The phrase “lying flat” has become popular among young Chinese. Rather than toil away at a job that offers limited possibilities for promotion or prosperity, it is better to take it easy and live a more frugal life, free from the daily grind.
Due to soaring property and commodity prices, many young Chinese no longer believe that working a “966” job — working from 9am to 6pm, six days a week — will be repaid with career advancement and affluence.
Consequently, many young Chinese are refusing to function as money-making machines for their bosses. They no longer chase after salary increases, have no interest in purchasing property and have stopped acquiring consumer goods. Instead, they advocate a minimalist lifestyle, spurning marriage and living for themselves.
If “lying flat” is interpreted to mean “low desire,” then perhaps it is more than just a passive movement and is also a silent protest aimed at a plethora of societal problems, including increased wealth disparity, unequal distribution of resources and a feeling that no matter how hard one works, one never obtains a corresponding reward.
The “lying flat” phenomenon has caught the attention of
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials — and they appear worried. This is because the prospect of economic growth is what props up the party’s rule.
There is an unwritten contract between the CCP and the Chinese public: The people keep their noses out of public affairs and do not agitate for democracy, the rule of law or human rights; in return, the party delivers increased prosperity for the masses.
If young Chinese consciously turn their backs on a consumerist lifestyle, it would inevitably have a negative effect on China’s economic growth and societal development.
As a result, party censors have shut down all of the “lying flat” forums on Douban and other Chinese social media. Even Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and JD.com have been singled out for “rectification” by party censors. Products featuring the Chinese characters for “lying flat,” including T-shirts and smartphone cases, have been removed from sale.
The party has already used state-run media to loudly condemn the “lying flat” movement. However, if the CCP goes further and attempts to snuff it out by crudely sticking its oar into the behavior patterns of young Chinese, it will certainly fail.
The “lying flat” trend will not disappear any time soon, because the crux of the problem lies in a societal environment that is ranged against the needs and aspirations of young Chinese.
China’s frothy housing market has virtually priced out aspirant middle-class Chinese. With no hope of ever owning a home of their own, many have utterly lost faith and decided to check out of the rat race.
Given the dire state of affairs, who can blame young Chinese for wanting to lie down for a while and get some much-needed rest?
Wei Shih-chang is an information technology engineer.
Translated by Edward Jones
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) use their bi-annual Zhuhai Airshow to attack Taiwan on two levels. The first level became apparent to this observer after attending the first two airshows in 1996 and 1998: Why would the CCP allow Zhuhai leaders to build a second large international airport a mere 26 kilometers from the far busier Macau International Airport, with Zhuhai only cycling about ten flights a day? Zhuhai city fathers were not guilty of some corrupt “boondoggle,” they had clearly convinced the PLA to bless their city with a massive reserve airport to support future
You can picture it now. It is 2025 and Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook has just taken the stage to announce the company’s latest gadget. It is faster, more powerful and in every way better than the previous iteration, and one more thing: It features chips made in the US. The crowd applauds. Apple, its key component supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), US Congress and the Arizona government have been working up to this moment since early 2020. Dozens of news releases have been written, billions of dollars spent and numerous speeches given lauding the US’ return to chip
The White House went into damage control mode after US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley suggested that there is no military solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and diplomacy is needed to end it: The official US position is that Ukraine itself should set the terms of the peace and decide when, if ever, it is ready to talk. Yet after Tuesday’s incident with two missiles landing in Polish territory after a massive Russian strike on Ukrainian power stations, it should be clear why Milley appeared to swim against the US policy tide. The danger of accidental escalation, or world
Superman’s latest flight took him halfway across the world. After an uncertain free agency, superstar former NBA center Dwight Howard finally and surprisingly settled on Taiwan’s T1 League, where the Taoyuan Leopards have welcomed him with open arms and plenty of photographs. In the two weeks since the team announced their latest addition, Taiwanese media and fans have barely been able to contain their excitement. A livestreamed video of Howard visiting a Taoyuan night market and trying chicken butt on a stick (“This is some good-ass chicken!”) not only got thousands of views and extensive media coverage in Taiwan, but