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Tough for one-child generation
Updated: 2004-11-29 11:40

Skin care, four times a month: 500 yuan (US$61). Clothes and accessories: 300 to 800 yuan a month. Hairstyle, twice a month: 300 to 600 yuan. Mobile phone costs: 200 yuan. Food and transport: 600 yuan.

These are the bills for Fang Wei, 22, in North China¡¯s Shanxi Province. Fang is now an employee of a private company in Taiyuan, capital city of Shanxi.

Although her 2,200 yuan monthly salary is above average in the province and she does not need to pay rent, Fang, the only child in her family, always finds it difficult to make ends meet at the end of every month.

"The one-child generation has no idea of thrift," said Xing Yuan, professor of sociology at the Shanxi University.

Xing said many new graduates from universities tended to squander their salaries and then live in poverty or depend on their parents.

Fang is typical of the "one-child" generation born in the 1980s, when the Chinese Government adopted a family planning policy to control the country¡¯s population growth.

These children are usually known as "Little Emperors," and critics describe them as the "dictators" in the family. Now, 20 years on, the "emperors" have begun to enter the workforce. Their new life style and values are causing shock waves in traditional society which values hard work and thrift.

Because most of them are the only child in the family, they had overprotective parents and did not know the hardships of life. Sociologists say this generation is weaker in practical skills, has less sense of responsibility and is lazier.

However, the "post-80s" are modern, open-minded, worldly and confident, sociologists say.

They had higher education, cherished greater awareness of democracy and law, and were more capable of using computers, said Wang Xianzhong, director of the occupation-guiding center at Shanxi University.

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