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146011.  Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:05 am Reply with quote

In October 2006, 11 people were arrested for hugging in the street in Shanghai, and charged with “not having a hugging licence.” The eleven - who were offering “free hugs to passers-by” - were part of a campaign to “melt the coldness in people’s hearts.” The campaign spread throughout China via internet chat rooms. In southern cities the authorities were “understanding, even approving,” but in “strait-laced Beijing” huggers were nicked.

S: Morning Star, 20 Nov 06.

(The same article reports that 85.5% of Chinese now consider themselves middle class, according to a survey by Nanjing University sociologists. This could contrast amusingly with a recent survey which claimed that almost all Britons consider themselves working-class. One explanation: the official Chinese definition of a middle-class family is one earning 60,000 Yuan (£5,000) a year; this is said to be “a very low figure.” The reporter quoted a Beijing resident as explaining that in China the ideal is “one family, two systems.” One partner works for the government - and thus accommodation, health and pension are taken care of - while the other has a higher-paid job with a private company. Thus, having the best of both worlds, they consider themselves comfortably middle-class.)


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