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Prohibition on businesses using names of famous Vietnamese people meets opposition

A recently released circular banning local firms from using the names of famous Vietnamese people for their business from the date it takes effect, which is expected to be late next month, has been met with protest from the local business community.

A recently released circular banning local firms from using the names of famous Vietnamese people for their business from the date it takes effect, which is expected to be late next month, has been met with protest from the local business community.
A recently released circular banning local firms from using the names of famous Vietnamese people for their business from the date it takes effect, which is expected to be late next month, has been met with protest from the local business community.

In addition, those who study history and culture as well as lawyers are voicing disagreement to the circular on “guidelines for naming businesses consistent with the national history, traditions, culture, ethics, habits and customs of the people” issued by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on October 1.

Ninh Thi Thu Huong, Deputy Director of the Department of Basis Culture under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the unit which drafted the document, told Tuoi Tre that the ministry “did not invent the terms of this circular”.

“All the following terms were compiled based on Decree No. 43/2010 / ND-CP of the Government, released in 2013, on business registration,” she said.

“Moreover, the ministry issued the circular under the directive of the Prime Minister,” she added.

“The ban on using famous Vietnamese people’s names by businesses was already defined in Clause 3, Article 14, in the convention on business registration.”

“So, if you are asking why the circular bans local firms from doing so, you should ask the government for an explanation, not the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism,” she added.
The ministry was unable to answer the question of why streets, schools and state administrative units can use such names for the same reason.

According to Huong, the definition of who are considered “Vietnamese notables” is being worked out by the ministry under the government’s directive.

As there remains no final list of approved notable Vietnamese names, local businesses can still use those names. When the document is released, the ban will take effect.

Huong added the circular only applies to business owners who name their businesses after the document is released and the circular takes effect, and will not be applied for those who do so prior to that, which means they can continue to use the names of important Vietnamese people for now.

Clarification needed

Prof. Dr. Vu Minh Giang, professor of history at Hanoi National University, said using the names historical figureds for roads, and business is a mark of a more civilized culture, a practice the Vietnamese people learned from the West.

“Historically, many businesses have been named this way, such as the mechanical plants of Tran Hung Dao, Quang Trung and Le Loi – three famous Vietnamese generals who emerged victorious in their struggles or wars against Chinese invaders.

“Therefore, before deciding that using those names for corporate names violates national history and tradition, the ministry must make clear what history and tradition it is talking about.

“In my opinion, using someone’s name honors the historic figures of our country,” Giang concluded.

The circular also includes a wide range of terms which will be banned from usage in business names, such as the name of the country in the past when it was dominated by foreign powers.

The use of names of real historical figures who acted against the country and its people or inhibited social progress, as well as foreign invaders, is also prohibited.

In addition to prohibiting businesses from using the names of historical figures, the circular also stipulates details related to business names that violate the culture, ethics, habits and customs of the Vietnamese people, such as using words and symbols with vulgar, pornographic, violent or criminal meanings.

The use of words and symbols that express or imply discrimination against ethnicity, religion, race or gender is also banned.

Many cinemas face trouble

Many movie theaters in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are stuck at this point, particularly Thien Ngan Film Joint Stock Co., which owns the Galaxy chain.

The name of specific Galaxy movie theaters often bears the name of the street where they are located, for example: Galaxy Nguyen Du (a poet), Galaxy Nguyen Trai ( a strategist/poet), and Galaxy Kinh Duong Vuong (a king), as well as the upcoming Galaxy Quang Trung (a general).

The CGV Cinema chain also names their facilities in a similar way, such as CGV Hung Vuong inside Hung Vuong Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City or CGV Ba Trieu inside the Vincom Ba Trieu building in Hanoi. Similarly, there is Kim Dong theater in Hanoi, and Ly Chinh Thang Cinebox theater in HCMC.