China’s culture of long working hours is again under criticism following the recent deaths of several tech company employees, but there are signs that a younger generation is fighting back.


The so-called 996 schedule of working from 9am to 9pm six days a week has been blamed by social media for the recent death of a 22-year-old Pinduoduo employee who collapsed walking home at 1.30am. 

What’s changing?

  • With COVID still an issue, young people are spending even more time at home with digital entertainment. They don’t need to earn as much as before to fund their lifestyle.
  • Most graduates aren’t earning what they expect to in any case and aren’t inclined to work too hard for what they see as too little reward.
  • With managers preoccupied by the pandemic, the work behaviours of Gen Z are altering as they opt to deliver only the minimum necessary – the ‘touching fish’ philosophy that says the best time to catch a fish is when the water is muddy.

The official line

“We must strive to succeed in pursuit of dreams, but the legitimate rights and interests of workers cannot be ignored or even violated” – Xinhua News Agency in a post on microblogging site Weibo.

Sourced from Economic Times, Bloomberg