Traditionally, Chinese given names have one or two characters, and are written AFTER the family name. Sometimes the first character of a Chinese given name is a generation name, a name shared by all members of a particular generation within an extended family.
Males are often given names which are linked to strength and firmness and females to names associated with beauty and flowers. Chinese children are never named after a famous person or an elder in the family as this is considered offensive.
Full names are used to address someone informally, and a salutation along with the family name is used to address someone formally. For example, Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets would be addressed as Yao Ming informally and Mr. Yao formally.
Some Chinese people who emigrate to or do business in Western nations, reverse the order of their names as a way of Westernizing their names. For example the cellist and composer Yo-Yo Ma, whose family name is Ma.