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The war between the 80s and the 90s
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Children. Children. Stop that bickering. Grow up. You're both flowers of the nation, so call a truce and work together for China.

Easier said than done. What's a parent to do? What's the younger generation coming to? Feuding continues online.

An Internet war of words is raging between China's younger generations - the 1980s and the 1990s - commonly known as the "Strawberries" (pretty and easily bruised, also the "little emperors") and, for purposes of this article, the "Jellies" (colorful, insubstantial gelatin desserts).

The Jellies are commonly called the "non-mainstream" generation. The outlook includes individualistic views like "I can live by myself."

This article is about some - by no means all - of the two generations of young people, overwhelmingly urban. It is based on Internet research and interviews with 40 young people - 20 Strawberries and 20 Jellies.

This furor and Internet slug fest is passionate and sometimes nasty, though comic at times. It has even reached the mainstream media, television and newspapers. There are Strawberry salvos, Jelly rejoinders.

It's about values and identity, who's patriotic and responsible, who's spoiled and pampered. Both sides online are outspoken and defiant.

Han Han, a famous young writer and race driver, is labeled as a post-80s idol. [File photo]

The feud sheds light on China's young people who grew up in the period of opening up and reform that began in 1978. The 1980s generation - the Strawberries - knew China before rampant consumerism; many in the 1990s - the Jellies - have known only abundance, and many of the outspoken Jellies are arrogant in their affluence.

The Strawberries were the original rebels, the "egocentric kids" and Chinese "beats" with wild and crazy ideas, dabbling in new values.

Now they see the Jellies as "self-centered and irresponsible, materialistic, spoiled brats."

The Jellies, on the other hand, see the Strawberries as "ho-hum has-beens, out-of-date." They see themselves as the future of China, glittering and upbeat.

Retired English teacher Paul Wang has taught both the 1980s and 1990s students and worries more about kids today.

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