Beijing (AP) — Tired of work stress, Guo Jianlong quit his newspaper job in Beijing and moved to a mountain in southwestern China to “lie down”.
Guo has joined a handful of small but visible Chinese urban experts who are rattling the ruling Communist Party by rejecting a tough career for a “low-greed life.” Founded.
44-year-old Guo became a freelance writer in Dali, a town in Yunnan known for its traditional architecture and beautiful scenery. He married a woman he met there.
“The job was fine, but I didn’t like it very much,” Guo said. “What’s wrong with doing your own thing, not just looking at money?”
Novelist Liao Zenghu told Caixin, China’s most prominent business magazine, that “lying” is a “cycle of horror” from high-pressure Chinese schools to endless working hours. I write that it is a “resistance movement”.
“In today’s society, all our movements are monitored and all our actions are criticized,” writes Liao. “Are there any more rebellious acts than just” lying down “? “
It is not clear how many people went before quitting their job or moving from a major city. Judging from the packed rush hour subways in Beijing and Shanghai, most young Chinese leave with the best job they can get.
Still, the ruling party is trying to discourage this trend. Beijing needs skilled professionals to develop technology and other industries. China’s population is aging, and the pool of working-age people has declined by about 5% from its 2011 peak.
“The struggle itself is a kind of happiness,” the party-issued newspaper Southern Daily said in a comment. “Choosing to’lie down’in the face of pressure is not only unjustice, but also shameful. “
This trend reflects similar trends in Japan and other countries where young people have embraced anti-materialistic lifestyles in response to fierce competition for dark work prospects and diminishing economic rewards. ..
According to official data, China’s per capita economic output has doubled in the last decade, but many complain that profits have come primarily to a few big names and state-owned enterprises. Experts say their income is not keeping up with rising housing, childcare and other costs.
The four professors, who were quoted as saying that the Chinese press was “lying” as a sign of political sensitivity to the matter, refused to talk to foreign reporters.
Another Possible Sign of Official Discomfort: T-shirts, cell phone cases, and other “flat flat” themed products are disappearing from online sales platforms.
Urban employees complain that their working hours have increased to “996,” or six days a week, from 9 am to 9 pm.
“We generally believe that slavery is gone. In fact, it’s only adapted to the new economic era,” a woman writing under the name Xia Bingbao or Summer Hailstones told Douban social media services. ..
Some elite graduates in their twenties who are most likely to find employment say they are exhausted from the “examination hell” of high school and college. It doesn’t make sense for them to make more sacrifices.
“Chasing fame and luck doesn’t attract me. I’m very tired,” said 25-year-old graduate student Zhai Xiangyu.
Some professionals are shortening their careers and are losing experience from their pool of work.
Xu Zhunjiong, a human resources manager in Shanghai, said she would retire at the age of 45, ten years before the legal retirement age of women, to move to her hometown with her Croatian-born husband.
“I want to retire early. I don’t want to fight anymore,” Xu said. “I go elsewhere.”
Thousands have complained online as official birth restrictions were relaxed after the Communist Party’s announcement in May, allowing all couples to have three children instead of two. The party has enforced birth restrictions since 1980 to curb population growth, but that China, whose per capita economic output is still below the global average, needs more young workers. Are concerned.
Minutes after the announcement, the website helped parents deal with childcare costs, long working hours, cramped housing, job discrimination against mothers, and the need to care for older parents. It was full of complaints that it wasn’t there.
Xia writes that after working in Hong Kong, she moved to a valley in Zhejiang Province, south of Shanghai, for a “low-desire life.” She said her rent consumed 60% of her income and she had no money at the end of the month, despite her high-ranking job as an English journalist.
She said that in an economy where the gap between the wealthy elite and the majority is widening, young people “lying” are financially successful, even though it is already out of reach of many. Reject the argument that you are giving up.
“When resources are increasingly concentrated on the few heads and their relatives, the workforce is cheap and exchangeable,” she wrote in Douban. “Is it wise to leave your destiny to a small handout from another person?”
Xia declined the interview request.
Dali’s writer Guo said he spends more time as a freelancer than in the newspaper. But he is happier and life is more comfortable. He and his wife have breakfast on the balcony of their refreshing 6th floor apartment with views of the trees.
“I’m very happy as long as I can keep writing,” Guo said. “I don’t feel stuffy.”
A handful of people who can afford it almost completely withdraw from work.
A 27-year-old architect in Beijing said he began saving when he was a teenager to achieve financial freedom.
“Since September last year, I lay down after seeing all my savings reach 2 million yuan ($ 300,000),” a woman named only Nana said in an interview with her social media account. ..
Nana said she refused a job that paid 20,000 yuan ($ 3,000) a month because of the long hours, limited opportunities for creativity and what she saw.
“I want to be free from inflexible rules,” Nana said. “I want to travel and be happy.”
Fu reported from Bangkok. Shanghai Associated Press researcher Chen Si contributed to this report.