FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
BEIJING – It is called «tangping»: it is the new manifesto in which we recognize that part of Chinese youth who feel crushed by an increasingly competitive society, where only career and purchasing power count. “Tangping” means “to lie down” and it has become synonymous with the refusal of the pursuit of success, of money, of consumerism. A form of passive resistance to unbridled materialism.
The expression caught on since April, when an anonymous millennial described his lifestyle on an online forum the last two years. «I gave up having a permanent job, I only work a few months, just enough to have what is strictly necessary. Then I lie wisely, I do good reads, I don’t want to buy anything that is not essential. In China we have never had an ideological current that enhances the subjectivity of the human being, we are in full involution, so I decided to “tangping” ». The young man must have studied, because he quoted in his reasoning the Greek philosopher Diogenes, famous for having chosen to live in a barrel and thus described by Plutarch in the Parallel lives: «The king himself (Alexander the Great) went to look for him and found him lying in the sun … he asked him if he needed anything and Diogenes replied: ‘Yes, move, you will take away the sun’». The young Chinese added one to the post photo showing him happily lying on his bed in the daytime.
The hashtag Tangping has started running on the Mandarin web. A discussion forum has been created on the subject with comments of this kind: “Sending your CV to find a job is like putting a message in a bottle and entrusting it to the ocean”; “Who said that every good Chinese must work hard to increase productivity, be successful, buy a car, take out a home loan, get married and have children?”; “Yes, let’s all relax and lie down for a while.” Social networks began to populate with memes with cats and dogs stretched out on their backs on beds and sofas.
The spread of the “tangping” catchphrase was noticed by the authorities, who were worried. First of all because any aggregation around a thought not inspired by the Party is viewed with suspicion in Beijing. And then, the planners of the state economy they fear that the Tangpingists are setting a bad example for the youth masses, taking away patriotic momentum from the “Chinese Dream” by Xi Jinping, who never tires of ordering the Chinese to multiply efforts to produce more and consume more “to build a prosperous society”. The new law that allows married couples to have three children is also part of this vision: as children grow up they become workers and consumers. Web response from a “tangping” rebel: “We all think about lying down and they would like to push us to reproduce, they just don’t understand.”
The Beijing press began to write that “it is a shame to hear renounced and defeatist arguments in our socialist society”. Experts such as Professor Li Fengliang of the prestigious Tsinghua University were interviewed who stressed that “lying down” is an irresponsible concept, contrary to the socialist ethics that allows the economy to develop. The Communist Youth League also took sides, sternly recalling how “thousands of young doctors and nurses fought relentlessly to stop the coronavirus: they didn’t lie on their backs”.
After this official pronouncement, the censorship moved, which obscured the hashtag Tangping and blocked the forums that discussed it, extolling the trend as a form of resistance to a system that wants everyone to be equal.
June 7, 2021 (change June 7, 2021 | 21:40)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED