Monday, March 9, 2009

Seow, the surname similar to Xiao, Hsiao, Siew, Siu, Siow, Siao

The following article are from, the major part of the articles are contribute by me, this is useful for people who are English educated and difficult and do not read Chinese:

Xiao (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: 萧/肖) is a Chinese surname. In Wade-Giles, it is rendered as Hsiao. It may also be romanized as Siew or Siu. In Malaysia & Singapore (former colony of the British empire, and used direct translation from the various Chinese dialects), the Hokkian or Teochew Chinese romanized "Xiao" as "Seow". Teochew "Seow" are mainly Changyangxiao(潮阳萧氏) from Chaoyang(潮阳), Kwangtung(广东省), China. The Hakka "Xiao"Chinese(客籍萧氏), especially Huichew Hakka (客籍广东惠州萧氏)of Titi(知知港) (in Negeri Sembilan state of Malaysia), a village town with a high concentration of Hakka people with the surname of Xiao, romanized "Xiao" as "Siow". The young may also used "Xiao" if they followed romanized Chinese. So people with the surnames Xiao, Hsiao, Siew, Siu, Seow, and Siow are the descendants of the same Xiao family from ancient China.

The Xiao family originated from Xiaosien(萧县), in Anhui province(安徽省), China. It was from the kingdom of Xiao(萧国) in the ancient China. The first Xiao was an emperor, name Xiao Ta shing(萧大心) during Chow Dynasty. Later on, the descendants of Xiao He(蕭何)(the first prime minister of Han Dynasty)during the Han Wu Ti period(汉武帝时期); Xiao Biao(萧彪) and his family moved to Langling(兰陵), now Fungsien(峰县) of Shandong province(山东省) due to some political problem. Xiao people is also called themselves from Langling, sometime they are called Langling Xiao (“兰陵萧”).

Another mass movement of Xiao people came during Western Jin Dynasty "Yongjia Rebellion"(西晋永嘉之乱), Xiao Chen(萧整)moved to Danyang(江苏省丹阳市). The descendants of Danyang Xiao(丹阳萧氏) later found two dynasty, Xiao Daocheng (萧道成) found the Southern Ji (南齐)dynasty and become the emperor; and Xiao Yan (萧衍) found the Southern Liang dynasty(南梁)and became the emperor.

During Tang dynasty(唐朝), there were 8 Xiao people appointed as prime ministers.

During Southern Song dynasty(南宋), Xiao Guoliang(萧国梁) is the pioneer of Zhangzhou, Fujian Province Xiao people(福建漳州萧氏的开基始祖)。His grandson, Xiao Xun (萧洵)was the county magistrate of Chaoyang(潮阳), Guangdong. He become the founder of Chaoyangxiao(潮阳萧氏的开基始祖). There were Xiao moved across the sea to Taiwan island.

During Yuan dynasty, Xiao people move from Jiangxi(江西) to Guangdong, Meizhou(广东梅州)& Dapu(大埔). They are mainly the Hakka Xiao.

In early Ming dynasty, there were declining population in the north China & central(中原地区)due to the wars. The Ming government in order to increase the population ,and to start the economic recovery in these war torn area, organized many large scale forced mass migration to the area. From the area less affected by the war in Shanxi Province, moved to the war torn less populated area of the North and Central China. The people are ordered to move to a location near "the tree"(大槐树),and ready for the family migration. The Shanxi-xiao are also included in the large concentration of "immigrants under the tree"(在大槐树下集中移民), which were moved to Henan, Shandong, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shanxi and other places. Today, Xiao people still dedicated to their ancestor of the "immigrants under the tree", the memorial tablets (萧姓迁民始祖牌位) at the fourth cabinet of the memorial hall at the "large tree roots memorial garden" (大槐树寻根祭祖园祭祖堂四号供橱).

During Ming dynasty, many of the Xiao family from the armies also moved into the Yunnan(云南), they become the pioneer of Yunanxiao(云南萧氏)

During Ming (明朝)and Qing dynasty(清朝), there were also mass migration of Xiao people from Jiangxi(江西)to Sichuan(四川). This was especially end of both Yuan(元末) & Ming (明末)dynasty,where there were two major revolution wars. The historian called the process of mass migration as "Jiangxi filled Huguang, Huguang filled Sichuan"("江西填湖广,湖广填四川"). Huguang is the province of Hunan & Kwangtung. According to historical materials, from the beginning of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong years, Xiao had huge wave of millions people moved to Sichuan.

At the end of the Qing Dynasty(清朝), Chinese begin the labour migration to other countries, and Xiao people also later traveled/moved to all over the world e.g. Vietnam,Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia. There were also migration from Fujian province to Taiwan.

During the civil war in Modern China, Xiao people (especially from Fujian) moved to Taiwan with Kok Ming Tang armies. In Taiwan, Xiao live primarily in the cities and counties of Changhua(彰化), Chiayi(嘉义), Taipei(台北), Kaohsiung(高雄)and Taoyuan(桃园).Today, Xiao is the 30th-most common surname in Taiwan's total population.

Xiao surname is the top 20 surname in China.The World Congress of Xiao people will be held in Chaoyang(潮阳),Kwangtung, China in 2009.

All Xiao people should know the history of Xiao,it is part of a classic history of ancient China. There were famous emperor, prime ministers, scholars, generals etc.

Simplified Chinese problem

The traditional surname 蕭 is currently represented by three different characters derived from traditional Chinese (蕭), simplified Chinese (萧), and the rescinded second-round simplified Chinese (肖). Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan maintain traditional Chinese characters and therefore write 蕭. In mainland China, which uses simplified Chinese, most linguistics agree the surname should be written as 萧.[1] However, many people in mainland China still have 肖 as their surname in their legal documents for historical reasons (see below). In mainland China, people may regard them as two separate surnames. However, in circumstances where traditional Chinese is used, e.g. in cross-strait relations, this may lead to confusion.

People have been writing the surname 肖 for simplicity for long, but the form was considered informal and should not be used in formal texts. However, the second-round Chinese simplification established 肖 as the standard form. When the second-round simplification was rescinded in 1984, some people restored their surname in legal documents to the traditional writing form, but some others did not.

Other surnames do not have similar problems. For example, was simplified to a character with 广 and 了 combined in the second-round simplification. All people have restored to use 廖 after its rescindment because the latter is no longer considered a valid character and cannot be typed into the computer. However, 肖, which has other meanings, is still valid so some people has continued to use this form even in legal documents.

(Note: This portion is not by me)

Famous people

Famous people named Xiao include:

  • Xiao He(蕭何), one of the most highly regarded statesmen in Chinese history, and the first Prime Minister of the Han Dynasty.
  • Seow Poh Leng
  • Xiao Hong (traditional Chinese: 蕭紅), Chinese writer (1911 – 1942)
  • Seow Sieu Jin
  • Xiao Ke(simplified Chinese: 萧克), general in the PLA of China
  • Elva Hsiao, Taiwanese singer
  • Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwanese legislator
  • William Hsiao, American economist
  • Vincent Siew (traditional Chinese: 蕭萬長), Vice President of the Republic of China
  • Francis Seow , a Singapore-born political dissident who is in exile from Singapore after lawsuits by the former Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew. Seow is currently a United States citizen, and a University Fellow based in the Department of Asian Studies at Harvard University.
  • Xiao Yau Tien 萧遥天, Malaysian academician, author, & cultural expert on teocheiw culture(东南亚潮人一枝花).
  • Siu Fong Fong or Josephine Siao, Siao Liang(萧芳芳, 原名萧亮), A MBE is a Hong Kong movie star who became popular as a child and continued her success as a mature actress, winning numerous awards including best actress at the 1995 Berlin Film Festival. Since retiring from show business she has become a writer and a psychologist, known for her work against child abuse.

(Note: The above portion only 萧遥天 & 萧芳芳 are contributed by me. As for Francis Seow, it may be by me but forgotten when.)

There are a long list of famous personalities, both ancient and current, some are emperor, prime minister, scholar, general , it is a long list , difficult to post in the blog. Xiao is an ancient surname, it has long history. For people with the surname of Xiao, you should be proud of it, and live your life to continue the glory of your ancesters.


  1. you maybe know that jiang zeming(江泽民),but his really surname is also hsiao.if you understand chinese,you can read this:



  2. Yes, I knew that, hey where are you from?
    Are you from Xiao family?