HONG KONG — Like every Chinese child, Li Hanwei spent her schooldays memorising tens of thousands of the intricate characters that make up the Chinese writing system.
Yet aged just 21 and now a university student in Hong Kong, Li already finds that when she picks up a pen to write, the characters for words as simple as "embarrassed" have slipped from her mind.
"I can remember the shape, but I can?t remember the strokes that you need to write it," she says. "It?s a bit of a problem."
Surveys indicate the phenomenon, dubbed "character amnesia", is widespread across China, causing young Chinese to fear for the future of their ancient writing system.
Young Japanese people also report the problem, which is caused by the constant use of computers and mobile phones with alphabet-based input systems.
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