Some Chinese shun grueling careers for ‘low-desire life’



BEIJING (AP) — Fed up with work stress, Guo Jianlong give up a newspaper job in Beijing and moved to China’s mountain southwest to “lie flat.”

Guo joined a small however seen handful of Chinese language city professionals who’re rattling the ruling Communist Get together by rejecting grueling careers for a “low-desire life.” That’s clashing with the occasion’s message of success and consumerism as its celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding.

Guo, 44, grew to become a contract author in Dali, a city in Yunnan province recognized for its conventional structure and picturesque surroundings. He married a lady he met there.

“Work was OK, however I didn’t prefer it a lot,” Guo stated. “What’s unsuitable with doing your personal factor, not simply wanting on the cash?”


“Mendacity flat” is a “resistance motion” to a “cycle of horror” from high-pressure Chinese language faculties to jobs with seemingly countless work hours, novelist Liao Zenghu wrote in Caixin, the nation’s most distinguished enterprise journal.

“In right this moment’s society, our each transfer is monitored and each motion criticized,” Liao wrote. “Is there any extra rebellious act than to easily ‘lie flat?’”

It isn’t clear how many individuals have gone as far as to give up their jobs or transfer out of main cities. Judging by packed rush hour subways in Beijing and Shanghai, most younger Chinese language slog away at the most effective jobs they’ll get.

Nonetheless, the ruling occasion is attempting to discourage the pattern. Beijing wants expert professionals to develop expertise and different industries. China’s inhabitants is getting older and the pool of working-age individuals has shrunk by about 5% from its 2011 peak.

“Battle itself is a form of happiness,” the newspaper Southern Every day, printed by the occasion, stated in a commentary. “Selecting to ‘lie flat’ within the face of stress isn’t solely unjust but additionally shameful.”


The pattern echoes comparable ones in Japan and different international locations the place younger individuals have embraced anti-materialist life in response to bleak job prospects and bruising competitors for shrinking financial rewards.

Official information present China’s financial output per individual doubled over the previous decade, however many complain the good points went principally to a handful of tycoons and state-owned firms. Professionals say their incomes are failing to maintain up with hovering housing, little one care and different prices.

In an indication of the problem’s political sensitivity, 4 professors who had been quoted by the Chinese language press speaking about “mendacity flat” declined to debate it with a overseas reporter.

One other attainable signal of official displeasure: T-shirts, cell phone instances and different “Lie Flat”-themed merchandise are disappearing from on-line gross sales platforms.

City staff complain that work hours have swelled to “9 9 6,” or 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days every week.


“We typically consider slavery has died away. The truth is, it has solely tailored to the brand new financial period,” a lady who writes underneath the title Xia Bingbao, or Summer season Hailstones, stated on the Douban social media service.

Some elite graduates of their 20s who ought to have the most effective job prospects say they’re worn out from the “examination hell” of highschool and college. They see no level in making extra sacrifices.

“Chasing fame and fortune doesn’t appeal to me. I’m so drained,” stated Zhai Xiangyu, a 25-year-old graduate scholar.


Some professionals are slicing brief their careers, which removes their expertise from the job pool.

Xu Zhunjiong, a human assets supervisor in Shanghai, stated she is quitting at 45, a decade earlier than the authorized minimal retirement age for girls, to maneuver along with her Croatian-born husband to his homeland.


“I wish to retire early. I don’t wish to struggle any extra,” Xu stated. “I’m going to different locations.”

Hundreds vented frustration on-line after the Communist Get together’s announcement in Could that official delivery limits could be eased to permit all {couples} to have three kids as an alternative of two. The occasion has enforced delivery restrictions since 1980 to restrain inhabitants progress however worries China, with financial output per individual nonetheless under the worldwide common, wants extra younger staff.

Minutes after the announcement, web sites had been flooded with complaints that the transfer did nothing to assist mother and father address little one care prices, lengthy work hours, cramped housing, job discrimination towards moms and a must take care of aged mother and father.

Xia writes that she moved to a valley in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, for a “low-desire life” after working in Hong Kong. She stated regardless of a high-status job as an English-language reporter, her hire devoured 60% of her earnings and he or she had no cash on the finish of every month.

She rejects the argument that younger individuals who “lie flat” are giving up financial success when that is already is out of attain for a lot of in an financial system with a rising gulf between a rich elite and the bulk.


“When assets are centered increasingly on the few individuals on the head and their family, the workforce is reasonable and replaceable,” she wrote on Douban. “Is it smart to entrust your future to small handouts from others?”

Xia declined an interview request.

Guo, the author in Dali, stated he places in additional hours as a freelancer than he did at a newspaper. However he’s happier, and life is extra comfy: He and his spouse eat breakfast on their breezy sixth-floor condominium balcony with a view of bushes.

“So long as I can hold writing, I’m very glad,” Guo stated. “I don’t really feel stifled.”

A handful who can afford it withdraw from work virtually solely.

A 27-year-old architect in Beijing stated she began saving as an adolescent to attain monetary freedom.

“From final September, once I noticed all my financial savings had reached 2 million (yuan) ($300,000), I lay down,” stated the girl, who would give solely the title Nana, in an interview over her social media account.


Nana stated she turned down a job that paid 20,000 yuan ($3,000) monthly because of the lengthy hours and what she noticed as restricted alternatives for creativity.

“I wish to be free from rigid guidelines,” stated Nana. “I wish to journey and make myself glad.”


Fu reported from Bangkok. Related Press researcher Chen Si in Shanghai contributed to this report.


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