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Midas Leung

Many don’t know nor care about what’s happening in China, as the world almost exclusively focuses on events in the Middle East. But in China, shit’s brewing: stock and housing market crashes, jobs on the decline, a college degree will get you a manual labor job. The economy is on a decline and since the “one-child” policy, fewer children can take care of their parents. Many of these kids who have dim prospects of marriage or finding a job have given up and decided to live frugally till the day they die. 

The term Tang Peng translates to “lying flat,” and grew in popularity over quarantine alongside societal pressures and “996” jobs (9 am-9 pm 6 days a week). Many Chinese have given up and decided to retreat from society to just live for themselves. This does not mean they isolate themselves, however. Tang Peng is a passive-aggressive resistance movement. By removing themselves from the economy and living for themselves, practitioners hurt the Chinese economy by not allowing low-paying jobs to be filled. This led to other countries like Mexico gaining a productive advantage in the world economy

Another big problem is “Tofu Dreg” construction or “Tofu Buildings,” a term which was coined during the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes. The quakes exposed the sheer amount of buildings that could be easily destroyed—as if constructed with tofu. Corruption and a lack of resources to sustain the massive housing market in China is considered a leading cause. Construction crews and resource contractors will skim off the top of every project, leaving minimal money for the actual construction. This naturally leads to poor craftsmanship, in which concrete is replaced with plastic and recycled rebars are used in critical areas. The most recent “Tofu Building” scandal, at time of writing, saw the deaths of almost an entire school’s volleyball team where their room collapsed on top of them. This story was covered up by the local government.

China is also suffering in the electric vehicles (EVs) market. Ever since their introduction, EVs have been looked upon more favorably than gas powered cars for their greater fuel efficiency; one battery charge could be equivalent to one half or even one quarter of a full gas tank. The problem, however, is that they are made with the same principle as the aforementioned Tofu Buildings. China is currently experiencing one of its coldest winters in recent memory, and many of its car batteries don’t last as long due to lack of insulation and being made with suboptimal material. Those who purchase a car will be promised an extensive range in kilometers on their battery. Yet in reality, it would take them maybe one half  or even one quarter of the way; that doesn’t include heat or air-conditioning.. If those are turned on, the car’s driving range will drop dramatically. On Feb 3, for instance, thousands of vehicles were stranded on a highway, and because people have EVs, the heat can only stay on for so long. They were eventually forced to resort to burning tree branches on the side of the road to stay warm.

Some Chinese people don’t care about these problems, however, and still fanatically support the regime of the Chinese Communist Party. This group of people is coined as the “Little Pinks.” This is a joke about those students who participated in the People’s Liberation Army with their red bandanas. One of the Little Pinks’ activities has gone into the mainstream recently because of a famous piano player, Brendan Kavanagh, who had been attacked by the group while each were trying to record a video. Kavanagh was confronted while playing a public piano on video, and unfortunately in the background, Little Pinks were making a propaganda video, and did not want to be filmed by others. During this confrontation, the Pinks got close and Kavanagh pushed them away. Finally, the police were called and the Little Pinks were mocked both worldwide and even in China.

Now through the lens of a 1st generation American, I see these horrible situations and know that to live in China would be nothing worse than Hell for me. Though some China may say the same about me in America, citing our own manifold problems. But to that I say, “haha suckers you live in a shithole. And to my Taiwanese friends, may you regain the mainland.”

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