Changing Names

It was suggested in a Reuters news piece that because of 200 people, China should change hundreds of millions of computer keyboards.

Let’s examine the logic behind this suggestion, which I see as another example of Western meddling in China.

Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. bends over backwards and spends billions to make bathrooms and sidewalks usable for people who may be blind or use wheel chairs.

This happened in an individualist culture that puts the individual above the whole. To improve one life, twenty may be ruined or sacrificed—even the national debt may be increased.

The Braille Institute reports that there are 15 million blind and visually impaired people in the United States. That’s about 5% of the population.  What did it cost the U.S. to add that chirping noise to crosswalks for that segment of the population?

In my life, I’ve seen less than a handful of blind people with red tipped canes walking on sidewalks let alone crossing intersections.

Then according to, there are an estimated 1.4 million wheelchair users in the United States—that’s less than half-a-percent of the population, yet America spent billions converting sidewalks so there are ramps for wheelchairs to roll down to cross streets.

At the high school where I taught, there was one wheelchair bound teacher, who worked there for a few years.

He complained that there were no handicapped restrooms near his classroom. He had to go too far to pee.

The school district, because of the law, had no choice and spent about $30,000 to convert the nearest teacher’s restroom. A few years later, that handicapped teacher left the high school to work elsewhere.

One example I found estimated that providing free paratransit service to people with disabilities in Illinois would cost between 141.5 and 202.9 million. That’s one state of fifty and one service, which doesn’t include crosswalk conversions. Source: Transportation Research Board

Now, those values that have contributed to America’s national debt have cropped up in a Reuters piece that says about 200 villagers in Eastern China are being “forced by the country’s unbending bureaucracy” to change their family name as the character is so rare it cannot be typed.

How many millions or billions would it cost to add a symbol to the Chinese language and replace all those keyboards so 200 out of 1.3 billion would be able to spell their last name as they have for centuries? Aren’t there better things to do with that money?

See China Bashing


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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One Response to Changing Names

  1. My response to the post at “A Modern Lei Feng” may be found at “Idealism is Sometimes Flawed” at

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