BEIJING — Chinese people continued to face difficulty as the economy of the country is falling, ramping up the risk of social unrest in the nation, Global Strat View reported citing the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) economic outlook.
China’s economy is slow and it no longer satisfies the aspirations of upward mobility. The educated unemployment percentage is getting higher and higher and at the same time the economic rate is going down. Beijing’s old economy seems to be reaching its limits: both Chinese and foreign manufacturers are offshoring their factories, and the construction sector, which once led demand, is facing an oversupply crisis.
The falling economy has not only affected the lower class but also the middle-class society. The potential middle-class society is either unemployed or in low-paid jobs with marketing platforms or as delivery drivers. The dream of an almost entirely middle-class society, reflected in the official watchwords’ small prosperity’ and ‘common prosperity,’ has run up against China’s economic problems, the contradictions within its society, and the emergence of alternative social visions. These challenges, which appeared in the early 2000s, have been accentuated by the pandemic.
The class system is becoming rigid. Incomes are no longer increasing. While the country is going through a low phase, the education system and healthcare are also getting expensive. Collective medical insurance systems cover a dwindling proportion of costs, and private insurance is becoming essential, according to Global Strat View.
The recent uprising may not reflect widespread unrest, but it has revealed the frustration of an urban, educated generation resentful of three years of pandemic containment measures that have curtailed their ability to live, work, socialize, and travel freely. It is a generation of young people who see little future in an introverted country with a dimming economy.
The headlines on China’s economic slowdown do not always illustrate the human impact which the country’s youth has disproportionally borne. China’s youth unemployment rate — those in urban areas looking for employment between ages 16- 25 — climbed to around 20 per cent. This was against the overall unemployment rate of about 5- 6 per cent. Rising youth unemployment may exacerbate discontentment.
High levels of youth unemployment and underemployment, combined with disaffection with their jobs, are a recipe for despair and disaffection. Without addressing these concerns in the coming years, China will see a generation of lost youth who may look for disruptive ways to voice their despair.
Earlier, people protested against the draconian and longstanding COVID mandates. Regular Chinese people are demanding an end to not merely the COVID mandates that have weakened China’s prosperity and cost innumerable lives but Xi Jinping’s tenure and even the end of Communist party rule. Demonstrators inside and outside China protested against the Chinese government’s COVID-19 abuses, economic hardships, censorship, and President Xi’s expanded power, reported Global Strat View.
In October in Beijing, a man draped two banners over a bridge, calling for the end of Xi’s rule. In November, hundreds of residents in Guangzhou took to the street and tore down barriers in defiance of abusive lockdown orders. A fire at an apartment building under lockdown in Xinjiang, where at least ten people died, triggered the protests in Shanghai, Beijing, and many other cities that began in November.
In the latest outburst of public discontent since nationwide protests against COVID curbs gripped the country late last year, thousands of elderly people recently staged a rally in the rain in central China to protest against significant medical benefits cuts. Residents said the cut had come at a time of soaring healthcare costs that many retirees could not afford.
The spontaneous ‘Blank Paper movement,’ after people in China held up blank sheets of papers to express discontent against COVID-19 restrictions and dodge censorship, has turned many ordinary young Chinese into accidental activists who have unwittingly rekindled China’s beleaguered rights defence movement, which was almost completely eradicated under Xi’s decade-long, iron-fisted crackdown on activists, dissidents, rights lawyers, and NGOs.
The Blank Paper movement shows that even under the dictatorial regime’s hi-tech surveillance, people still managed to stage nationwide protests. The movement has also spread worldwide, as per the report in Global Strat View.
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