China politics and policy updates

China’s social contract is breaking down, and a song deleted from the country’s Internet vividly captured the problem. “Lie down, lie down, lie down, lie down without falling down,” Zhang Xinmin sang in Chinese while lying on the sofa playing the guitar.

“Lying down” is the trend of young Chinese choosing to quit stressful jobs. It represents the opposite of a development model that has achieved extraordinary growth in the past four years through the best efforts of the people.

Beijing is a little disturbed. This week, the official spokesperson Wu Qian said: “In this turbulent era, there is no such thing as lying flat and waiting for prosperity.” “There is only the brilliance of struggle and hard work. Young people, come on!”

Behind these concerns are several initiatives to motivate people and encourage families to have more children. The key to these initiatives was the decision last week to crack down on private tutoring, a $100 billion business that puts pressure on school children and at the same time imposes taxes on parents’ finances.

New regulations issued by the State Council or the Cabinet prohibit for-profit tutoring in core school subjects.The news hit like a thunderbolt, vigorously share price The industry leaders listed in the United States are Good Future Education, New Oriental and Gaotu Technology.

Dislike Xi Jinping, Chinese leader, telegram about after-school tutoring. In March of this year, he criticized the “chaos” in the industry and called it “a chronic disease that is very difficult to cure.” But the fact that Beijing is willing to manage an industry with hundreds of thousands of employees may be a fatal blow. This fact shows how much it attaches importance to this issue.

For the tens of millions of middle class in China’s big cities, life has become a hamster wheel that strives to increase returns and reduce returns. The massive costs of housing, education, health care, and other expenses are growing faster than average wages, giving many people a sense of running.

Yu Jie, a senior researcher at the Chatham Institute, a think tank in London, said: “The latest measures to close the after-school tutoring company are consistent with the shift in focus to the quality of life of the Chinese.”

According to data from the Bureau of Statistics China Education Association, The average annual tuition fee for a student is more than RMB 12,000 (US$1,860), which is more than the average monthly salary of a country. GDP per capita in 2019 US$10,216. And some families spend 300,000 RMB every year to ask famous teachers to go to prestigious schools for tuition.

When both parents work in the office for a long time and struggle with crowded rush hour traffic, this burden is usually exacerbated by the need to pay for babysitting. Parents who choose to live in the catchment areas of popular schools in cities such as Shanghai have to pay a high price for this privilege.

“We paid more than 3 million yuan (US$465,116) for our residence,” said Yang Liu, a mother in Shanghai, who left for work at 6:30 in the morning and did not return until 9:30 in the evening before her six-year-old daughter went to bed.

Although officially discourages kindergartens from arranging homework, her daughter has homework every day of the week. She must learn Chinese characters, English words, recite poems, practice reading and play the violin.

The stress that this lifestyle brings to unmarried young people will not only cause them to “lie down.” Statistics show that couples get married late and the fertility rate drops sharply. In 2020, only 12 million babies will be born, down from 14.65ma a year ago.

In the next 10 years, as the number of women of childbearing age (22-35 years old) will drop by more than 30%, some experts predict that the number of babies born each year may fall below 10 million, and China’s fertility rate may become the world’s lowest.

The reality of daily life of the Chinese middle class is different from the image presented by the ruthless increase in gross domestic product (GDP) data. The cost of living in big cities has risen sharply, reducing people’s disposable income.

Alicia García Herrero, chief economist of the investment bank Natixis Asia Pacific, pointed out succinctly: “As housing affordability continues to deteriorate, and the cost of access to education and healthcare is getting higher and higher , The net income situation of most of China’s population is deteriorating.”

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