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You Can Feel Better After Paying for an Online Service to Buy a Few Moments of Flattery in China

In fact, the enthusiasm has been such that even national media have warned of the dangers of relying on these virtual communities

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Accurate Map of China. Pixabay

If you are depressed for any reason, here is a chance in China to feel better after paying for an online service to buy a few moments of flattery — no matter what you think about yourself.

That is the idea behind “Kua Kua” groups, a phenomenon that has become very popular across China where depression and anxiety are on the rise.

Initially set up as communities in which university students encouraged each other amid academic pressure and little social activity, the Kua Kua (kua means to praise in Chinese) forums sprouted all over China after its social media success.

Efe news accessed one such forum, formed of about 500 students from the Jiaotong University of Xi’an, where, according to media, these groups originated.

“Hello. I have many problems when I try to do my job and that makes me sad. Can you cheer me up?”

In the next few minutes, several users responded with praises and messages of encouragement.

“That means you work with your heart and not superficially,” one message read.

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The Chinese flag is seen near the Google sign at the Google china headquarters in Beijing, China. VOA

“Fortune and misfortune depend on each other. Misfortune has already arrived, so happiness is closer,” said another.

“You face a lot of pressure but you do it bravely. Your attitude is positive. I like it,” the third one read.

However, not all groups are altruistic. Popular e-commerce platforms such as Taobao have seen proliferation of stores where those in need can rent for a few minutes an entourage of professional flatterers.

Xiao Ruichen is 27 and manages a Kua Kua and a Taobao shop.

“I found out in mid-March through Weibo (Chinese Twitter). It was very popular. So, I decided to make one of my own. Life is getting faster and people are on the verge of anxiety, anguish and depression,” he said.

“This service is very popular,” he said, adding people feel better after a session of flattery and “that makes me feel happy”.

Xiao charges 38 yuan ($5.7) for five minutes and 68 yuan for 10 minutes following which the client is removed from the forum.

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Although he preferred not to disclose how much money he earns each month, Xiao said that about 35 per cent of his income goes to the other members – more than a 100 college students whom he has selected under strict criteria such as writing speed or the ability to entertain clients.

According to figures offered by official media, the largest seller of accesses to these Kua Kua forums on Taobao may have earned more than 83,000 yuan in February.

In fact, the enthusiasm has been such that even national media have warned of the dangers of relying on these virtual communities. (IANS)

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Playing Game of Mahjong may be the Answer to Depression

Global economic and epidemiologic trends have led to significant increases in the burden of mental health among older adults

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Game, Mahjong, Depression
A study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine says that regularly playing the popular tile-based strategy game - mahjong - was one of several types of social participation linked to reduced rates of depression among middle-aged and older adults in China. Pixabay

When it comes to reducing depression risk among middle-aged and older adults in China, playing a game of mahjong may be the answer, according to new research.

A study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine says that regularly playing the popular tile-based strategy game – mahjong – was one of several types of social participation linked to reduced rates of depression among middle-aged and older adults in China.

“Global economic and epidemiologic trends have led to significant increases in the burden of mental health among older adults, especially in the low and middle income countries,” said study co-author Adam Chen, Associate Professor at University of Georgia.

Poor mental health is a major issue in China, which accounts for 17 per cent of the global disease burden of mental disorders.

Game, Mahjong, Depression
When it comes to reducing depression risk among middle-aged and older adults in China, playing a game of mahjong may be the answer, according to new research. Pixabay

For the study, the research team analysed survey data from nearly 11,000 residents aged 45 years and older from the nationally representative China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study.

They looked at symptoms of depression and compared it to the type and frequency of social participation, including visiting with friends, playing mahjong, participating in a sport or social club, and volunteering in the community.

They found that, on the whole, participating in a wide variety of activities more frequently was associated with better mental health.

Specifically, urban residents who played mahjong, a popular strategy game, were less likely to feel depressed.

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“What is more surprising is that mahjong playing does not associate with better mental health among rural elderly respondents. One hypothesis is that mahjong playing tends to be more competitive and at times become a means of gambling in rural China,” Chen added. (IANS)