HUFFINGTON POST
12/17/2012 01:21 pm ET

‘Hug Fee' Sparks Controversy At Chinese Kindergarten

Apparently in China, affection comes with a price.

A Chinese kindergarten has begun charging parents about $13 a month for their kids to receive daily hugs from teachers, according to RT.com.

The alleged “hug fee” of 80 yuan, or about $12.80, covers one hug in the morning and one hug at the end of the day. A Chinese blogger first wrote about the fee after discovering a friend's child had been charged by the Shangmao Kindergarten, located east of Yangzhou City.

According to the Digital Journal, parents had no idea that they were actually paying for their children to get hugged, as schools were disguising the charge as a "quality education fee.”

The fee is under investigation by the local school board, according to RT.com.

While some schools in China may be taking extra steps to ensure that students are hugged, other schools in the U.S. are doing just the opposite. A middle school principal in North Carolina recently banned hugs sparking a “hug-in” protest by the school’s eighth graders. Another middle school student in Florida was suspended from school after hugging her best friend in between classes.

Chinese schools apparently aren't alone in looking to turn a profit on the universal sign of affection. Jackie Samuel, a New York entrepreneur, has turned hugging into a business, charging $60 an hour for a between-the-sheets snuggle fest.

A Coca-Cola vending machine in Singapore says “Hug Me” and requires customers to give the machine a hug rather than money to get a Coke.

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