A concerning trend has emerged in China where fresh graduates are posting pictures online depicting themselves as “more dead than alive.” These photos, showing students slumped over chairs, collapsed against walls, and prostrated on the ground in their graduation gowns, have gained attention on the internet. While the students are not physically harmed, they believe that such pictures better represent the harsh realities they face.
This trend can be attributed to the prioritization of security over the economy under Xi Jinping’s leadership in China. The government’s crackdown on the private sector has severely impacted the tech and education industries, leading to a highly competitive and challenging job market. The private sector is responsible for 80% of total jobs in China, and it has suffered greatly due to the country’s abandoned Zero-Covid policy.
This summer, a record 11.6 million college graduates will enter the job market in China, fully aware of the bleak career prospects they face. In May, the urban unemployment rate reached a staggering 20.8%. The influx of new job-seekers will only worsen the unemployment crisis in the country. Chinese students, who have already endured the rigorous education system, now must prepare for this new challenge.
The value of college degrees is diminishing as the job market becomes oversaturated with graduates. Consequently, more students in China are pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees in the hope of gaining a competitive edge, but even that doesn’t guarantee employment.
The gloomy outlook for the Chinese economy is compounded by the higher unemployment rate and the frustration among the youth population. The younger generation plays a crucial role in driving the economy through their spending on various sectors. However, with higher levels of unemployment and financial difficulties, the economic pillars of the country are at risk of collapsing.
As the frustration among Chinese youth grows, some have expressed their protest by declaring themselves the “last generation” in China, symbolizing their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.