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UPDATED: 09:19, January 20, 2005
Seoul decides to change its Chinese name
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Seoul City has decided to change its Chinese name from the potentially misleading "Hancheng" to "Shou'er."

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Wednesday it decided to change the city's Chinese name as the old name caused confusion both at home and abroad because it was so different from the actual name. "Hancheng" could also be interpreted to mean "Chinese city."

"Shouer" is closer to the actual name as well as meaning "first city," which made it suitable for the Korean capital, the city government said. The city formed a special committee of Chinese language experts last January to prepare the change.

The city plans to use the new name on its Chinese web page, promotion materials and road signs. It will also ask the Chinese government to adopt the new name.

However, the success of the measure will depend on whether the new name catches on among ordinary Chinese speakers - which could take a while. A survey by the city last year of 1,440 Chinese living in Seoul showed that 44 percent were against changing the Chinese name, with only 32 percent in favor.


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