Why Chinese youth yearn to ‘stay in bed’

Chinese youth do not want the grueling work pace of their elders and prefer to “stay in bed”. A new philosophy that intrigues the Middle Kingdom where the culture of hard work has long been championed.

While some French politicians have campaigned with the slogan “Work more to earn more”, young Chinese prefer to “stay lying down” to live better. The phenomenon intrigues China and is gaining momentum among those under 30, as reported by Le Monde. Unlike their parents, the younger generation seems less and less in tune with the culture of hard work, regularly praised by figures in the country like Jack Ma (head of Alibaba) or the founders of Huawei (Ren Zhengfei) or Tencent ( Pony Ma). The achievement of these giants is also that of the 996 work rate, in reference to working from 9 am to 9 pm (9 pm), six days a week.

Very fashionable in Chinese digital companies, the model is struggling to attract young Chinese. The latter have other aspirations and they are more and more numerous to oppose the social pressures linked to the culture of work. “Ten years ago, job candidates asked us about the possibilities of working overtime. Today, they ask us if they will be able to take unpaid leave.explains to the Le Monde site Julie Laulusa, general manager of the French audit firm Mazars, in China.

Overtime or quality of life? The question is quickly answered

The priority of some young Chinese is not to work overtime to earn more, a change in philosophy of life that surprises China. Several elements can explain this new trend against the tide with Chinese politics, starting with the country’s economic development. The younger generation suffers less from poverty and benefits from the one-child policy. Generation Z is the “first to have experienced abundance” and this changes his vision of the world of work. This new approach is also the result of a life different from that of their parents, with difficulties in accessing or buying housing. A phenomenon that concerns other developed countries, including France.

Faced with these difficulties, Chinese youth are gradually becoming adept at “tang ping” which can be translated as “staying in bed”. The term has notably gained popularity on the Baidu Tieba forum and has the same right to its Wikipedia page in French. To describe this mode of silent contestation which moves away from the capitalist system, a Chinese Internet user had published a “Manifesto of the tang ping”. “As there has never been an ideological current advocating human subjectivity in our country, I will create one myself: lying down is my wise move. Only by lying down can man become the measure of everything”explained Luo Huazhong in remarks reported by Courrier international.

Chinese authorities are concerned

Far from the model defended by President Xi Jinpin, the movement worries right up to the top of the state. The Chinese authorities take the subject seriously and want to prevent Chinese youth from “staying in bed”. In the long term, the South China Morning Post explains that the phenomenon could weigh on Chinese consumption and growth, but also cause the birth rate to fall a little further.

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