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Vietnam lawmakers boggled over draft regulation restricting length of citizens’ full names

Vietnam lawmakers boggled over draft regulation restricting length of citizens’ full names

Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 17:35 GMT+7

Local lawmakers are mulling a draft amendment suggesting restrictions on the length of Vietnamese full names, which seems to be a personal matter and has nothing to do with social order.

Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong presented a set of draft amendments at a Standing Committee meeting of the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday.

The draft amendments are based on feedback from over 7.5 million people, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

One of the suggestions stated that a Vietnamese citizen’s full name should not have more than 25 letters, or feature numbers or symbols.

The suggestion indicated that while citizens have the right to choose their full name at their own will, the government should set specific rules to guide them in doing so.

Many full names are not culturally appropriate, the VNA said.

Transgender people have also encountered immense difficulty changing their full names from those typical of one gender to the other, delegates heard.

The draft amendment also urged that a provision be added to the Law on Vietnamese Nationality to issue a regulation that anyone who applies for Vietnamese citizenship must have a Vietnamese name.

Delegate Phung Quoc Hien expressed his support for the regulation that restricts the length of Vietnamese full names, adding that a number of parents have given their children overly lengthy names, which causes great difficulty in administrative paperwork and transactions later, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

However, Truong Thi Mai, chairperson of the NA Committee on Social Affairs, noted that the restriction may not go along with the Vietnamese Constitution.

“A long full name does not interfere with social order or national security and defense. We should only encourage citizens to avoid lengthy names, but it’s up to them to decide,” Tuoi Tre cited Mai as saying.

Cuong, Minister of Justice, told the Tuesday session that the government has discussed the issue thoroughly.

“Names belong to citizens, but are recorded in state documents, such as identity cards, and driver's licenses. Abbreviations must be used for long names, which may bring troubles to the name holders themselves later,” he explained.

“We pay due respect to citizens’ identity rights but our job is to provide guidance to avoid complications in social order and management,” Cuong stressed.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Giau, chairman of the NA Committee on Economic Affairs, called for a clearer definition of truly Vietnamese names as stated in the draft amendment, as expat Vietnamese tend to use their full names with their first names placed before their last in the order adopted by most Western countries.

The NA Committee on Legal Affairs also said that the draft regulation that anyone who applies for Vietnamese citizenship must have a Vietnamese name should be given more consideration.

Since January, the Ministry of Justice has been soliciting suggestions and feedback on the draft amendments to the Civil Code on its website http://www.moj.gov.vn, according to the VNA.

The current draft comprises 672 articles, shorter than the 2009 Civil Code, which has 777 articles.

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