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谢迈克在中国 » Blog Archive » Road names in China

谢迈克在中国

Mike Shecket Goes To China!

Road names in China

January 5th, 2008

I haven’t done that much traveling around the country, really, but I’ve gazed longingly at many maps in Lonely Planet, and I make the following observations:

  • This is a given to anyone who’s been here, but it’s worth mentioning for people back home and elsewhere: many roads have an East (Dong - 东) and a West (Xi - 西) segment, or a North (Bei -  北) and a South (Nan - 南) piece, but in addition, many if not most of the ones so designated also have a Central/Middle (Zhong - 中) part to them.
  • There are no one character street names, as far as I’ve seen. No equivalent of, say, “Elm Street”. Every street name I’ve seen that I can think of has at least two characters before the “road” or “street” or “avenue” or “alley” character. I got to thinking about this partly because of the next observation.
  • Which is that I haven’t seen a single Mao Road, Zedong Road, Mao Zedong Road, etc., anywhere. No Deng Xiaoping Lu, no Jiang Zemin Xiang, no Hu Jintao Dadao. What nearly every city has, though, is a Zhongshan Road. At first, I took this literally: “central/middle mountain”. But it turns out that Sun Zhongshan is the Mandarin, mainland name for the man we know in the West as Sun Yat-Sen, the father of modern China.



Maybe street naming has a different, lesser cultural significance here than it does in America. After all, most people in China still live in the country (for now), and most of the roads out there probably don’t have names. Or they do, but the names are highly local and functional. Here I yield, as I’m speculating on something that has an actual, obtainable answer for which I’m not about to do the research.

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