International Usage Guide: “Gong Li”

A David Barboza business story in today’s New York Times, about difficulties surrounding the Chinese release of Memoirs of a Geisha, contains the following passage:

Although the film chronicles the world of Japanese geishas, it stars three actresses from the Chinese film world: Ziyi Zhang, who earned a Golden Globe nomination as best actress for her role as a geisha, Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh. Ms. Zhang and Ms. Li are two of China’s best-known actresses, and Ms. Yeoh is popular for her roles in China, though she was born in Malaysia.

A public-service announcement to copy desks: Following standard Chinese practice, Gong Li‘s family name is “Gong”; “Li” is her given name. On second reference, she is “Ms. Gong.”

Ziyi Zhang, on the other hand, has reversed her original Chinese name, Zhang Ziyi. On second reference, she is “Ms. Zhang.”

Michelle Yeoh is “Ms. Yeoh” on second reference.

The Times‘ all-time Gong Li scorecard: “Ms. Gong,” 14 references; “Ms. Li,” 4 references.

Number of corrections of “Ms. Li”: 0.