tirsdag 9. april 2024

The Angst Behind China’s ‘Lying Flat’ Youth

In halloween in 2022, outside a party the police had just disbanded in Beijing’s warehouse district, I saw a 20-something woman in a sparkly spandex suit and bunny ears run into the road. “Freedom, not testing!” she shouted. “Reform, not revolution! Votes, not dictators! Citizens, not slaves!”

Those were familiar words at Tsinghua University, where I was studying for a master’s degree. From a bridge near campus, someone had hung a banner emblazoned with the slogans. The banner’s maker, who became known as “Bridgeman,” had disappeared a few days before Halloween. Now the girl in the spandex suit struggled with her boyfriend in the street as he tried to cover her mouth. The other young people streamed out of the warehouse party in silence. But, moments later, muted voices rose from the crowd: “I agree,” “I support you,” and even, “Xi Jinping has a small penis!”