It all started as a joke from comedian Ali Wong. She said, “I don’t want to lean in. I want to lie down.” The comment has now become a way of life for some sectors of the Chinese public.
Many overworked millennial and Gen-Z Chinese see the frantic pace of their lives as hopeless and see laying down (Tang Ping) as a new form of protest. These new generations no longer want to be money-making machines for the Communist regime.
The situation of the Chinese worker is already very bad. In May of 2020, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced at the People’s Congress that more than 600 million Chinese now live on a monthly income of 1,000 yuan or less ($140 per month or $4.67 per day!)
The “laying down” malcontents are different in that they are giving up. They declare themselves minimalists. They do not want to get a degree, establish a career, get married, have a family, or own a home. They see no sense in any long-term goals.
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This new form of passive resistance is in response to poor pay, exhausting competition in business, the job market and education.
They just lie down and stay on the sidelines. Many work just enough to pay the bills and eke out a living with no aspirations. Chinese millennials have decided en masse to be mediocre due to apathy toward life conditioned by Communist abuse.
They say, “I could make more money working for a big company and have a nicer apartment, or buy a car, but I would only get four hours a night sleep and have no time to enjoy my life.” “My bowl of rice tastes good, and my bed is perfectly comfortable. I don’t need the rat race.”
Lying down has become the new civil disobedience, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not pleased. It is rightly worried that this trend is gaining traction among the youth. Thus, the propaganda machine in Beijing has labeled this new mindset as disgraceful. They are also accused of being irresponsible toward their parents and taxpayers.
Online communities have appeared overnight on the social media site, Douban. One laying down group massed over 9,000 members in days. The Communist solution to the problem: Censor these groups. The action does nothing to address the cause of the problem.
The Chinese state-owned newspaper Southern Daily published an article titled “Lying Down Is Disgraceful. Where Does the Justice Come From?” The article argues that happiness stems from struggle and that Chinese youth have to fight for the goals of Communism.
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Indeed, with China’s rapidly aging population caused by the one-child policy, the CCP should be worried and embarrassed by this crisis. Millennials are the future leaders of China, and a substantial portion of them have decided to become vagabonds.
China’s youth does not want to continue participating in China’s 9-9-6 work culture, twelve-hour days six days a week. Tang Ping is their way of bucking the status quo. Stories of dying at one’s desk, widespread depression, chronic exhaustion and suicide from workplace pressures are commonplace.
China’s 9-9-6 work culture becomes more like 24/7 for countless professionals, and for many who do not commit suicide, it is contemplated. Such schedules cannot give purpose and life.
The communist system is based on a materialistic vision in which work is idolized as the greatest human activity. That is why in 2018, President Xi Jinping said that working hard is the way to achieve happiness in China. The communist mentality shows little concern for the intellectual, spiritual or religious development of the person. There is no room for the practice of virtue.
From a Catholic perspective, work is necessary to achieve goals, but spiritual and intellectual development coupled with the practice of virtue is much more critical as a means of leading to God. Life without these goals leads to frustration, apathy and stress.
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No one is more responsible for the decaying mindset of China’s millennials than the Communist Party. In classic Marxist style, Xi Jinping sees struggle as the solution to the problem when it is the cause. His solution for the failure of socialism is always to apply more socialism.
Photo Credit: © ryanking999 – stock.adobe.com
Updated December 1, 2021.