Young people in China have started a counterculture movement on a small scale, they “lay flat” and do not need to work too much. Due to the stress of work, Quoc Kien Long, 44, decided to quit his job at a newspaper in Beijing and move to live in a mountainous area to “lie down”.
Quoc Kien Long has joined the few urbanites in China who are attracting the attention of the Chinese government. Because they want to give up stressful jobs in exchange for “a life of lower needs”. This is in stark contrast to the message of success and consumerism delivered by China during the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
Kien Long turned to freelance writing in Dali city, Yunnan province, famous for its picturesque traditional architecture. “My previous job was fine but I didn’t like it”, Mr. Long said. “Don’t just look at money, what’s wrong with doing what you want?”
Quoc Kien Long reads a book at his apartment in Yunnan (Photo: AP)
Five years ago, 31-year-old Luo Huazhong realized that she liked doing nothing. He quit his job at a factory and drove 2,000 kilometers from Sichuan province to Tibet. He does odd jobs and deducts about 1.3 million dong from his savings for monthly use. Hua Trung calls this new lifestyle “lying up”.
“I’m very comfortable. I feel like there’s nothing wrong with living like this.”, he shared in an April blog post titled “Lying is justice”. Not long after, the article received a response from Chinese youth as a manifesto against consumerism. “Lie down” became famous and has since become a clearer statement about Chinese society.
“Lie down” Is one “resistance movement” young first “fierce vortex” from the pressure of studying at school to the seemingly endless stressful working hours, writer Liao Zeng Ho wrote in Tai Tan, China’s most famous business magazine.
“In today’s society, our every activity is monitored, every action is criticized”, author Ho wrote. “Is there anything more rebellious than simply ‘laying flat’?”
For generations, the Chinese path to success has been to work hard, get married, and have children. Government leadership has lifted people out of poverty. But in return, the labor force has to work longer hours, the cost of living is rising faster than wages, and since then there is a fear among young people in China that they are the inferior first generation. his parents’ generation. Now, they challenge the long-term prosperity of the country by refusing to participate in it.
Luo Huazhong said that “laying down” helps him live a minimalist life and can “think and express freely” (Photo: The New York Times)
It is unclear how many people have given up their jobs or moved out of crowded cities. Quick interviews at subway stations in Beijing and Shanghai during rush hour show that most Chinese young people get jobs that are good for themselves.
Even so, the Chinese government is trying to limit this “movement”. Because China needs high-quality human resources to develop technology and other industries. China’s population is aging, and its working-age population has shrunk by about 5% from its 2011 peak.
Hoa Trung’s post was deleted by censors because it went against the country’s ambition to develop the country’s economy, a series of groups related to the “flattening” movement on Chinese social networks with thousands of members as well. disappear. Some propaganda is also used to encourage young people to work hard for the future of the country.
“Overcoming difficulties is a kind of happiness in itself”, Nam Phuong Daily newspaper wrote in a commentary. “The choice to ‘lay flat’ in the face of pressure is not only wrong but also shameful”.
Another indication of the movement’s political sensibilities “lying up” This is demonstrated by the fact that four Chinese professors have refused to speak to foreign media on this matter. And another sign of the Chinese government’s displeasure: T-shirts, phone cases and other products printed with the message “lying up” have all disappeared from online sales platforms.
People cycle through an intersection in Beijing (Image: AP/Mark Schiefelbein)
“Lie down” which means no need to get married, no need to have children, no need to work and no need for material things like houses and cars. This is the exact opposite of what the Chinese leadership wants. This trend is similar to similar trends that have appeared in Japan and some other countries. Young people gradually adopt an immaterial lifestyle to cope with the bleak job market and stiff competition to shrink economic value.
Official data shows China’s per capita economic output has doubled in the past decade, but many attribute most of the profits to large corporations and state-owned enterprises. Skilled workers say their incomes have not kept pace with soaring housing, childcare and other expenses.
Although most of the Gen Y generation in China continues to work hard, “lying up” both reflect a nascent countercultural movement and represent a backlash against a hyper-competitive work environment in China.
The workforce in major cities complains about increased working hours under the “996” scheme, or 9am to 9pm, six days a week. “We thought slavery was gone. In fact, it just adapted to the new economic era.”, a woman with an account “Summer Hail” comment on the social network Douban.
Some elite students who graduated from college at the age of 2x, who had the best job prospects, also said they were exhausted because “exam hell” in high schools and universities. They see no benefit in making sacrifices.
“The pursuit of money and fame doesn’t interest me. I’m tired already.”, Trac Tuong Vu – 25 years old, just graduated from university – said.
Some professionals also narrow down their careers, which will knock their long experience out of that career field.
Xu Dunjing, a human resources manager in Shanghai, said she was about to quit her job at 45 years old, 10 years below the legal minimum retirement age for women. She wants to move to her husband’s hometown, in Croatia.
“I want to retire early. I don’t want to struggle anymore. I will move somewhere else”Canh said.
Professor Tuong Xiao, a social anthropology major specializing in Chinese society at Oxford University, called “lying up” is a turning point of Chinese culture. “Young people feel a pressure they can’t explain and they feel like they’ve broken their promise”, he said. “People realize that improving their material wealth is no longer their only and important source of life.”.
Pedestrians cross a street in Beijing (Image: AP/Mark Schiefelbein)
In May, thousands of people expressed frustration on social media after the Chinese government announced that it would allow couples to have a third child instead of the previous restriction. China has adopted birth control measures since 1980 to slow down population growth. However, with economic output per capita still below the world average, the country needs more young workers.
Within minutes of posting the announcement, websites were flooded with comments that the government’s new move did nothing but leave couples faced with rising child care costs, time and money. long working hours, cramped housing, employment discrimination among mothers and the need to care for the elderly.
Account “Summer Hail” She also said that after working in Hong Kong, she will move to Zhejiang province, located north of Shanghai, to live. “a low demand life”. She said that although her job as an English reporter has a high income, her rent accounts for 60% of her income and at the end of the month she has no money.
She denies the argument that young people người “lying up” is giving up on the success of the economy. Because that very success is beyond the reach of many in an economy where the gap between the rich and the rest widens.
“As resources become increasingly concentrated in a few leaders and their relatives, the workforce becomes cheap and easily replaced.”, she wrote on Douban. “Is it reasonable to entrust one’s fate to someone’s small hands?”
The owner of the article declined an interview invitation from the AP news site.
A subway station in Beijing (Photo: AP/Ng Han Guan)
Kien Long said he spent more time writing freelance than when working at the newsroom. But he feels happier and life is more comfortable. He and his wife can have breakfast together on the balcony of the 6th floor apartment with many trees around.
“As long as I can write, I feel very satisfied”, Mr. Long said. “I don’t feel suffocated anymore.”
A few others choose to quit their jobs completely when they can afford it
A 27-year-old architect in Beijing said she started saving when she was a schoolgirl to afford financial freedom.
“Since last September, when I saw my savings hit 2 million yuan (about 7 billion dong), I’ve been lying down.”, she said in an interview via social network with the name Nana.
Nana said she quit her job with a salary of 20,000 yuan per month (about 71 million VND) because of the long working hours and she felt that her creativity was limited.
“I want to be free, free from strict regulations”, said Nana. “I want to go there and have fun myself”.
Minh Bao (According to AP, The New York Times)