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Survey: People Are Losing Touch with Tradition
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The new generation of Chinese are not as well-mannered as their forefathers, and Western festivals are exerting a negative influence on traditional Chinese ones, according to a survey.

The survey, jointly conducted by the China Xiaokang magazine, and, interviewed 13,580 people online.

More than 95 percent of the respondents said Chinese people must retain their traditional customs and manners.

Nearly half (45 percent) admitted they knew nothing about the origins and meanings of traditional festivals. And 66 percent said they knew little about the etiquette to be observed at weddings, funerals and memorial services.

Half of those polled said foreign festivals such as Christmas and Valentine's Day were becoming more important than some Chinese traditional festivals.

"I was astonished to hear a young man remembering the names of Hollywood blockbusters but ignorant about the Chinese classics," said Ji Baocheng, president of Renmin University of China in a forum last December.

"We've got to reflect on what is missing in our education system," he said.

More than 93 percent of respondents said Chinese people should promote the cultural value of traditional festivals such as the lantern and dragon boat festivals.

And nearly 90 percent agreed that the country should have its own national costumes for important occasions.

Although 88 percent believed traditional culture and etiquette should be part of compulsory lessons at school, only 2.8 percent said they had received such lessons.

Nearly half of the respondents blamed lack of good manners by drivers as the reason for worsening traffic jams rather than poor traffic management and facilities.

Most people want the government to promote traditional culture and etiquette, the survey showed.

More than half believed that "government promotion" would help bring back the good old days when people were polite and law abiding.

(China Daily February 23, 2007)

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