can anyone tell me whether the written Chinese name should be in the order of "surname + given name", or another way around? And of course, in academic writing. I am a PhD student in Bristol, I receive the report from my examiners saying that I should put surname in front for Chinese names. I've been awarded that some of the academic articles displaying Chinese names in this order, but some are not. Could anyone one tell me which way is correct for academic writing? So frustrated...

  • "saying that I should put surname in front for Chinese names". Ask them whether the rule applies to names like "Chariman ZeDong Mao", or "President JinPing Xi", or even "Fucius Con". Nov 2, 2019 at 13:36
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    This is a special case of writing in academia. You may get better results for this by posting this question to academia.stackexchange.com Nov 5, 2019 at 19:05
  • @RayButterworth I learn something new every day! From Wikipedia: "Confucius" is a Latinized form of the Mandarin Chinese "Kǒng Fūzǐ" (孔夫子, meaning "Master Kǒng") ... his given name was "Qiū" ... His "capping name", given upon reaching adulthood and by which he would have been known to all but his older family members, was "Zhòngní." Jan 31, 2020 at 3:45
  • Typically, when transliterated, most Asian cultures will style their names in given - surname order for convenience, though I cannot attest to Chinese specificly (Japanese people, when writing in english, default to Western first-given order and most Japanese actors do this for their English Stage name).
    – hszmv
    Jan 31, 2020 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Chinese names are generally written like this "surname/family name + given name" ,for example: Yang Ming

But when you deal with English Names of Chinese people it's written like this, "Given Name + Surname/Family Name" , for example: Andrew Yang


Could anyone one tell me which way is correct for academic writing?

I don't believe there's an official "correct" way: it's best to just choose a "publication name" and stick to it.

A random Chinese name from RenRen is 高继山 (Gao Jishan). Here the surname is Gao (高) and the given name is Jishan (继山). Possible publication names are:

  • Jishan Gao
  • Ji-shan Gao
  • James Gao [+English given name]
  • James J. S. Gao [+English name and pinyin initials]
  • James J.-S. Gao

(These are using pinyin, and there's alternative romanizations too.)

Sometimes capital letters highlight surnames, e.g., Jishan GAO, but this depends on the publication outlet.

Some people publish with the surname first, e.g. Gao Jishan, which is consistent with the Chinese name conventions, but its presents a conundrum for subsequent citations: should they cite "Jishan et al." (following the standard format) or "Gao et al." (breaking with tradition). For example:

Chong Shangguan; Yiwei Zhang; Gennian Ge, Centralized Coded Caching Schemes: A Hypergraph Theoretical Approach, IEEE Trans. Info. Theory., 2018.

This is cited in subsequent publications (here):

C. Shangguan, Y. Zhang, G. Ge, "Centralized coded caching schemes: A hypergraph theoretical approach", IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory, vol. 64, no. 8, pp. 5755-5766, Feb. 2018.

Here, the cited name is not "S. Chong", but "C. Shangguan".

Some journals also allow publishing your name in Chinese too:

Publish your name in your native language, alongside the English version of your name, in the author list of your article.

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