There are about thousands family names used in China. Nowadays, only 100 family names are commonly used, which cover almost 87% of the total population. The most popular three surnames in China are Li (李), Wang (王) and Zhang (张), which occupy about 7.9%, 7.4% and 7.1% of the whole Chinese population respectively.

Some Chinese people have compound surnames, consisting of two Chinese characters, like Ou Yang (欧阳), Shang Guan (上官), Si Ma (司马). Now there are total 81 compound surnames existing in China.

Generally speaking, a child is always entitled to the surname of his father. However, children nowadays in China do not have to use their father's surname; they can use their mothers’ family name.

Back to Chinese Names.

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