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OCTOBER 23, 2000 VOL. 156 NO. 16


Punk band The Flowers -- think Hanson with Chinese characteristics -- are rocking in Beijing

Young and Restless
Kids' tastes change as fast in China as anywhere else. Here's a look at what's hot now:

LIFT-OFF
China's aspiring It-girls are just as enamored of gam-glamoUr as their peers elsewhere in Asia. But while they take their fashion cues from Japan—from towering, platformed heels to shocking blond hair and Hello Kitty paraphernalia—they buy their fashion goods from cheaper neighbor Korea. Wares from Seoul fill the Huawei Department Store in Beijing and clothing stalls in cities up and down China's coast. Not as fresh as the real thing, but no worse than the ubiquitous fake Prada bag

FLOWER POWER
The Flowers are in full bloom in Beijing. The punk trio—think Hanson with Chinese characteristics—has won over kids who normally favor syrupy Canto-crooners with peppy, offbeat lyrics about the woes of urban youngsters. Known as Huar in Beijing patois, the band has earned plaudits from rock icon Cui Jian, as well as the 2000 CCTV-MTV award for rock band of the year

RAG TRADE
When they're not reading fervid potboilers like Shanghai Baby, Chinese kids are perusing a new wave of funky, chaotic teen magazines. one such mag, Cawaii/Boys Rush, buys its pages from the better-known Japanese magazine of the same name. Cawaii/Boys Rush, geared to kids aged 15 to 19, sold 88,000 copies of its debut issue early last year; The $2.50 publication now has a circulation of 150,000. two other editions aim for older kids with a similar mix of articles: tips on health, fashion, beauty and dating, all told with a breathless abandon that transcends borders

VIDEO STAR
The host of MTV Mandarin's most popular show, Li Xia is a Muslim hipster from far western Xinjiang province. for the past two years her Tian Lai Cun (Sounds From Heaven)—an hour-long grab bag of videos, news segments and artist profiles—has given MTV a foothold on the mainland. in shanghai last month, a quarter of all young adults tuned in. Li has built a devoted following with her flirty, rapid-fire banter and bewitching looks. now she's branching out, producing her own entertainment program for another channel

BODY ART
Sting and Trudie donned them on their wedding day. They embellished Madonna's yoga-honed extremities on her Frozen video, and they have graced the lissome limbs of celebs from Daisy Fuentes to Demi Moore. Henna tattoos are not new as a fad, or even as an art: they've been a traditional feature of Hindu bridal adornment for centuries, and Egyptians first sported them 5,000 years ago. But that hasn't stopped Chinese, mostly young women, from flocking to salons where the low-commitment (they only last three weeks) and high-impact decorations can be had for as little as $10

TEA PARTY
Oolong, Long Jing, Tieguanyin ... These days, all the tea in China can't compete with Big Boob Milk Tea (Boba Naicha). Originally from Taiwan, the drink—a concoction of sweetened tea, milk and chewy balls of tapioca—is technically known as Precious Pearl Milk Tea (Zhenzhu Naicha). But the kids who guzzle the brew through wide-mouthed, technicolor straws—in imaginatively decorated shops that bristle with forests of plastic trees and rope swings for seats—prefer its raunchier nickname. The fad first took off in Taipei teashops, later migrating to Hong Kong before taking the mainland by storm earlier this year

ZZ TOPS
Twenty-year-old actress Zhang Ziyi has the kind of screen presence that makes the eyes of film directors and advertising execs stand out on stalks. As if being handpicked by Zhang Yimou for her first movie wasn't enough, she subsequently appeared In Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in which she stole the spotlight from her charismatic co-stars, Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh. Now Everyone from Leslie Cheung to Tony Leung, from Wong Kar-wai to Joan Chen, are clamoring to work with her. After she completes her next goal—learning English—Zhang could be China's most famous female export since Gong Li

BATTLE STATIONS
The art of war has gone virtual in China. The most popular cd-rom games among teens are those that allow an armchair soldier to take over the world with a deft click of the mouse. A particular favorite is Cross straits justice, where bloodthirsty gamers can launch China's aging naval fleet (which looks much better on-screen) against renegade province Taiwan, dodging pixelated U.S. aircraft carriers and fighter-bombers all the way

Write to TIME at mail@web.timeasia.com

society ALSO IN YOUNG CHINA: SOCIETY
What's Hot: The fads du jour among urban youth

Getting High: Ecstasy becomes the urban drug of choice

Not Out: A gay musician says society is still homophobic

Overseas Assignment: One Beijing school prepares most of the thousands of students who want to enrol in the U.S.

Getting Into the Top Schools: Tips from an expert

Country Girl: A villager moves to the big, bad city

Getting Green: Activists seeking to avert an environmental disaster are tapping the ranks of the very young

Love Is in the Web: Our reporter logs on to find Mr. Right

Role Models: Kids don't look up only to Bill Gates

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