To prevent the “lying flat” Chinese, or tang ping in Chinese, the Binhai District Government Organizing Committee of Jiangsu Province recently launched a campaign looking for the people “lying flat” around them and gathering them up for deterrence/education. This news sparked a lot of controversy from netizens.

According to the BBC, the idea of ​​”lying flat” means literally to stop working and just take some relation time. The ping tang movement kicked off in 2021 as many feel they are under increasing pressure to work harder and perform better than their peers.  

The idea behind “tang ping” – not working too hard, being content with whatever can be achieved, and take time to relax – has been praised by many and has inspired numerous memes.

According to Sohu, on July 26, the official social media account of the Binhai District Organizing Committee of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province named “Binhai dang kianyun” announced that, on July 26, the Binhai District Party Committee Organizing Committee conducted counseling and education for the first batch of seven “lying flat-ers.”

NetEase said, on July 26, Wang Dawei, a member of the Standing Committee of Binhai District Party Committee, head of the Organizing Committee, and head of the United Front Department gave a speech focusing on education and admonishing the first batch of seven “lying flat-ers.”

According to NetEase, the search for “lying flat” people also targets district management and mid-level cadres serving in government agencies, officials and employees of state-owned enterprises and state agencies in Binhai district as well as in the Organizing Committee of Binhai district Party committee.

The Organizing Committee of Binhai District Party Committee in “searching for lying flat-ers” also listed seven situations to identify “lying flat-ers,” including: 1. A lazy disposition, a lack of progress, contentment with the current situation; 2. Lacks a sense of responsibility to get work done, let negative things happen at work, afraid of a heavy workload; 3. Only work if one feels like it, avoid displeasing work, not willing to work; 4. Compare remuneration rather than responsibilities, compare seniority rather than actual work; 5. Poor work ethic, working superficially; and 6. Working for self-interest, not considering the impact on the collective.

At the same time, in searching for the “lying flat-ers” the organizing committee with the people’s vote, the unit review, and the organization’s evaluation, will also determine who are the ‘lying flat-ers.’

According to Sohu.com, the account ”binhai dang kianyun” stated that the district organizers will conduct a focused reminder dialogue with those who are reported as “lying flat-ers,” and who still go their own way, refusing to repent will be handled according to the severity of the situation.

Organizing Committee staff said that, through “reminding conversations,” the first batch of lying flat-ers “realized their own problems and mistakes.”

Sound of Hope said that related news has caused controversy on Chinese social networks. One netizen doubted the evaluation standards for lying flat-ers and sarcastically asked, “You are lying flat if you don’t actively serve as a servant to the leader, aren’t you?” “These seven people must be faithful people.”

Someone said: “It’s been a while since the last campaigns, this is the ‘right-wing selection 2.0’ campaign: Will each unit be assigned a target in the near future? If we can’t choose, will we have to draw?”

One netizen mocked: “Language corruption comes so quickly, doesn’t the phrase ‘political laziness’ sound stimulating enough?”

Mr. Gong, a news commentator, told the newspaper on July 29 that the so-called search for lying flat-ers is in fact campaigning, “like overthrowing those who follow capitalism and taking down the incumbents of the past. That is to say, you don’t work, you are a lying flat-er, then I give you a crime, and if you don’t have a positive attitude, these lying flat cadres will be removed.”

The newspaper also reported that Chen Guangcheng, a human rights activist currently living in the United States, once pointed out that, if the “lying flat” movement continues, productivity in Chinese society will significantly decrease and socio-economic development speed is likely to quickly slow down, stagnate, and even regress.

The rise of “lying flat-ism” has greatly worried CCP officials, and media outlets such as Xinhuanet have published many articles criticizing “lying flat-ism.” Some groups on social networking sites that discuss “lying flat” are blocked.

According to People newspaper – the CCP’s mouthpiece, on October 15, 2021, Xi Jinping while presiding over the tenth meeting of the Central Economic and Financial Commission emphasized, “It is necessary to prevent the fixation of social classes, to open the way for class mobility, create enrichment opportunities for many people, create a development environment in which everyone can participate, and avoid the situation of ‘rolling up’ or ‘lying flat.'”

According to the Epoch Times, on July 28, a meeting of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China also implicitly criticized all-level local cadres for “lying flat and doing nothing,” and stated, “All-level leaders must perform their jobs with a full mental state, and leaders must dare to do good work.”

Also according to the newspaper, in an article written by commentator Hao Ping, he pointed out that in the past two years, China’s economic recession has made local finances tight and public servants and officials in many provinces have generally experienced significant salary cuts. Therefore, how can local officials’ spirit be full of energy?

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