Young Chinese have trouble with lasting relationships

  1. I thought this was an interesting article:

    Breaking up not hard to do for China's "me" generation

    By Chen Aizhu Tue Nov 27, 7:27 PM ET

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Ten months after they tied the knot, Li Lei and Wang Yang, both 20-something Chinese professionals, decided it was time to break up so they could spend more time with their lovers.

    They signed on the dotted line on their divorce paper less than 20 minutes after answering "no" to a few key questions -- "Do you have kids?" and "Any disputes on property?"
    China's phenomenal economic growth has created a generation of "emperors" and "empresses," the now-adult children of China's one-child policy, who often put their needs before anything and anyone else.
    Experts say many of this generation are unable to sustain relationships, a result of being spoilt only children, doted on by parents and grandparents who catered to their every whim.
    "They are weak in horizontal bonding, communicating with the same generation," said Professor Fucius Yunlan, a U.S.-trained psychiatrist who runs counseling sessions in Beijing.
    "They tend to apply a vertical approach to horizontal relationships."
    With an enlarged sense of entitlement, some of these couples tend to part quickly. Counselors say some marriages fall apart after a week or a few months.
    China launched the controversial one-child policy in the early 1980s to curb its population, now over 1.3 billion.
    The restrictions, which vary from city to countryside, caused a variety of social problems such as a fast-ageing society and a breakdown of family values which used to be based on the traditional Confucian ideal of a large and close family.


    The problem of grown only children having difficulties sustaining relationships is particularly pronounced among the affluent middle-and upper-classes who have accumulated enormous wealth from China's economic success.
    Divorce figures in some cities show about one-third of all divorce cases involve children of the affluent "me" generation.
    Brought up in China's economic and social turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s, many parents buried themselves in work to build a better life as the country underwent dizzying economic growth over the past two decades just as their kids reached their teens.
    "They ignored the emotional education of their children," explained Prof. Fucius.
    But in many cases, these parents showered their children with everything that money could buy as well as the emotional weight of high expectations for their only children.
    Lu Qingyi, an economist and a day trader at the booming Chinese stock market, has set money aside to finance a car and a business for his 21-year-old son who is now thinking of aborting a finance degree in London to open a coffee shop in Beijing.
    "Actually I've prepared a contingent fund for him in case he fails in the first business," Lu added. "But of course I keep it hush-hush."


    Marriages among China's elite often seem to be more about amassing wealth than nurturing relationships, observers suggest. When a partner with better prospects comes along, some couples such as Li Lei and Wang Yang think nothing of breaking up.
    It's a lifestyle that contrasts sharply to that of their parents who viewed marriage as a duty and divorce a shame.
    "You will never ever find any trace in this generation of how we felt in the old days, guys didn't even dare touch a girl's fingers before marriage," said Gary Xu, 55, a Red Guard in Mao Zedong's chaotic Cultural Revolution who spent his teen years herding buffalo in the remote southwest.
    In Xu's time, when youths studied Marxism and dreamed of becoming model workers, pre-marital sex could cost one a treasured job at a state-run factory or expulsion from a prestigious university.
    Marriage was about a couple working together to earn a television set, a bicycle, or a fridge.
    "Kids today start their relationship right from the bed," said Xu. "It's a completely new generation."
    These days, cohabitation is commonplace and extra-marital sex is gaining acceptance. A new car, preferably a foreign brand, and a two-bedroom apartment, or at least a down payment on an apartment, is essential in a new marriage among the well-to-do.
    Parents also feed the idea of marrying into "the right family" with a sound financial and political standing.
    "If you marry into a rich and powerful family, you don't need to plan anything as everything will be set for you smoothly and perfectly," said a secretary, who asked not to be named.
    "It will be a comfortable life. Why should we endure a hard life?"
    The tens of millions of poor people in China's impoverished rural areas are too preoccupied with trying to eke out a living on incomes as low as $80 per year to mimic the mores of the affluent.
    But in the big cities, experts are seeing a sharp shift in social values among 20-somethings from the wealthy elite and fast-expanding middle class.
    "This generation faces a completely different set of reality versus their parents," explained Professor Fucius. "They are very much self-oriented, not others-oriented or social-oriented."
    "Their parents listen to what the superiors, tradition and other people have to say. They listen to themselves."
    (Editing by Nick Macfie and Megan Goldin)
  2. I remember my geography teacher once held a discussion about this with our class. He called them China's 'Super Brats' and I really couldn't agree more. I've met some of them and this one girl bragged that she was allowed to pee on her dad when he carried her on his shoulders.:tdown:
  3. WTH?! :wtf: How old is this girl? That's seriously disgusting.
  4. I know, right? When I met her she was in college. When she did this to her dad she was like, 6 or 7 or something. It disgusted me to no end.

    Oh, she also said that her mom received a dark green ostrich Hermes Kelly from business friends once and that she ordered her mom to give it away because it was 'ugly' and she did. Gross, huh?
  5. Wow, unreal!

    Makes me glad I have so many siblings and DH also had many sibs too... he was already broken in when I got him!

    Sad. I'd hate to know what it is like when they get old and all their friends and what little family they have left treats them.
  6. As someone who is Chinese, I find this article completely off-its-rocker insane. The individuals in this article are by no means representative of the whole, and in fact, are rare: divorce in China is still considerered somewhat embarrassing so its simply not done on the scale it is in the U.S. And it's a bit rich for us Americans, whose divorce rate is 50%, to find it bizarre that the Chinese are beginning to divorce as well.

    Wealthy people will always behave differently and by different standards: what happens between extremely rich Chinese couples is not dissimiliar to what happens between, let's say, Ron Perleman and Ellen Barkin, or other like couples.

    As for this only child, thing, there's another side, too: the Chinese are very hell-bent on seeing their children succeed which is why their parents make enormous sacrafices to ensure their children are educated, etc. You do not see parents in China driving Mercede-Benzes but making their kids take out loans for college. To be an only child is to carry the entire burden of making your family proud. Simply not having siblings does not turn one into a brat. I do not have siblings, and I certainly don't feel like I'm a rampaging idiot as the people in this article are depicted to be.

    Furthermore and pardon the bolding, but I find it so ridiculous that people don't know this: You can have more than one child in China. It is totally okay. All you have to do is pay higher taxes. There are many families, especially in big cities like Shanghai, that have more than one child. Nobody is going to take your baby or force you into an abortion there. They are Chinese people, not crazy people.

    There are two sides of the coin where only one is represented in this article. People are PEOPLE regardless of whether they are American or Chinese: they have nuances, they have complex relationships, and they have histories and futures that cannot be boiled down to the simple facts of whether or not they have siblings, or are rich, or are divorced. This article is oversimplified and silly.

  7. THANK YOU!!! I totally agree, you couldn't have said it better. This trend is happening almost everywhere, especially with the rich. The difference here is that this is like the opposite of what their parents or what we believe the "traditional Chinese" did is so it catches more attention.
  8. IntlSet, I really liked your post!
  9. Thanks for pointing out that you can have more than one child in China. Based on the article, I would not have known that.

    I also must add that as I was reading the article, I was thinking - so, now some Chinese youth are becoming more like spoiled upper class American youth - maybe like the ones you see on OC or whatever - but we don't see articles talking about Amercan youth's many problems. Maybe because nobody expects very much from them? I think it's sad that the pursuit of material goods to the detriment of relationships is becoming more prevalent even in more traditional societies.
  10. You said it better than I would have :woohoo:

  11. I have to disagree what a lot of what you're saying. I'm also Chinese- born in Shanghai- and I've spent 3 full summers there. A lot of what the article is saying IS true. The "emperor" syndrome is in full effect. While the parents obviously do push the children very hard and have high expectations, a lot of the children are spoiled - and at least, very immature emotionally. I'm the 2nd to the youngest out of 8 cousins on my dad's side, and every kept commenting on how i was so much more mature than the rest both emotionally, and in dealing with adults.

    I can't speak for the rest of the country, but this article seems pretty accurate for Shanghai. And very very few people have more than one children. The 1 child policy was enforced in 1982, i think, so if they're older than that, then they might have siblings. The new policy is that you may have 2 children IF you're BOTH only children. While no on there would be forced to have an abortion, you can lose your job, as well as be very heavily taxed- and your husband may lose his job or be demoted. The only way this would be possible is if you were very rich and had your own private business- which was impossible until recently- before, all the businesses were tied to the government.

    Yes, a lot of upper class in other places, including the US have the same problems, but I don't think the article is saying that it's worse there, only that it's distinctly different from the China of the past.
  12. I know this article is geared towards Chinese, but you could say that about other nationalities too.

    But I don't know about the peeing girl. What reason was given for this? Because he was too lazy to take her to the restroom? Is that a custom? LOL
  13. Why would she even think about humilating her father by peeing on him? Talk about disrespect! :yucky: These people need to be spending alot of their money on a mental health professional.
  14. Basically she was so spoiled that she was almost never reprimanded for doing anything wrong. I mean, she was smart and her parents did push her (she went to a very good college in the US) and her family was and still is very wealthy and powerful in China. Her father held a very good position as an official and she often bragged about this too. In my entire life I had never met anyone quite like her and hope to stay away from people like her too. I wasn't trying to generalize the younger Chinese generation (I'm Chinese myself but have only ever lived in Hong Kong and Toronto) but this example sprang to mind because she really was one of the worst people I've ever met.

    She had the ability to make her parents to whatever she wanted, even if that meant urinating on her dad's shoulders or forcing her mom to give up a $30,000 bag! I honestly didn't think that people like her existed but they do.

    Also, some kids in China are treated 'so well' that they can't walk until they are 4 or 5 because the mom was too 'worried about the dangers of letting a baby crawl on the dirty ground' (they live in a MANSION with a maid for EVERYTHING!). IntlSet has some good points but so does the article and ChinaDoll.
  15. ITA with IntlSet! This is a completely oversimplified article, stereotyping on multiple levels, and NOT specific to Chinese. This is not 'news.' :tdown: