China Loosens Collar on Style

United Press International

High fashion, good food and the better things in life, once considered the epitome of bourgeois decadence, are taking China by storm, the official Xinhua News Agency said recently.

In a lengthy article describing the younger generations' more sophisticated tastes, Xinhua said many young people still "complain that their joie de vivre is stifled by superiors who regard Western suits and well-cut dresses as proof of moral degeneracy."

But communist puritanism is dying fast, the agency said.

Gone are the days, Xinhua continued, when ill-fitting, drab blue clothes were worn by both sexes and food was simply for filling the belly.

A recent poll reported in the magazine China Youth News showed that 70% of 2,000 factory workers in the industrial city of Wuhan preferred fashionable clothes, whereas the rule was once "the shabbier the more revolutionary," Xinhua said.

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