“Tang ping”, or “lie down”, has become a buzzword among young Chinese people recently. They prefer to lie down, lower their desire for consumption, and keep themselves distant from competition for fame and wealth.
Some young netizens responded furiously to Li Fengliang, an associate professor of Tsinghua University, when Li called the idea the height of irresponsibility to parents and billions of taxpayers.
It’s no good to relentlessly berate the young generation for “lying down” before finding out why they choose to do so.
The fiercer competition for a good college, the sweeping 996 work schedule (working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week), and the skyrocketing house prices frustrate many young people. Some even believe no matter how hard they try, they will fail. In this case, why not lie down in the first place?
Such voices reflect how the young people in Chinese society may have different approaches to life. On the one hand, it serves as a warning to prevent the country from sliding into a low-desire society, as happened in Japan, where an aging population and a large number of young people who lost their passion are choking the third economy’s creativity.
On the other hand, the phrase serves more as self-mockery, and the pessimism should not be exaggerated.
It’s good that the government is seeking solutions to address the concerns of the young. In recent years, China is putting growing efforts into easing housing prices, and providing public rental housing for the young.
The definition of success should be diverse rather than merely be linked with money and reputation. People from all walks of life deserve equal respect. Compared with some who choose to lie down, there are more young people who choose to fulfill their duties. The average age of more than 67,000 scientists and engineers who devote themselves to China’s aerospace cause is only 36 years old, about 15 years younger than their counterparts in developed countries.
Success shouldn’t be judged by fame and money only. And many young excel in ordinary jobs. No matter what they do, they are respectable as they live on their own, support their families, and contribute to the society with their work.
Lie down when you are tired. That’s fine. But don’t let yourself be beaten down.