Dissatisfied with the pressure of modern life, the young Chinese “binds flat”

Some young adults in China are unhappy with the culture of long working hours, high housing prices and very high cost of living. Thus, young people are “lying flat” to express their anger. They rejected traditional goals like getting married, having children, buying a house or a car, and going the money-making route of business.

The lying flat movement is known as the tang ping in China. Chinese chat room Zhihu is filled with comments from young adults who have joined the movement. Posters on the site say they are choosing to earn less and buy less to live more simply. Tang ping is a rejection of the so-called “996” life in China, the usual practice to work from nine in the morning to nine in the evening, six days a week.

The government-owned China Daily reports that Chinese officials are concerned about the tang ping movement. The newspaper said the government has long linked higher education and employment to a wider social order.

Many universities 2020 graduates did not get a job because of COVID-19, reports the South China Morning Post. Now they are also competing with 2021 graduates for the job.

“I graduated from a major university in Nanjing with a degree in architecture two years ago, but I struggled to find a job and stayed there, “said Zhang, 24. He” sits flat “in rural southwestern Sichuan province.

Zhang asked VOA not to use just her last name for fear of attracting attention.

The young man said many of his friends are still trying to find their way around the big cities. But, he added, “they come home either with illnesses from overwork or with a mountain of debt.”

Lifestyle choice

Zhang chose to go to bed early. “It’s too difficult to buy a house and a car in the big cities. It is difficult to find someone to marry, and if you have kids, you have to to register in all kinds of activities to give them a an advance,” he said.

“So I choose my current lifestyle. Simple food, simple life,” he said.

The first online use of the term “lie flat” appeared in March on Chinese search engine Baidu.

The post read “Lying Flat Is Justice” and described a new way of life. The message rejected the need for the usual professional development of educated Chinese youth.

“You’re just lying flat. Lying flat at home, lying flat outside, lying flat like cats and dogs in the street. … I choose to lie down flat, and I am no longer stress, ” the poster wrote.

The post advised on how to work in temporary jobs and live on just $ 32 per month.

The China Banking News website reports that the average monthly earnings of Chinese university graduates in 2019 were just over $ 777.

The Chinese government reacted quickly to the tang ping. At the end of May, the Crown corporation World time published an opinion piece on the movement.

“Young people are the hope of this country, and neither their personal situation nor the situation of this country To allow “Collectively lie down flat,” the newspaper said.

Experts say the lie flat movement was born out of the inability to rise socially and economically. He said the current generation is in a different situation than their parents experienced as young adults.

Xie Fei, commentator on Chinese television from Zhejiang, said that young people “cannot expect explosive growth in wealth from their parents’ generation.”

According to 2017 information from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, people under the age of 35 have a high level of unstable employment and low income. One of the main findings of the survey is that university graduates in China have difficulty finding employment.

“Simply not sustainable”

Once graduates find jobs, many feel they are expected to work too many hours. VOA spoke with a 35-year-old banking professional in Beijing, who used the name Lucy Li.

“In our bank, the management will drop by unexpectedly around 8 pm to see who is still working,” she said. She added that those who stay late are the employees who receive promotions.

Jack Ma create e-commerce giant Alibaba and become a billionaire. He highly praised the Model 996 in an article on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Widely criticized, the post was later deleted.

Earlier this year, the deaths of two employees of the Chinese online market Pinduoduo led to a discussion on social media about overworking. Many young people have said they don’t want to live the 996 life.

The popularity of the lying flat movement is in direct conflict with the hopes expressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping for the future. He spoke of the “Chinese dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The official Xinhua News Agency wrote in a comment posted at the end of May that “staying flat is shameful. Only hard work brings happiness. ”

I am Susan Shand.

Kelly Tang and Lin Yang of VOA reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learn English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in this story

practice – nm something that is done often or regularly

diploma – nm a person who has obtained a degree or diploma from a school, college or university

architecture – nm the art or science of designing and creating buildings

child nm a child

to register – v. join

an advance – nm an advantage that you have or get when you start to do something

stress – adj. feeling very worried or anxious

To allow – v. to permit

unstable adj. not sure, uncertain

rejuvenation – nm to give new strength or energy to (something)

shameful – adj. bad behaviour

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