Naming a child

BlueBird (37 posts) • +1

Hi all,

Me and my wife are expecting our baby to be born in December. Since my wife is Chinese and we live in China, we decided our baby to have the Chinese citizenship and to attend education in China. How ever we are not sure if we could name our baby with a western first name, some people say has to be Chinese name for the documents and so. My question is if it is possible for the baby to have western first name and Chinese last on its birth certificate and that name to be recognized in the system. Thanks a lot !!

tigertiger (4592 posts) • +2

Is it right to assume by first name you mean the given name and by the last name you mean the family name? This is not being pedantic, as the norm in China is for the family name to come first, and using the terms you have may cause confusion in this discussion, and with your wife or members of her family, and officialdom.

One issue you might have is that it is normal in China for the child to take the father's family name.

Edward143 (10 posts) • +1

@BlueBird - If your baby is to be born in China, then his/her birth certificate will only have a chinese characters name. Authorities wont allow both chinese & english name on birth certificate. Do you have an official chinese surname that your baby can have? if you dont have, you might consider registering your baby through your consulate here in China. Talk to your consulate official & discuss that you will be registering your baby's name both in English (using your surname) and Chinese (using your wife surname). You may also consider delivering your child in Hong Kong.

michael2015 (494 posts) • 0

Your child may be dual citizen, depending on whether your home country permits dual citizenship. In China, the child will only be recognized as Chinese. At 18 yo, the child must choose citizenship...theoretically, but chinese adults can also have dual citizenship - so I'm unclear on the effectiveness or value of this policy.

So - chinese docs - chinese names. Foreign docs, foreign name(s). the foreign passport and citizenship with the foreign name will then be officially linked to your chinese name - which has value if you're into international business and moving assets and cash between countries (legally).

Stratocaster (157 posts) • +2

If you learn one thing in China, it's that there are no absolutes. Case in point, my daughter: born in Xiamen, China to a Chinese mother and American father. Her Chinese birth certificate has a Chinese AND English name. She legally has passports from both the PRC and the USA. She is a legal citizen of both countries.

JanJal (533 posts) • +1

For our son (born in April this year), we also chose Chinese nationality to begin with.

To make things smoother for possible future changes in that, we chose a foreign given name that can easily be pronounced and written in (3) Chinese characters, and then used this Chinese transliteration together with my wife's family name for Chinese birth certificate.

My own consulate adviced, that if we later choose to apply for nationality and passport in my own country for him, we must use exact pinyin version of the Chinese given name, while family name we can at that time change (to my own family name).

So if, sometime in future, you want the child to have a foreign looking given name in his/her foreign passport, you may have to consider that already when choosing the Chinese given name.

I don't know if this applies in all countries, but at least in mine.

About dual citizenship, China's nationality law states that as soon as a Chinese national takes foreign citizenship, he/she will lose Chinese citizenship automatically. This is mentioned in article 9 of the law, with following questionmark:

"Any Chinese national who has settled abroad AND who has been naturalized as a foreign national OR has acquired foreign nationality of his own free will shall automatically lose Chinese nationality."

How the precedence of the AND and OR in that article is interpreted, affects whether this automatic loss of Chinese citizenship occurs only if the person has settled aboard (and acquires citizenship there), or always when the person acquires foreign citizenship voluntarily.

Now I understand that many people have both PRC and foreign passport, and nobody cares much.

The issue might be mostly, if that person faces legal issues in China, and the process or outcome may depend on whether the person will be tried as Chinese national or foreign national.

That's when the letter of law and its interpretation would be tested. While he may be holding a Chinese passport, his Chinese citizenship could be considered to have been revoked as soon as he acquired foreign citizenship, and he would be dealt with as foreigner from then on - furthermore he could face problems in face of China's law for having used Chinese passport "illegally".

The nationality law has separate articles to deal with renounciantion of Chinese citizenship by application. Article 9 only deals with automatic loss of Chinese citizenship.

redjon777 (479 posts) • +2

My son born 21 months ago has a fully western style name on his Chinese birth certificate, at the same time we also successfully applied for his UK passport. To give up the Chinese citizenship you need to renounce Chinese citizenship officially, as until then they'll just ignore the fact that you got a foreign passport.

In China he's Chinese, in UK he's dual nationality. As long he has it renounced by the time he's 18 there will be no problem in China so we'll leave it till he's old enough to have an input.

So yes my child has a very western name and is recognised on the system.

Alien (3819 posts) • -1

Seems everybody has to be pinned to some bulletin board somewhere - states have been cancelling inborn walking-around rights for much of human history, especially since writing was invented.
Envy the birds.

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