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Kissing Contest Courts Controversy
Updated: 2004-02-12 10:59

A kissing contest planned for Valentine's Day in north China's Tianjin Municipality is courting controversy in a country where displays of romantic affection are traditionally kept private.

The contest, organized by a supermarket called "Everybody is Happy", will be held on Feb. 14. The couple making the longest kiss will win 2,000 yuan (US$240).

The supermarket started to take contestants' registrations on Tuesday.

But the contest has aroused love-it or hate-it responses from customers.

Most senior and middle-aged customers consider the contest inappropriate and a violation of the Chinese tradition of modesty.

However, young people are more open to the novelty of demonstrating their love publicly.

A university student surnamed Wang said that kissing was as common as shaking hands nowadays.

"I will definitely sign up for the contest if I have a girlfriend," said Wang, who considers kissing a common practice among couples.

Sociologists said the contest would reveal people's private lives to the public and should be held cautiously.

Although hotly debated, the contest will go ahead as long as there are couples wanting to participate, said a spokesman for the supermarket.

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