Bill de Blasio’s Chinese name is Bai Si Hao. It has three characters that, roughly translated, mean “white,” “thinking” and “strong.” These same three characters are used for de Blasio’s name in all Chinese newspapers, and will appear on the ballot on Election Day Nov. 5.
But the mayoral candidate didn’t always have a single, uniform Chinese name.
At the beginning of de Blasio’s 2009 campaign for New York City public advocate, Chinese newspapers created their own phonetic transliterations of “de Blasio.” From paper to paper, there were slight variations in the characters used to represent his name in Mandarin.
To ward off confusion, de Blasio enlisted the help of City Comptroller John Liu to create his “official” Chinese name.
“It’s important to have what’s considered a good Chinese name as opposed to simply a phoneticized name,” said Liu, who was born in Taiwan.
Bai Si Hao, with its three meaningful characters, mirrors the structure of typical Chinese names. Chinese names normally have two or three characters, with the surname written first. Each character, in addition to representing a phonetic sound, has its own meaning.