China is undergoing a sexual revelation with a difference as surging numbers of newly wed couples in urban areas spurn the chance to have children.
Nearly 600,000 dinky -- double income, no kids -- families have appeared in China's large and medium-sized cities, including one in every 10 households in the capital.
Traditionally Chinese couples have a child soon after marriage. But this is being challenged by new social trends arising from China's economic development.
Experts point out that the traditional Chinese family is giving way to new arrangements, such as dinkies, as young people are becoming more independent and their living conditions are improving.
The phenomenon is being spurred on by the rising employment rate of women. More Chinese women, who traditionally stayed home to keep house and raise their children, have taken up paid jobs.
The increasing expense of raising children has also lessened the desire for children.
Gu Ying and Zheng Zhiyi, who are still college students, said that they would not consider having a child for at least five years into their marriage.
"Our generation is in fact shackled to our parents. They undertook a great responsibility in bringing us up and worrying about our education and jobs until we get married," said Zheng.
"However, I don't think we can undertake such responsibility, because we are facing fiercer competition and we have more choices over our future."
A survey conducted in February shows that in Beijing, one in every 10 couples chooses not to have a child.
Of these dinky families, 39 percent said raising children took too much time and affected the quality of their lives; 18.6 percent did not want children for economic reasons; and 16.7 percent said they were too busy with work to have children.
Moreover, nearly 70 percent of those surveyed believed that the number of China's dinkies would continue to increase.
Sun Zhongxin, a professor at the Sociology Department of Fudan University in Shanghai, said the rise in dinky families indicated that the Chinese possessed more independence in marriage, and the links that traditionally held a family together were being weakened.
(China Daily August 21, 2002)