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Beijing won't allow addresses to bypass 'unlucky' numbers


09:05, August 21, 2012

Beijing has vowed to prohibit the avoidance of "unlucky" numbers, normally deemed to include 4, 13 and 14, in the registration of addresses, an official with the city’s quality watchdog said on Monday.

"The numbers of storied buildings, units and door plates should be coded and registered in numerical order, and no skipping or selective use of numbers should be allowed," said Zhou Qiaolin, an official with the Beijing Municipal Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision.

She said the prohibition will be included in a criterion for the setting of building name plates and door-number plates, which is to be implemented on Sept 1.

The new coding criterion mainly targets new buildings rather than existing ones, said Li Xiaobo, an officer with the capital’s public security bureau who is in charge of the implementation of the new coding criterion.

"Requests to skip the ‘unlucky numbers’, though not that frequent, do occur," he said. "The new criterion is expected to root out the selective coding and registration of the door plates."

The latest move targeting entrenched Chinese numerology reflects the superstitious beliefs still held by some, who continue to prefer to avoid the number four because it sounds almost exactly like the word for "dead" or "death" in Mandarin.

For this reason, some Chinese are willing to pay extra fees to register car plates or phone numbers with the number eight because it sounds similar to the words for "making a fortune" and "prosperity" in Mandarin and Cantonese.

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, for example, officially began at 8 pm on the eighth day of the eighth month in 2008.

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