“Lying flat” is a young Chinese non-violent protest movement against the government. Recently, Shanghai entrepreneurs are joining the trend. A letter with signatures of “some businessmen and investors in Shanghai” has become viral since May 31. The letter calls for “lying flat,” resuming work but not production, and patiently wait for the 20th Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress.
According to the BBC, the idea of “lying flat”—or tang ping in Chinese— implies a lifestyle change. Tang ping started in 2021 since many people felt that they were suffering from more and more pressure to work harder and show that they were better than their colleagues. BBC added that as the labor market narrows, young people face pressure to work more hours and are exhausted.
The letter describes China’s present situation: the external environment is affected, the level of the government’s internal credibility collapses and foreign and domestic capital will flee once the lockdown is lifted. Then, large-scale companies’ bankruptcy will destroy the last piece of the puzzle in the residents’ illusion of an economic recovery. Millions of graduate students will be unemployed, and it’s impossible to avoid social instability.
The letter also points out some actions and asks more people to join the “lying flat” trend. According to Sound of Hope, different measures will touch the CCP’s weakness by removing ineffective departments, implying layoffs, and selling off a portion of inefficient assets. Graduate students’ recruiting will slow down in the following years, exacerbating the job crisis. More salary cuts will prompt social instability, quickly pushing the capital out of China.
The writer’s name says a “businessperson and investors,” who “invested hundreds billions yuan in Shanghai and the domestic market, also has millions of workers,” and “was in the city during the lockdown and could buy products on the 4.0 store platform”, those characteristics show that the person has a political background.
According to Sina News, on May 30 Shanghai announced that from 0:00 on June 1, entry and exit in the residential areas have been restored. Except for some areas with a high and potential epidemic risk, blocked and controlled areas, the residents won’t be limited to entry and exit, and many sectors and fieldscan resume production. However, Shanghai citizens get used to “lying flat” and don’t want to do anything during a two-month lockdown, so they are not ready to work.
Caixin reported that from June 1, the “white list” system allowing enterprises to restore working and production will be canceled. At the same time, policies and methods to make domestic and international transport channels and logistics run smoothly will be supported to push the recovery of enterprises’ activities and manufacturing, etc.
So far, News.enorth reported that more than 100 small and medium enterprises in an industrial zone have not resumed their activity.
Employees state that they are not ready for work. Sound of Hope collected some Chinese comments:
“I want an easing lockdown, but I don’t want to work. I haven’t worked for a half of a year. I don’t want to travel by subway after work and get up early while my salary has not been paid. It’s so sad for the workers.”
“It has been two months, finally the lockdown has stopped, but… suddenly go to work again, I am not ready.”
On May 30, Shanghai netizens recorded a video capturing a bus entering the bus station without passengers.