University set up in Shanghai, but will students regard this as a
Americans have very little contact with Chinese culture except through
the Chinese fast food, China Towns, and what they see on the media. The
major sources come from Hollywood which has been treating Chinese as
ethnic “others” for over a century. As a result, the real Chinese are
veiled by putting them into stereotypes. In 2006, Edward Norton, a film
producer said that he wanted to “lift the veil” and then took part in
the movie The Painted Veil.
Based on the classic novel by W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil is a
love story set in the background of China in 1920s. Kitty (played by
Naomi Watts), a frivolous young English woman, marries intelligent, shy
and dull doctor Walter Fane (played by Edward Norton) for all the wrong
reasons and relocates to Shanghai with him. When he discovers her
adultery with a British diplomat, he decides to take revenge and
punishment by forcing her to accompany him to fight a cholera epidemic
in a remote Chinese village. In the place of breathtaking beauty plagued
by the tangible horror of death, the two people slowly discover the
ability to forgive and love each other at the end. Although the movie
makes some efforts in depicting a certain round Chinese character free
of stereotype, it still falls into cliché when treating other Chinese
Different from the impression that Chinese cannot speak English; the
main Chinese character Colonel Yu can speak fluent foreign languages.
When Walter talks about the water pollution for the first time, he
thinks that Yu cannot speak English and tries to explain in broken
Chinese. Ironically, Yu responds him in fluent English with native
accent: “Yes, I understand, Dr. Fane. I received my military training in
Moscow. If you don’t like English, we can speak Russian.” Yu’s statement
embarrasses Walter by criticizing blatantly his prejudice. It also
ironically responds to the Hollywood deeply-rooted prejudice that
Chinese cannot speak English.
Apart from this, Colonel Yu is smart enough to gain deep insight into
the current social situation. He criticizes those in control of China,
saying that: “These men are like animals. They have no vision. They only
have hunger and strength. Men like this have held the real power in
China since I was young, but that time is coming to an end; there is no
place for them in the new China.” When he talks about westerners in
China, he clearly distinguishes those with a kind purpose from the
invaders, and treats them with different attitude. Besides that, he is a
person of great capacity to solve problems. For example, Yu accompanies
Walter to the warlord for help. Walter gets infuriated upon the
rejection and asks Yu to translate a pungent satire. Instead of doing
so, Yu tactfully makes the warlord the target of attack and successfully
persuades him. With a good master of foreign language, deep insight and
capacity to solve problems, Colonel Yu is a positive refreshing Chinese
image in the movie free of any Asian stereotype. However, it is a pity
that the anti-stereotype character has little chance to expose on the
screen, and the treatment of other Chinese people in the movie falls
into fixed type.
The first stereotype is the image of peasants who are demonized to be
savage, superstitious, and holding pungent anti-western sentiment.
Firstly, there are lots of disgusting and frightening portrayal of
skinny Chinese sick and dying from cholera which makes people nearly
vomit at the first sight. However, when Walter is infected, he dies in a
much more graceful way than the local peasants. Since they are all human
beings and all infected from the same disease, why their ways of dying
differentiate so much? Secondly, the local peasants are described as
superstitious uneducated. They beat drums and sing dreadful spirit songs
to frighten off the spirit of death. They have no idea of the irrigation
system designed to relieve them of infected well water. What’s more
impressive in this movie is that the rural peasants hold pungent hatred
toward westerners. When Walter walks across the town to investigate the
pollution source, villagers stand by the street and shout “imperialist
pig” at him. There is also a scene that some young men chase after Kitty
as she is carried through the streets on a palanquin. She tries to flee,
but runs into another angry mob and then tries darting down an alley,
only to find herself cornered. The facial expressions of the local
people are resentful and horrifying. After all, the Chinese peasants are
described as horrifying, dreadful, superstitious and a threat to the
white. Besides the demonization of common peasants, the stereotypical
image of Chinese servants also appears in the movie.
The Chinese people are generally assigned to minor roles as quiet and
dutiful servant or bodyguard. When Kitty reached the remote village, she
is given an old female servant and a young dim-witted bodyguard. They
are submissive and compliant enough to fulfill their obligation of
serving the whites. Take the bodyguard for example, when Kitty is mobbed
in the street by large crowds of young people, the bodyguard shot the
gun for warning and let Kitty to leave, while risking himself at the
angry mob. Subordinate and dutiful as they are, they are always standing
at the corner and playing extremely insignificant roles. Their total
exposure on the screen amounts to less than 2 minutes. Compare to them,
the movie spends a little longer time when portraying the image of
Chinese young woman which falls into another fixed type.
The third stereotype reflected in the movie is Deputy Commissioner’s
beguiling Chinese mistress Wan Si who is mysterious and sexually
appealing to white man. When Kitty runs into Wellington’s house, she
encounters Wan Si and gets frightened. Wan Si is naked, squatting on the
ground and talking to the mouse. This behavior is awkward and
mysterious, out of the comprehension of Westerners. Besides her strange
behavior, she is sexually appealing and always passionate to make love.
She appears on the screen four times, and three times she is naked which
suggests that she has just had sex. There is a more direct scene that
Kitty spies on Waddington and Wan Si in bed. They lie on their sides,
face to face, with the woman’s hands on the man’s bare back. She notices
that Kitty is looking in, but ignores her and go back to making love
with the man. This white-male-Asian-female couple conforms to the
lasting stereotype of Chinese women as sexual appealing to the whites.
Does Edward Norton accomplish his wish to “lift the veil”? I suppose the
answer is no. With dreadful peasants, dutiful servants, and Chinese
woman paired off with white men, this movie reinforces the Chinese
stereotype deeply rooted in American’s minds. Although there appears a
refreshing Chinese character Colonel Yu, the veil of Chinese stereotype
is still covered, not lifted.
By Lu Chen in Shanghai Xu Zhehao, a 16-year-old student in Shanghai, has
been thinking of going abroad to continue his higher education ever
since the first day he entered high school.
The reason to write today’s article is quite simple. I have been asked
many times for giving advice in selecting a good English name for a
child. Allow me to make a correction. Many English names you thought of
may not from English, they may from France, Germany or Spain. So, I’d
like to use western name instead. I have to say, more and more young
parents would love to give their kid a western name. They have good
wishes, and it seems that such a name became a must when you send your
kid to some English classes. Contrary to giving children Chinese names
with prudence and tradition, I know some parents would give their
children English names just by following celebrities, a film character
they like, or give the job to children’s English teacher. NI agree
it’sreally important to name your children with names that will set them
up for success! And it’s same for both Chinese and English names, if
your children will use two names frequently in the future. A name can
make a huge difference with first impressions.
When he heard the news that New York University (NYU) in Shanghai had
opened enrollment for its first batch of students for the 2013 fall
semester, his parents discussed this option with him.
New York University founded a campus in Shanghai on October 15, the
first higher education institution jointly established by China and the
US that is qualified to hand out degrees.
When I studied in Europe, I would introduce myself with my Pinyin name
first, then, tell the new friends if they had difficulty to remember,
they could call my by my English name. However, most of them would say:
“I will try my best to remember your name, because this is your real
name.” It’s very interesting that my English name is used much more
often in China, perhaps my Chinese name is a bit difficult to pronounce,
so most of my colleagues prefer calling my English name. And the place
where you may hear Chinese people calling each other in English names
the most often is the barber shop. I admit I considered it as a thing of
Yangqi and stylish when I gave my own an English name, it came from a
movie character and I didn’t care about the origin of it. Today, I think
it is necessary to make people from other countries gradually
acquaintant with our names, at least in Pinyin. We are happy to embrace
their culture, in return, they may have some good Chinese names as well,
not just limited to Chinese fans, students and expats. Mutual respects
make the world a better place.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Chinese students go abroad to
receive an education, though for stu- dents in Shanghai, a foreign
education may be a lot closer than they had imagined.
However, for Xu, this is precisely the problem.
Though I would recommend parents use Pinyin of your child’s Chinese name
as their English names, there are many good English names could be used
for your children, if you insist on an orthodox name in the west. It’s
always a good thing to let kids know the world outside is very
different, but it is fun. Here some popular names summarized by a
website in the west country, this comprehensive list will tell you not
only the top ten baby names for 2017, but also give you a glimpse at the
origins of the name and the meaning as well.While all of these names are
adorable, it is up to you to choose the perfect name for your little
one. However, I hope this list can assist you in picking the perfect fit
for your baby.
“What fascinates me about leaving home and studying abroad is embark-
ing on an adventurous journey in a foreign country, so I can study side
by side with classmates from various countries and backgrounds. This is
what I have not experienced yet in Shanghai,” Xu told the Global Times.
Why this Chinese is reluctant to give herself an English name
His mother however, considers New York University in Shanghai a good
option, as she could remain close to her son.
In the popular TV series Women in Shanghai, advertisement company
freshman Luo Haiyan was laughed at by her colleagues for having no
English name. “What’s your English name? You don’t have one? Uh-oh,”
scoffed Luo’s coworker Amy, a native Chinese.
The New York University Shanghai According to the university authori-
ty, NYU Shanghai, co-founded by East China Normal University and New
York University, is expecting 300 un- dergraduates in 2013.
Starting the list is Emma. This classic name is Latin in origin and has
been in use for many centuries all over the world. Emma means “whole” or
Slightly over half, 151 of them, will be Chinese stu- dents who have
applied via the gaokao, (or national college entrance examination). The
rest will be students from other parts of the world.
In today’s China, especially in first-tier cities, it is bizarre for
young Chinese not to have an English name. When I’m having dinner at
Jing’an Temple Central Business District in downtown Shanghai, I often
hear office gossip from the next table – usually young Chinese ladies in
exquisite clothes talking about their colleagues Linda, Mary, Eric, etc.
These English names, mixed in with their Putonghua or Shanghai dialect,
sound quite funny.
In total, the university will accom- modate an estimated 3,000 Chinese
and international students.
“The mix of Chinese and overseas students will make New York Uni-
versity Shanghai a melting pot for cultivating talent,” said Yu Lizhong,
president of the university.
Next on the list is Liam. This name is an Irish variation of a German
name. In fact, it is a derivative of the name “William.” Broken down,
“wil” means desire, and “helm” means helmet. When put together, the name
William means “strong-willed warrior.”
English names have become a standard feature of China’s modern
workplace and campuses, and those who don’t have one are considered
old-fashioned or from the countryside. This is particularly true in
foreign enterprises. In Women in Shanghai, Luo finally named herself
Harriet after being embarrassed by a foreign client who failed to
pronounce her Chinese name.
Yu revealed that the admission of the first batch of Chinese students
would mostly center on those from the Yangtze Delta Region, and the
criteria would be based on a comprehensive appraisal of a student’s
overall compe- tence, though more details of admis- sion requirements
have yet to emerge.
Students who plan to apply have to submit to the standard American uni-
versity admission evaluation process as well as an NYU supplement to be
considered for admission, according to an application tutorial video
posted on the university’s website.
Hence it may surprise you that I, a Shanghai-based reporter at an
English-language newspaper who often deals with expatriates, do not have
an English name. I’m personally reluctant to give myself one, nor do I
think it is necessary.
In regard to the English proficiency requirements for admission, Li Mei,
vice president of NYU Shanghai, said that the university focused more on
the students’ English communicative ability instead of any test scores
and this would be assessed in interviews during the university open day.
Top name number three is also a boy’s name €€ the highly traditional
“Noah.” Noah is a Hebrew name. It has biblical roots, and it means
“comfort” or “rest.”
Classes will be conduct- ed in English, cover- ing a full range of
My Chinese name Lanlan is easy enough for foreigners to pronounce.
Thanks to my parents, the simple name they gave me has yet to be
mispronounced. If someone’s Chinese name contains “difficult” characters
such as yue, lü, ruan or ce, he or she might consider an English name.
But luckily, I’ve never had this concern.
Before choosing a major, all the students will receive a liberal arts
education, and have courses in the humanities and social and natural
Upon graduation, students will receive degrees from New York Uni-
versity, and NYU Shanghai will grant each of them a graduation
certificate and a degree.
Number four goes back to the girls €€ “Olivia.” This wildly popular name
is related to the Latin word “olive.” Olivia is also a classical name;
Shakespeare gave the moniker to a character in his play “Twelfth Night.”
A rich kid’s education?
I’ve grown bored by the English names that most Chinese give
themselves, which are repetitive and uncreative. Unlike the millions of
available Chinese names, only several dozen English names are available,
of which fewer fit the taste of we Chinese.
The tuition fee for Chinese un- dergraduates is about 100,000 yuan
($15,987) a year, almost the same as universities in Hong Kong. The
tuition fees for other universities on the Chinese mainland usually
range from 5,000 to 10,000 yuan.
“The tuition fee is one of the most important factors when students and
their families are making decisions about choosing a university, and the
high tuition fee will certainly make NYU Shanghai less attractive,”
Xiong Bingqi, an education expert with the 21st Century Education
Research Insti- tute, said on his blog.
Number five goes to Ava. This name has a couple of different origins. In
Latin, Ava means “bird.” The Hebrew version of this name, Eve, or
“Chava” means life.
I personally know three Penny, four Chloe, five Julia and six David.
Compared with their unique, elaborate Chinese names, their English names
are ordinary and boring. Conversely, some young people try too hard to
give themselves “creative” English names, but many of these are
Xiong said that while parents and students may be attracted by the stu-
dent to staff ratio of 8 to 1, he argued that if a student has good
English proficiency, an excellent academic performance and his or her
family can afford 100,000 yuan a year, then they have no reason not to
go abroad directly.
If the family cannot afford the cost, then a better option might be
choosing a first-tier university in China, the total cost of which,
including living expenses, is within 100,000 yuan a year, Xiong said.
For example, on Quora there is a post titled “what are some of the
‘best’ English names Chinese people give themselves but are not
generally found outside China,” under which netizens from around the
world shared lots of weird names such as Satan, Cherry, Rabbit, Vampire,
Yale, Harvard, Lolita, Nokia, Easy and Anyway.
“NYU Shanghai is still a part of our large education system. Its
implica- tions for the reform of higher educa- tion are limited because
students still cannot choose the university he or she prefers when
receiving offers from several universities at the same time,”Xiong told
the Global Times.
Isabella may sound like an Italian or Spanish name, but Isabella
actually finds its origins in the Bible. It comes from the Hebrew
wordElishevawhich means “God is perfection,” or “God is my oath.” A
variation of this name is “Bella,” which means “beautiful.”
In this sense, NYU Shanghai is not too different from other universities
that have independent admission tests, Xiong pointed out.
”I knew a pair of programmers whose names were Sh*t and F**k,”
netizen Paul Denlinger wrote. “Among more acceptable names, my favorite
was a network admin named Benjamin Franklin.”
In response, NYU Shanghai said in its official microblog that
scholarships would be available to students who have financial
“NYU Shanghai is exploring a new model while setting up higher education
institutions and cultivating young talents. It’s more about quality than
quantity. And it is up to the stu- dents to choose an education that
best suits themselves,” Yu Lizhong said in response to questions.
Pulling up number seven is “Sophia.” This classic name has been claimed
by the Spanish, but it is actually Greek. Sophia means “wisdom” in the
Greek. A variation on this name is “Sofia.”
In most cases, giving yourself an English name is a personal
preference. Having an English name can make one look more “fashionable”
or communicative, but that’s about it. Native Chinese cannot add their
self-made English names onto any official documents including ID cards
or passports. In other words, an English name is no more than a cute
A Global Network In 2011 alone, the number of Chinese students going
abroad to study rose to 340,000, representing 14 percent of the total
number of in- ternational students across the world.
China now has the largest number of students in overseas schools and
education institutions, figures in the Annual Report on the Development
of China’s Study Abroad showed.
Dispensable English names are to some extent seen as a social status
in China, implying that locals with English names are superior to those
without. I read in the news that a Chinese mother publicly claimed on
her social media that she would never send her children to a
kindergarten where kids have no English names. In Beijing, a
five-year-old local girl named “Lucy” refused to make friends with a
little Chinese boy who had no English name, according to Phoenix Weekly
in May 2017.
Yang Weichang, the head of the international exchange department at the
Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, says that China is open- ing up
its education sector in line with promises made to the World Trade
The boys have it at number eight. Elijah is rooted in ancient Hebrew
origins. It means “my God is Yahweh.” Variations of this name are Eli or
“The establishment of New York University of Shanghai is the latest
evidence to show China is keeping its promise to open its higher
education service as part of an increasingly glo- balized world,” Yang
The temporary teaching building of the New York University Shanghai
located in the East China Normal University Inset: The opening ceremony
of the New York University Shanghai on October 15 Photos: CFP Page
Editor: xutianran@ globaltimes.com.cn
Chinese actresses Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Fan Bingbing and many others
do not have English names, and nobody would ever say that they failed to
succeed in the foreign marketplace. After all, a name is just a name.
But it cannot outshine one’s true personality and character. Having an
English name could be helpful in a globalized workplace or campus, but
it should never be one’s weapon to look down on others.
《环球时报》（英文版） 日期：2012年10月23日 版次：06 作者：Lu Chen
Number nine on our list is Logan. Many associate “Logan” as a Scottish
family name, and it is rooted in the Celtic language, “lagan.” It is now
a popular first name that means “little hollow.”
Rounding out the list of names is Mia. This simple, yet beautiful name
is derived from the Latin, and it actually has a number of meanings. Mia
can mean “wished-for child,” or “mine.” Unfortunately, it also means
So, have you got any idea to give your children western names? Let me
know in the comments what names you personally like, if I have missed
Scan the QR code below, thank you!