Unlucky Number 4 Regplates?

BEIJING: Shedding its Communist blues, China turned superstitious barring the issuance of automobile license plates bearing the “unlucky” number “4”, evoking a mixed response from public.

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.