Too many Wangs?

June 13, 2007


Who thought it possible?

It is, though, a problem for China.  It seems the tradition of picking one of 100 surnames has come to bite the country of 1.3 billion in the ass:

If all the Wangs in China seceded — all 93 million — they would become the world’s 12th-most-populous nation. The 88 million Zhangs could eat every crumb of the UN’s World Food Programme, distributed annually to people in 82 countries.

And the entire population of Surrey could be replaced with Chinese men called Li Gang.

With more than a billion people sharing little more than 100 surnames, Chinese authorities have a problem differentiating, for instance, between the 1.3 million people called Liu Bo.

And I thought my name was common.

(The picture is from, where you too can learn how to rip a phone book in half.)


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