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Young Chinese keen on day of love, middle-aged doubt
Updated: 2004-02-15 08:52

It is Valentine's Day afternoon on the Wangfujing pedestrian street, the capital's most bustling commercial street, and the most frequently-met scene is girls carrying a bundle of roses, happily walking with their lovers.

One stem of red roses was sold for 25 yuan here. "But red roses seem a little bit out-dated, I prefer the blue ones," said a girl with dyed-yellow curly hair and trendy make-up, while her boyfriend was buying a 180-yuan blue rose for her.

"The blue-colored roses seem the most popular gift for this Valentine's Day," a flower seller on the street told Xinhua, adding that "I sold more than 20 flowers within one hour, at the price of 180 for each."

Some young people preferred practical gifts. The outlet of "Swatch", a Swiss brand watch, was flocked by many young lovers. Its special set for this Valentine's Day -- a black watch for him,and a red one for her, cost altogether 996 yuan and had almost sold out.

"Our daily sales increased by about 10 percent, compared with the normal weekend," the manager of an outlet of "Only" -- an Europe-based women's clothes brand, told Xinhua, adding that many boys preferred to buy clothes for their girlfriends as Valentine's Day gift."

Besides shops, cinemas also enjoy good business on Valentine's Day. A ticket seller at the cinema attached to the State-owned Central Motion Movie Cooperation said "all cinema halls are full today and almost all the audience are young lovers."

She also claimed that the new Chinese movie "Baby in Love" was the most popular film in her cinema on Valentine's Day.

"I think that Valentine's Day is a good time for me to express my affection. I don't worry too much about the cost. This Valentine's day, I bought a box of chocolate worth 209 yuan and 99 roses for my girlfriend," said a man surnamed He, at the door of the cinema.

But middle-aged Chinese still lack the enthusiasm of young people toward the romantic festival.

Yang Bingxin, a middle-aged doctor, held that today's young Chinese pursue material love too much and "Valentine's Day is created just for commercial reasons."

"I think that we have our own traditional and modest way to express love. I seldom say 'I love you' to my wife and never bought roses for her but our affection permeates our daily life."

"Compared with our generation, today's young people prefer exaggerated ways to show their love. In my eyes, they are somewhatWesternized," said a lady surnamed Wang, around 40.

She also acknowledged that she even did not know which day was Valentine's Day before her 18-year-old son told her some days before.

Although some middle-aged people retained doubts about the exotic festival, the truth is China has increasingly embraced Valentine's Day, which is known as "Lover's Day" in Chinese, since it opened up to the outside world more than 20 years ago.

The holiday has also spread deep into China's interior. Last year, an enterprising shopping center in Nanchang city, Jiangxi Province, held a marathon kissing contest that garnered national attention

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