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Home >> China Travel Tips >> Family Names

Chinese Family Names

Chinese family names came into being during the clan society some 5,000 years ago. There is more than 5,000 family names altogether, but only 200 or so are common. Zhang, wang, Li, Zhao and Liu are most popular family names. The name of a person generally consists of two or three Chinese characters, and the family name always comes before the given name. For example, the family name of a person called Zhang Siying is Zhang. Chinese forms of address are more or less the same as the Western. A man is addressed an Xiansheng, which means Mr.- such as Mr. Lee. An unmarried woman is addressed as Xiaojie, or Miss. A married woman retains he maiden name and he many be addressed as either Miss or Mrs. Plus her name.

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