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王某,李某 are the words often appearing in news reports of Chinese language media, they roughly mean so-and-so if I am not wrong, but why do news media use such ambiguous terms to make news reporting? Like in an English language media, we cannot say President So-and-so of the US. How is 某 used properly with names?

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~某 is only used when the person in question is one of insignificance, or when their identity is not to be disclosed (e.g. in legal documents). Such usage is either derogatory or protective of their privacy. So we may say

被告人王某 defendant Wang

but never

*A市市長陳某 Mayor of City A, Chen

Edit (based on Tang Ho's comments): a special case is when ~某 is used unto oneself by oneself for humility. In Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義), after the Battle of Chibi (赤壁之戰) where Cao Cao (曹操) lost, Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮) sent Guan Yu (關羽) to guard Huarong Pass (華容道) to ambush Cao Cao's retreating troops. Guan Yu was once under Cao Cao, but they are now in opposing camps. When Cao Cao arrived, Guan Yu said to him (humbly),

奉軍師將令,等候丞相多時。
I followed the orders of my military advisor (Zhuge Liang) and have waited for you the Prime Minister (Cao Cao) for long.

Of course his letting Cao Cao go is another story.

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  • How about: "我何某( short for 何某人 or 姓何的) 從不強人所難"? Adding 何某/ 姓何的 after 我 sound like an emphasis on myself, to make '我' in '我從不強人所難' more prominent
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 11 at 2:48
  • @TangHo I guess that belongs to humble speech (謙辭). Humility is achieved by considering oneself as being 'insignificant' (for lack of a better word).
    – L Parker
    Jun 11 at 3:03
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    Yeah, saying "I, whose last name is Ho" instead of stating my full name does imply my full name is not important enough to be disclosed. If I use my full name, (addressing myself in the third person) then it would make 我 more prominent. However, 姓何的 (no 我) also address myself in the third person
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 11 at 3:10
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    Indicating a person with a three-character name uses ~某某 or ~某~ sometimes.
    – Alan Zzz
    Jun 11 at 22:09

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