Wed, Mar 16, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Chinese urban youth warm to sex, cash

AFP , BEIJING

One-third of urban Chinese youth believe extramarital affairs and sex before marriage should be tolerated, while viewing premarital sex as "good" for married life, state press said yesterday.

In a survey of 1,040 men and women aged 23 to 26, 33 percent said they could tolerate extramarital affairs, while 34.8 percent said premarital sex was good for married life, the China Youth Daily reported.

The survey was conducted by the Beijing-based Parent's Reading magazine and surveyed youths in eight major cities.

The poll was aimed at getting an insight into the culture of youths born during China's "one child" family planning policy, implemented in the early 1980s and which limits most urban families to one child.

Although the survey results revealed that some marriage traditions continue to have strong roots among the country's youth, many attitudes are changing, the paper said.

Three-quarters of the respondents said marriage was indispensable to life, and 65 percent said they believed a marriage should last for life, while 64 percent said they considered the husband the pillar of the family.

But both men and women preferred marrying later than the traditional preference for the early 20s, with the average marrying age for men being 28 and the average age for women 27, the survey said.

Women also preferred to have a child at the age of 30, while 74.5 percent said they had no preference for either a boy or a girl.

Some 67 percent cited economic reasons for marrying late or having a child late.

The survey also looked into the economic habits of urban youth who grew up amid China's economic reforms that have changed the face of most cities.

It said youths were spending profusely on food, clothing and entertainment, while also maintaining a typical pragmatic view on making money.

Some 43 percent said that "human relationships are entirely profit-oriented," with only 29 percent opposing this view.

In addition, 63 percent said that life should be fun, an idea directly opposed by 13 percent.

Some 83 percent of respondents expressed hopes of becoming an "independent person," agreeing that attaining such a status would only come with a high level of education and a high income.

The survey found the average urban youth spends 1,274 yuan (US$154) a month, with 33 percent on food, 12 percent on clothing and cosmetics and 10.9 percent on entertainment.

Such high rates of consumption come in a country where the average urban wage is 8,000 to 9,000 yuan per year, the paper said.

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