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Members of a Chinese family

Contemporary Chinese 3rd May 2017


In China, a married woman keeps her maiden name. Usually the child or children will take the father’s surname, but in some cases they may use the mother’s. Thus if the father’s surname is Ma, and the mother’s surname is Wang, a child’s surname may be either Ma or (much less commonly) Wang.

When talking about his own wife in the presence of others, the husband may call her “Wo tai tai” or “Wo lao po”. When a wife is talking to others about her husband, she may call him ”Wo xian sheng” or “wo lao gong”. When husband and wife address each other, they may call each other by their given names.

In order to control population growth, people in mainland China practice birth control. Each family has only one child before, and can have two children from 2017. Members of the older generation usually live with their children, especially after they have grandchildren. Most Chinese parents help their children look after grandchildren. 

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