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A Change in Greetings Hails Social Development in China

Source:Xinhua Published:2021-08-29 16:38

Besides saying "Chi le me?" which means "Have you eaten?" in English, a form of greeting that prevailed for generations, more Chinese now tend to start a conversation concerning traveling.

"Bothered by the pandemic, people would naturally congratulate each other for a nice trip or look forward to one, asking questions like -- Have you been vaccinated? Where have you gone on the weekends? Do they need a nucleic acid report?" said 28-year-old Xie Rui, a white-collar in Shanghai.

Though it is still more than a month away from China's week-long National Day holiday, often regarded as the "Golden Week" for tourism and consumption boom, the daily topics of Xie and his friends have been all about travel.

"I have a border collie. What I'm concerned about most is which hotels, restaurants and resorts allow pets," he said.

"The change in forms of greetings is inseparable from social development and reflects social changes," said Zhu Ye, deputy dean of the Research Center for Language Planning and Policy Studies under State Language Commission of China.

Eating has long been given priority by most Chinese people, making "Chi le me?" or "Have you eaten?" appear more often in daily conversations, said Zhu, adding that as the country has won the battle against poverty through persistent efforts, people would consequently pursue higher material and cultural aspirations.

"Tourism has become a new trend for Chinese people to enhance life quality. The change in greeting forms signifies China's national development and the continuous improvement of the lives of the Chinese people," he said.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that China's Engel's coefficient, which measures food expenditures as a proportion of total household spending, dropped to 28.2 percent in 2019, down 14 percentage points from 2000. The measurement for urban people stood at 27.6 percent, down 11 percentage points from 2000, while the figure for rural residents was 30 percent, a decline of 18.3 percentage points.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly curtailed the pace of travel in China and slowed outbound tourism, the effective anti-pandemic measures across the country have brought domestic travel and short trips under the spotlight.

According to the report of the China Tourism Academy (CTA), Chinese people made 2.36 billion domestic trips in the first half of 2021, up by 153 percent from the same period in 2020. Domestic tourism revenue stood at 1.95 trillion yuan (about 301 billion U.S. dollars) during this period, up by 208 percent year on year.

Tang Xiaoyun, CTA's vice president, said about 60 percent of the interviewed respondents believe the anti-pandemic efforts and the health barrier formed by vaccination will stimulate the demand for tourism and leisure consumption in the second half of 2021.

Nowadays, Chinese people still take their diets seriously -- though the focus has changed from "being full" to "eating well."

Even hit by the pandemic, the coffee industry in Shanghai still thrives, with the number of cafes in the metropolis reaching about 7,000, with each person consuming around 20 cups of coffee every year, said data from the first Shanghai Coffee Culture Week that was held in March.

"We still like to take the perfect snaps at internet-famous cafes, bistros, bars and restaurants in Shanghai. After all, food, beauty and friends are equally important," Xie said.

Editor:Zhao Hanqing