that argument though, then "Southern & Northern Dynasties" would be correct as it refers to a set of particular southern and northern dynasties, not just any old northern and southern dynasties; and the same also for "Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms". And if we're capitalizing those, then why not "Tang Dynasty" and "Spring and Autumn Period"? BabelStone (talk) 12:36, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I oppose any changes to existing guidelines which outline an exception in general to Chinese dynasties. When coupled with a proper name like Qing, I think it is customary to consider dynasty as part of the proper noun. There are sources that support such a notion, like [4] for example. I hope to have time to research this more, but initially I am in favor of leaving things as they are. My76Strat (talk) 04:37, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you very much for commenting! I note that the page you link to capitalizes "Dynasty," but it also capitalizes "About." The convention on that page is probably to capitalize everything in titles, and as such it may not be relevant to whether "dynasty" should be treated as a proper noun in "Han dynasty" and other such compounds. Here is a search for "Song dynasty" on Google Books. Apart from capitalized titles and subtitles, these books almost never capitalize "dynasty." (This is also the impression I got from years of reading monographs on Chinese history.) I quite agree that the status quo shouldn't be hastily modified, but I think my proposal is a good case in which Wikipolicy and usage outside Wikipedia agree well! Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 08:02, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Using the search you provided yields this example where you'll notice the preface iterates once, "a new unified dynasty called Song", where the small d is used. Then we see: "At the beginning of the Song Dynasty", where it sits in proximity as part of the proper noun, and it is capitalized. My only point is that I do see it both ways, and I'm not sure which way is more correct. My gut tells me the exception in the guideline you showed earlier was not a hap hazard inclusion, but one that was thoughtfully consented. Best regards -- My76Strat (talk) 09:52, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Even if WP:consensus can change, I agree that we shouldn't lightly revert guidelines that the community has thoughtfully agreed upon. I tried to find past discussions of this issue in relevant pages: Wikipedia talk:History standards for China-related articles (the talk page of the wiki where the rule appears), Wikipedia:China-related_topics_notice_board and all its archives, and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese) and its 12 archives, but couldn't find anything. I then searched the history of the page where the guideline about dynasties appears. It turns out that this guideline was added on 4 January 2004 by Ktsquare, one day after he created the page, and without apparent discussion.[5] Could it be that this old guideline simply reflected the way things were done at the time, and has been tacitly accepted but never discussed? If this is the case, I think the guideline is a bit arbitrary and deserves to be discussed again more thoughtfully. I wonder what you will think of my analysis. One good sign is that you and I seem to agree that the form "Song Dynasty" is rather exceptional outside Wikipedia. :) Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 04:44, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
That is very interesting. I thought it was the result of a discussion. Now I am thinking the sources outside scholarly publications may have been influenced by Wikipedia to some degree into presuming dynasty was treated as a proper noun. I do think a definitive stance should be taken, and if we are doing it wrong, we need to correct it expeditiously. I have two more areas I intend to research, and if they also concur with your conclusion, I would be fully convinced. For sure you have shown good reason to strongly consider the guideline is in error. Cheers -- My76Strat (talk) 05:26, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Great! We look forward to hearing more about what you find. I also posted a notice at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Use of Chinese language to attract more editors to our discussion. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 06:36, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - let the record show: I personally think that, for example, "Han dynasty" looks silly when compared to "Han Dynasty". However, the non-capitalization of "dynasty" is the definitely the general practice in reliable sources.  White Whirlwind  咨  21:43, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Han Dynasty" is, in both English and Chinese, a specific reference to a particular dynasty. "Han dynasty" would grammatically mean a dynasty that is of Han ethnicity. Similar situations, although not as glaring, applies to other dynasties as well. --Nlu (talk) 06:20, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm... This is a legitimate concern, but I don't see things in the same way. I agree that in a linguistic vacuum, a self-standing "Han dynasty" would be ambiguous in the way you say. But context makes its meaning clear. As an electronic keyword search shows, the text of Han Dynasty says either "the Han Dynasty" (29 times) or "the XYZ Han Dynasty" (where XYZ= "early," "Western," etc.). In all cases, the definite article "the" makes confusion impossible. Scholars writing in English have also been using "Han dynasty" without ambiguity since at least Yü Ying-shih's Trade and Expansion in Han China (1967) and Qu Tongzu's Han Social Structure (1972) – the two oldest books on the Han that I own – and up to the most recent work of scholars like Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Michael Nylan, and Mark Edward Lewis. I quickly checked about 20 books on the Han that I have at home and found not a single instance of "Han Dynasty" except in capitalized titles or subtitles. I conclude that confusion is extremely unlikely! In light of this, would you be willing to reconsider your position? :) Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 08:45, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
I still disagree. Right now, the only actual common English source that I have on hand is Mote (who didn't capitalize "d," for sure), but I still feel that we shouldn't intentionally introduce ambiguity and what I do consider poor style — not capitalizing part of a proper noun. (Obviously, I admit, those authors obviously didn't see it as poor style.) Certainly, I also write in an arena where some nouns that are not normally capitalized would be to signify that we're referring to the particular person/thing in this particular case. (E.g., the Defendant (referring to the defendant in this particular case) vs. the defendant (referring to a generic defendant), the Court (referring to the court in the particular case) vs. the court (referring to a generic court, or a court in another case), &c.) I do feel strongly that the "Han Dynasty" is a singular proper noun, because "the Han" (which, as far as I can see, Mote avoids using particularly because of the ambiguity with the Han people) is awkward usage even if, arguendo, not incorrect or ambiguous. Even where no such ambiguity exists or is minimal, I still feel that treating "dynasty" not as a part of the proper noun creates diction and context problems because it implies then it may be dropped. But also consider the following (and I'm using Han, perhaps argumentatively, but it's the most glaring example of why I consider it poor usage):

Cao Cao was a Han Dynasty official.

Cao Cao was a Han dynasty official.

Cao Cao was a Han official.

The first usage is unambiguous and clear as to that he was an official of "the Han Dynasty" (singular proper noun). The second usage introduces significant, albeit not fatal, ambiguity, because a reader may incorrectly parse "Han" and "dynasty official" separately and conclude that Cao was a "dynasty official" (no such title actually exists, but the capitalization creates a potential misreading). The third usage would be the most ambiguous.
Obviously, your mileage may differ. (And obviously, ambiguity can always happen. Baseball fans have been misparsing "Nippon Ham Fighters" for decades, for example.) --Nlu (talk) 13:11, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
 :) Thank you for your reply. The possible ambiguity you point out in the second sentence about Cao Cao is easily solved with proper hyphenation ("Han-dynasty official," per MOS:HYPHEN or Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., section 7.90). I don't think the potential for misreading "Han dynasty official" is very big anyway, since it's indeed unclear what "dynasty official" could mean on its own. In other words, "Han dynasty official" is easier to parse than, say, "small country singer" (from Malawi, or minor hillbilly vocalist?). As for "Han official" or "the Han," I agree they are ambiguous, but their ambiguity comes from "Han" itself and from the complete absence of the word dynasty (in any form), not from the way "dynasty" is spelled. I still haven't encountered any real ambiguity introduced by "dynasty," so we obviously have a different perception of this issue!
I also don't know how to make you change your mind about "Han Dynasty" being a proper noun. Maybe simply by agreeing with Kanguole (below) that "dynasty" is consistently used as a common noun in English-language scholarship on China. In fact, of the hundreds of English-language articles and books on China that I've read, I don't remember seeing a single one that capitalized "dynasty." Google Books has shown me that there are exceptions: English-language books published by mainland Chinese presses, and some museum catalogs on Chinese exhibits. But such publications don't seem representative of Western scholarly usage. I'm curious to see what you think! Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 16:54, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
But that depends on whether "dynasty" is part of the proper name in this case. It seems clear (e.g. from a Google books search for "Han dynasty") that most authors consider "Han" the proper name and "dynasty" a common noun that it qualifies: they write "Han dynasty", just as they would "Tang poetry" or "Qianlong emperor". To be sure the proper name "Han" has multiple meanings, but those authors manage to handle any ambiguity that arises. Kanguole 13:45, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: A casual survey of history books should convince anyone that not capitalizing "dynasty" is standard practice. Regarding the possible ambiguity of naming dynasties this way, I do not believe that any person reasonably familiar with what the Han dynasty actually was could possibly confuse the term "Han dynasty" to mean "a dynasty ruled by the Han ethnic group". The term "Han dynasty" is never used to refer to "a dynasty ruled by the Han ethnic group", and it isn't common knowledge in English-speaking countries what "the Han ethnic group" actually is (we mostly just call them "Chinese", even if that is technically ambiguous). It would take a highly unusual person to make this assumption.Ferox Seneca (talk) 22:22, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps, but the question is still: why create a potential ambiguity when one is easily avoided by capitalizing "D"? Sure, there are relatively easy ways to get around the ambiguity — but why create a problem that currently doesn't exist at all, even if the problem is minor?
I still opine that uncapitalizing "D" creates a problem (not a huge problem, for sure) that doesn't need to exist and doesn't eliminate any problems. It's a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. --Nlu (talk) 20:52, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not a solution to any problem. It's just bringing Wikipedia in line with current scholarly practice and existing guidelines. — LlywelynII 10:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with LlywelynII, here. Thank you for taking the time to specify where ambiguity might arise. Looking at this list, it seems to me that when two dynasties went by the same name, "the Liang Dynasty" will be as ambiguous as "the Liang dynasty." The confusion here doesn't come from improper capitalization: it comes from the name of the dynasty. Otherwise the brain makes an immediate distinction between "Former Tang dynasty" and "Tang dynasty" regardless of whether "dynasty" is capitalized. So I still can't think of a single real-life situation in which failure to capitalize "dynasty" would cause confusion. In the absence of a plausible source of confusion, I see no good reason *not* to use "dynasty" just as about all historians of China already do. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 13:04, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: I'm with WhiWhi exactly – uncapitalized looks silly, particularly as an article title and even more particularly given the way we conflate the dynasty (朝) with their empires (帝国). All the same, it's the current industry practice and general policy. Even if we were to vote the other way (which it doesn't look like we're doing), it would just be a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS that would only last until a persnickety admin noticed what we were up to. — LlywelynII 10:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    • If you think that decapitalizing "d" in "Dynasty" looks silly already, it will look even sillier when applied to categorizations. Such categories as "Tang dynasty empresses," "Tang dynasty Buddhists," and "Tang dynasty Jiedushi" will appear completely syntactically incoherent. The way that their corresponding Chinese categorizations are used in common Chinese contexts ("唐朝皇后," "唐朝佛教徒," and "唐朝節度使," respectively) support strongly, I think, my assertion (although I think it's hardly mine alone) that "Tang Dynasty" is a single proper noun and not to be contextually separated. Sure, we can arguably reduce the categories into "Tang empresses," "Tang Buddhists," and "Tang Jiedushi," but such a corresponding reduction in Chinese (into "唐皇后," "唐佛教徒," and "唐節度使," respectively) will look completely ridiculous. "唐朝" is thought of as a singular noun in Chinese. That calls for the same contextualization in English as well. --Nlu (talk) 11:23, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
      • (and I can be a persnickety admin, too, or at least a persnickety rouge admin...) --Nlu (talk) 12:32, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
If we only go by gut feeling about what looks silly, then I would say "Tang Dynasty empresses" looks very silly, "Tang dynasty empresses" looks slightly silly, and "Tang-dynasty empresses" is the correct form because "Tang-dynasty" is a compound modifier and therefore requires hyphenation. And honestly, I would even prefer "Tang empresses"! Take this search on Google Books:
  • "Qing dynasty empresses": 7 results], 4 of which refer to empresses of the Qing dynasty (the other three examples are from the structure "in the Qing dynasty, empresses..."); notably, 3 of these 4 instances are from Wikipedia, which seems like the only place where this form is used. Could it be that our eyes are so used to Wikipedia usage that we are losing sight of good English forms?
  • "Qing empresses": 79 results, including the entire field of Qing history.
So even if 清皇后 would sound silly in Chinese, "Qing empresses" is, with a single exception (an 1985 issue of China Reconstructs), the only English form used outside Wikipedia. We could therefore rename our current categories as "Tang Buddhists," "Tang empresses," and the like without fearing silliness. More important, this example shows convincingly that we shouldn't argue on the basis of Chinese usage here. Unlike Tangchao 唐朝 in Chinese, "Tang dynasty" in English is a separable compound in which "dynasty" is just a noun like any other. And indeed this is how the field of Chinese history has been treating it without having looked silly. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 04:00, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
This, unequivocally. — LlywelynII 13:05, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: All Chinese dynasties are proper nouns, because they are not named after ruling families, but is rather refers to a period in and of itself. The "Tang Dynasty" is not the dynasty of the Tang family, thus the analogy to the "Romanov dynasty" is incorrect. Colipon+(Talk) 01:16, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Hi Colipon, and thank you for commenting. Your point about Romanov dynasty is well taken. I agree that a parallel with "Romanov dynasty" is not a convincing reason to stop capitalizing "dynasty" in the name of Chinese imperial states. But I disagree when you say that "all Chinese dynasties are proper nouns." This is just a declaration of personal belief, and it is belied by usage outside Wikipedia. The overwhelming majority of Western historians of China use "Zhou dynasty" "Song dynasty," and the like. If these scholarly sources (which should be our reliable sources for such questions) do not treat "Qing dynasty" as a proper noun, then "Qing dynasty" is not a proper noun: "dynasty" should therefore not be capitalized. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 04:11, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I think there is a divide in the sources I looked at on whether they capitalize the "Dynasty". It would seem that this is a case where it is somewhere in between - you can use it with a capital letter, or without. But in titles it is generally safe to stick to the "capital first letter" convention, and use lowercase letters in the article itself. An above user mentions a really good point: this would make things look extremely awkward for compound titles: "Qing dynasty Empresses", for example. Colipon+(Talk) 07:05, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Empress in that compound title is used generically and should therefore not be capitalized (see WP:Job titles). The correct form should be either "Qing-dynasty empresses" (hyphenated because "Qing dynasty" is a compound modifier) or (as the search I cited above strongly suggests) simply "Qing empresses." I think "Qing Dynasty Empresses" looks very odd because it capitalizes two common nouns and omits the hyphen! For the prevalence of "dynasty" vs "Dynasty," see my comment in the next section. Madalibi (talk) 01:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Except that's not very well-taken. The dynastic names aren't the original family names. That makes them no less simple dynastic names. A western parallel – admittedly sans-naming taboo explanation – would be to the Windsor dynasty. — LlywelynII 13:05, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Further comment. Colipon's point I think is correct. The alleged common acceptance of "Tang dynasty" vs. "Tang Dynasty" is hardly as clear as the proponents of decapitalization indicate. Based on my eyeballing, this Google Scholar search seems to show that usage is about dead even. Your mileage may vary, and certainly my eyes may be biased. --Nlu (talk) 16:12, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
    • And I'll note that there appears to be a clear preference among Chinese scholars for capitalizing "D." While I would agree with a proposition that Chinese scholars shouldn't be given extra weight just because they are Chinese, nor should they be given less weight because they are Chinese. Remember the issues with systemic bias if you do. --Nlu (talk) 16:15, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that Chinese English-language publications tend to capitalize "Dynasties" and I did make a note of this above. After reading the first few pages of the Google Scholar search you posted (thank you for that, by the way), I noticed that more than half the texts cited were English abstracts to Chinese-language articles. These abstracts often omit spaces after punctuation marks, and most are riddled with grammatical mistakes ("The paper hold Tang Dynasty was an warm and mosit period in China history"; "The article grossly searches into the swordsmen-praising poe try in the Tang Dynasty"). I don't think we can reasonably use these documents to determine proper English usage. After all, we're talking about English linguistic usage, here, not the kind of content bias that WP:BIAS tries to address. It would also be ironic, in the name of countering bias, to follow a minority usage that contradicts the majority of English-language scholarly usage.
Speaking of which... I tried a little exercise at home: I looked at books that I own in six different fields of Chinese history – medical history, legal history, intellectual history, Qing history, Chinese religion, and Han or pre-Han history – until I could find how ten of them treated "dynasty" in compounds like "Ming dynasty." In all six groups, I found ten books that didn't capitalize "dynasty" before I could find a single one that did. (I hope you will trust in my integrity in performing this exercise, but I can of course cite all the books if you want me to.) So in my sample, the proportion is 60 to 0 in favor of decapitalizing. Even if we take Chinese scholars writing in English into account, we will still be very far from even!
In light of this evidence, I persist in my proposal. If we can't reach a consensus, then so be it, and this will be no tragedy, but I think the evidence strongly suggests we should change our usage. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 01:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Because the lexicon of a language is by definition a reflection of native speakers' use of their own language, the rules of "standard usage" cannot be based on examples produced by persons who are not native speakers of English. Because many of the results that show up on Google Scholar searches are poor translations into English, and/or are written by persons who are not native speakers of English, Google Scholar searches cannot support an interpretation of what constitutes standard usage of English.
Formal guidelines which support the lowercase use of "dynasty" include that of the US Library of Congress (page 7), which is followed by the library and academic systems in North America and Britain. Formal university guidelines also generally support the lower-case use of "dynasty" (page 1348). The most widely accepted formal guidelines for native English speakers whose occupation it is to study China support the lowercase form of the word "dynasty".Ferox Seneca (talk) 07:18, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
But this is not a translation issue: since Chinese has no upper or lower case as a nonalphabetical language, it is not Chinese lexical usage that got translated over. It's the Chinese conceptualization of "Tang Dynasty" or "Han Dynasty" as individual entities rather than as "Tang the dynasty" or "Han the dynasty." I think brushing aside the Chinese conceptualization of very Chinese subjects is wrong. Again, I'm not saying that Chinese conceptualization should trump all other considerations, but it deserves substantial deference. (At least, it shouldn't be brushed aside so arrogantly as claiming, in effect, "the Chinese don't know anything about proper English usage." That kind of a characterization is arrogant and calls for the same type of characterization as for, say, American English versus "the Queen's English.")
I do not believe the Library of Congress style guide is a particularly useful source to consult on this issue, either. The Library of Congress persisted in using Wade-Giles even after it had fallen into the minority in Taiwan (where it was artificially maintained for decades for political reasons) and had switched over to Pinyin only recently. I think that made its usage choices not particularly relevant, at best. --Nlu (talk) 04:23, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Hi Nlu. Dismissing Chinese authors' usage simply because they are Chinese would indeed be an odd move. I can't speak for Ferox Seneca, but what I was saying is that English-language abstracts to articles published in Chinese (or Japanese, or French, or Swedish) should not count when we try to consider what the best English usage should be. And I agree that Chinese history is a very Chinese subject, but whether we should capitalize "dynasty" doesn't seem related to the way Chinese people interpret the history. This is still a matter of linguistic usage, a matter in which, I would argue, Chinese authors do not deserve particular deference. In other words, I agree that English-language books and articles published in China should count in our considerations, but no more than any other piece of scholarship.
This discussion is starting to take a little too much time for what it's worth! How about we do this... 1) In Google Books (or Google Scholar) searches for "Han Dynasty," "Tang Dynasty," "Yuan Dynasty," and "Qing Dynasty" (or Zhou, Jin, Song, and Ming, whatever), we count how many works capitalize "dynasty" in these compounds. Excluding books compiled form Wikipedia articles and books or articles that have no excerpts (this means we ignore abstracts and book jackets), we pick the first 20 relevant results. If more than 60% of these 80 works on four different dynasties use "dynasty," then we switch to "dynasty" as I propose; if not, we stick to "Dynasty" as you propose. This way, we could conclude this discussion either way on the basis of tangible data. I volunteer to compile the results, with hyperlinks so that everyone can verify them. Would this be acceptable to you? Looking forward to your reaction. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 07:07, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect (and I'll say it is a rational proposal) I still believe it to be wrong for reasons that I have argued — the main one being that in the Chinese-speaking world, at least, "Tang Dynasty" is thought of as a discrete proper noun referring to the polity, rather than "Tang" as an adjective modifying "dynasty." In other words, the use of "dynasty" creates logical conundrums that defy common conceptualization of the terms. But if there is a clear consensus that this proposal makes sense, then consensus rules regardless of what I think. Let's see what other people think about this proposal. (I do not believe that there is clear consensus, but let's see if your proposal creates a new consensus or not.) --Nlu (talk) 17:03, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
All right, that's fine with me. Since I think most commentators have lost interest in our exchanges long time ago, I hope you won't mind if I contact them on their talk pages to ask them to comment on this solution, which I am putting in a new section for easier access. Since I assume those who originally supported the change will agree with me on this, I will concentrate on those who opposed or were undecided. My proposal will be for a search on Google Books, which has much fewer irrelevant results. Let's just see what they say. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 01:02, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Madalibi's proposal seems a reasonable method to determine the balance of usage in reliable English-language sources, which the naming policy says we should follow. Kanguole 00:30, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Republic of China requested move

Just a heads up. Discussion is here.--Tærkast (Discuss) 20:31, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

When does a Chinese family name cease to be Chinese?

Hello. I will have to state at the outset that I am a bit annoyed at the current practice of hanging Chinese characters onto the name of people born in the United States and who do not use the characters in their everyday life. That said, I am just wondering—

The current lead sentence of this page states:

Any encyclopedia entry with a title that is a Chinese proper name should include both the Chinese characters and the Hanyu Pinyin representation for their names in the first sentence. The article title itself is normally the pinyin representation with the tone marks omitted: "Mao Zedong", not "Máo Zédōng", unless another spelling is common . . .

For a person born in the United States, is his family name still a "Chinese proper name" even though the American law and practice is to treat everybody equally? Is (for example) Obama a Kenyan name and Roosevelt a "Dutch" family name? And why or why not? Thank you for your attention; I realize this may have been treated before, but I couldn't find previous posts when I did a search. I would really like to put a stop to the assumption that people with any given ancestry are automatically assigned non-English characters for their names in their Wikipedia articles, but I realize others mighr think differently. Sincerely GeorgeLouis (talk) 20:06, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

I think it would depend on the person and to what extent they use the Chinese character for the name. Can you provide some examples of where the Chinese name appears to be used inappropriately? Readin (talk) 22:21, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Chinese names of people in and of "Western" countries are not an equivalent of the English names. They are separately given. This situation cannot be compared with African or European names. Chinese names that get in to English Wikipedia cannot be "derived" from legal birth names (in other languages) by third parties. When Chinese-language books and newspapers (regardless of where) introduces a person of Chinese ancestry with only "foreign" legal names, they always sought out if the subject has a Chinese name either from him/herself or parents or grandparents. Once given, everybody sticks with such a name when using the Chinese language. This makes the names encyclopedic. All this may very well escape those outside of the Chinese-language world. And finally, this issue is outside the scope of "title that is a Chinese proper name". HkCaGu (talk) 00:32, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Well-known Americans often are known by other names in other countries. The fact that thier family name originated in that foreign land and is used in its original form in that land does not automatically make it worth noting. It's nice that the newspaper goes to the trouble of looking up the grandparents to find the historical character - but its not automatically notable. However if the person's Chinese name is especially important (compared to the foreign names they use when visiting other countries) then it might be worth noting. There has to be something that makes the Chinese name notable beyond its mere existence. Readin (talk) 01:18, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
So let me go from general to specific too--on the subject on Chinese Americans, whose presence and scale of economy mean they don't have to be in other countries to be known by "another" names. My earlier interaction with George is about politicians, who campaign using the Chinese language, fundraise out of state using the Chinese language, and intentionally supply their Chinese name to appropriate election authorities in the state and local levels, lest their name is translated by someone from English and in variance with their campaign materials. (Federal laws require translations of election materials in jurisdictions with those significant populations.)
San Francisco's Clipper card picked a distinct Chinese name, and Kevin Rudd and Jon Huntsman, Jr. picked their Chinese names, but these are just cases of "by the way" mentions somewhere down in the article. But for someone essentially born with that name and the legal English name may or may not be based on the Chinese name, I can't see where else to put it except at the very beginning. It looks natural that names that they didn't pick later in their lives (and that are as much their basic identity) should be mentioned early and be done with. HkCaGu (talk) 04:10, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

In response to my friend ReadIn, I was thinking of the Los Angeles City Council member Michael Woo, who is the only L.A. Council member to have Chinese characters attached to his name. In response to my friend HkCaGu, I really don't understand why Mister Woo, who was born in this country and presumably has a birth certificate in English, should be honored with the Chinese characters in the first line of his Wikipedia article. When I was in China, I purchased a chop with my English name transliterated into Chinese (phonetically), but I wouldn't think of using it in any formal sense or as a byline for any article I might write. Howcum Mr. Woo is treated differently from me? I am sorry, but I just don't get it. GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:21, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Because it is an entirely different (given) name. One cannot be inferred from the other. Also, Chinese is not an alphabetical language, therefore evening knowing it is pronounced Shaoji (Mandarin) there are hundreds of two-character combinations how to write it. (Even "Woo" can point to several "possible" Chinese surnames.) A Chinese name is not legally register-able, but it does not mean such an American is not given two distinct names. I can tell you that Woo's Chinese name in Cantonese is pronounced Wu Siu Gei and that probably explains his legal middle name Kay but still they are distinct. A Westerner picking a Chinese name also carries a weight of "this is my name, don't call me anything else." For example, Rudd wants to be called Lu Kewen, not Kaiwen Lade, and Jon Huntsman wants to be called Hong Bopei, not Yuehan Hengciman. When you go to China and make a chop, the maker picks Chinese characters with the closest sounds that are of neutral or positive values. The next time you go or if you go to a different dialect region to make another chop, your Chinese name may not be the same because there are many characters of the same sound or the maker speaks in different accents. Either way, you have made no commitment to your name.
For Chinese Americans, their Chinese names are not even names they can choose to commit to. They're often just "given". Complications of this issue has arisen especially in San Francisco. Someone's genuine Chinese name was ignored by the election department and resulted in non-recognition by voters. Then anyone could submit a name. Then Aaron Peskin called himself Ban Shiqin (Mandarin)/Baan Sikan (Cantonese) which was literally "Do Things Diligently" just for that election. Then they required candidates to have actually used such a name for it to be on the ballot. I hope you see why all levels of candidates might have a "Chinese name" on the ballot, but not every name is encyclopedic like Michael Woo or Judy Chu or Matt Fong or March Fong Eu.
The Chinese-English issue will be a little different from Korean-English and Japanese-English and Vietnamese-English and so forth. It's not a simple Miguel-Michael or Jose-Joseph bi-cultural issue. HkCaGu (talk) 07:30, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you very much. This is all very interesting, but it seems awfully Sino-centric to me. I will confine my further remarks to any articles I happen to run across where it is really important to me to be accurate—the only one right now or in the foreseeable future being Michael Woo. If anybody is interested in following that discussion, I invite him or her to move over there. Sincerely, your friend, GeorgeLouis (talk) 12:12, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Hi there! One detail that the other editors have not said with complete clarity is that most people of Chinese ethnicity, no matter where they live in the world, receive a Chinese name at birth from their parents. Even in mixed Western-Chinese couples, children will receive both a "western name" and a Chinese name. A boy may be X XX (Chinese name) in some contexts and Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx (western name) in others. Since this is a common practice, I don't think mentioning the Chinese name of Chinese-Americans like Michael Woo constitutes Sinocentrism. Of course, indicating the "Chinese name" of people who were given "Chinese names" by the media of other countries, like "Aobama" 奥巴马 for President Obama, would be inappropriate on English Wikipedia. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 12:47, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the comment. Having been married into a Chinese family for ten years and having been an uncle to lots more than one Chinese-American, I can assure my good friend Madalibi that not all Americans of Chinese ancestry are given Chinese names at birth. Mr. Woo may very well be one of them, and even if he were, well, so what? He is an American, not a Chinese, so this section does not apply to him. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 18:49, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
It continues to be an insult for you to say someone is American and therefore not Chinese. Chinese names do not "belong" to only citizens of the People's Republic of China. Ethnic Chinese everywhere can have them. It is ridiculous to reason that an American cannot have a Chinese name publishable on Wikipedia. This section is the wrong section because we're not discussing "naming convention", but the word Chinese here is about the language, not nationality. HkCaGu (talk) 18:58, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
There are plenty of Americans of Chinese descent who do not speak the language and lots more who do not read it and who would not recognize their own name in Chinese characters if it were handed to them as a Christmas present. Thank you again for your contributions to Wikipedia, which we all appreciate, but not this particular one. Your friend, GeorgeLouis (talk) 00:18, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I think there is a case to be made for Chinese names to be found somewhere in the article if a) that person is of Chinese descent, and b) their Chinese names are consistently and frequently used in Chinese-American (Canadian/Australia) media. This way a reader could associate the English name with the Chinese one in the first sentence of the article. As for non-Chinese people who have adopted Chinese names that are not a mere transliteration of their English name, then it is also necessary to specify this name, assuming widespread use, particularly in a Chinese-speaking country. For example, Jon Huntsman Jr. is always called 洪博培 by Chinese media, Gary Locke is always called 骆家辉 by Chinese media etc. etc. George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, only has a transliterated Chinese name - 布什, and thus does not need to specify his Chinese name. Furthermore, Mark Rowswell is essentially only known by his Chinese name - so that name, Dashan, becomes his article title full stop.

Also, let's avoid comparisons to Dutch or even Kenya names - as those names are purely transliterated, sometimes even preserving the original spelling. Chinese names, when they are unique, are not transliterated, but strictly translated. Colipon+(Talk) 00:55, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Transliterations of ethnic minority languages: Xixabangma vs Shishapangma

Discussion and polling over the choice of peak name has not yet reached consensus. If you wish to join the discussion or polling, please feel free to at Talk:Xixabangma. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 08:09, 26 November 2011 (UTC)