This is messed up. The computer systems used by the government have problems dealing with rare Chinese characters. Instead of fixing the software, they are trying to ban “problematic” Chinese characters in names. Seems a bit backward to me, as I am sure there are millions more “problematic” names than the number of software that have to be upgraded or replaced. Actually, only the input methods and fonts need to be upgraded.
Chinese names | Farewell the red soldiers | Economist.com (subscription required):
The problem is that commonly used software for inputting Chinese characters, including that used by police departments responsible for issuing identity cards (which every Chinese must carry), cannot handle very rare characters. In China, the usual way of writing a character on a computer is to enter its pronunciation using Roman letters, then choose from a list of possible options (most characters have many homonyms). A rare character might not show up on the list.
For the police all this has become a particular problem with the introduction in 2004 of new identity cards with embedded microchips. Rather than getting better software, a senior police official has announced that the answer is to ban problematic characters.