China stops issuing license plates with 'unlucky' number '4'

Last Updated : 03 May 2018, 04:17 IST
Last Updated : 03 May 2018, 04:17 IST

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Beijing's traffic management bureau has stopped issuing car license plates bearing the number "4" which many Chinese consider unlucky because it sounds similar to the word for death, official China Daily reported today.

Starting this week, drivers in the capital who bought new cars need not make a special request to omit the number, as it has been removed from the license plate choosing system by the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau (BTMB).

According to the BTMB, the decision was made because license plates bearing a "4" have always been unpopular.The move, however, evoked mixed response with some drivers applauding the decision.

"It's a thoughtful move," said Guo Yanping, an employee at a tourist agency who has been driving for eight years.

"Every time I pick car numbers for myself or my family members, I carefully avoid the numbers '4' and '7'. I don't consider it superstitious. It has just become subconscious," he said.

But for some potential car buyers, the move has not gone down well.Cui Wen, 24, who is preparing to buy a car in Beijing, was frustrated by the prospect of owning a plate without a "4", which she thinks is a good number.

"I was born on June 4, So, I have always considered it as my lucky number," she said.
People can still get their hands on a license plate with a "4" - if they use the online car number choosing system, the BTMB said.

Cui pointed out that the capital's system of limiting the number of cars on certain days of the week to reduce the traffic will be complicated by the move.

Cars are blocked from journeying downtown on certain days of the week based on the final number on their license plate.

With fewer "4"s than ever on the roads, days on which cars with a "4" on the license plate are blocked will have particularly heavy traffic, she said.

The car-control policy has restricted the potential number of cars on the capital's roads by 20 per cent each day since it was introduced in 2008.

However, the total number of cars owned by Beijingers has shot up sharply and there are now 4.5 million cars in the capital, which is 20 per cent more than the same period.
Superstitious beliefs discouraged by communist rulers in the past are increasingly coming out in open as thousands of Chinese couples married on October 10 (10/10/10), treating it as the most auspicious date to get married.

Published 20 October 2010, 10:48 IST

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