2019/12/02

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More Shanghai babies are given mothers' surnames

  


Almost one in 10 newborns in Shanghai last year were given their mothers' surnames, marking a sharp departure from societys patriarchal norms.


The Shanghai Population Management Office announced this week that among the 90,000 babies born to the citys permanent residents in 2018, 91.2 per cent had their fathers surname and 8.8 per cent their mothers'. Some 2.5 per cent had both parents family names.


Yang Juhua, a professor of demographics from the Centre for Population and Development Studies of Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the trend was related to the new policy of allowing families to have two children.


"In many families in big cities, the first child now carries the fathers surname and the second one the mothers, Yang said. "This arrangement is considered fair to both families.



Chinas Marriage Law stipulates people can choose either their father or mothers surname.


"It was my fathers desire to give my second child my surname and my husbands family agreed, said Tina Wu, whose four-year-old carries her surname.


The 43-year-old said her eldest, a 10-year-old boy, had the same surname as his father, Chen.


Wu said that before her second son was born, her father was worried that his familys lineage would be lost but "thanks to the two-child policy, this problem has been solved.


Huang Lin, a feminist researcher at Capital Normal University in Beijing, said she was "surprised by the higher than expected figures, but said they reflected the higher status women now had in society.


"Its perhaps because Shanghai was one of the earliest Chinese cities to undergo modernisation. Women pay more attention to economic independence here, Huang said.


"In Chinas feudal era, women did not have their own names, but were referred to by a combination of their husband and fathers surnames. That a modern women can give their child their surname is really a revolutionary change.


A survey in 2017 by China Youth Daily, the Communist Youth Leagues official newspaper, and Wenjuan.com, found that 54.7 per cent of the 2,032 people questioned thought it was acceptable for a child to carry its mothers surname, while 23.2 per cent were totally opposed.


The figures from Shanghai triggered a debate on social media.


"Whether my child uses my surname or my wifes is irrelevant, a reader from Sichuan wrote on news portal 163.com. "A surname is just a symbol. Whatever he is surnamed does not affect our blood relationship.


"The child is the offspring of both his mother and father. I think either choice is reasonable, wrote one Weibo user.


But another post on the network read: "Following the fathers surname has been a tradition for thousands of years and we should respect the tradition.


"There are very few countries in the world where people carry the mothers surname, said another. "Even Hillary Clinton uses her husbands family name.


Source: South China Morning Post 


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