NEW DELHI: China is known for its strong family system. Traditionally, a Chinese family had well-defined roles for its different members. Children are not just raised by parents but often two or even four grandparents. Important life decisions involve the entire family. Elders have pride of place, they are to be respected and followed unquestioningly for their wisdom and spirituality. Questioning their authority is considered offensive but all this appears to be changing with growing economic hardship and lifestyle crisis.
A hashtag titled ‘#Why are younger generations increasingly inclined to reject China’s traditional, rigid family structure?’ was massively trending today on Weibo, occupying the first position for a very long time. It received 200 million views and featured over 12,000 debates in just a few hours. The hashtag addresses why there are fewer family gatherings and get-togethers and why many Chinese people have ceased communicating with their relatives. The hashtag’s overall message is that Chinese youth are erasing culture and tradition.
Young Chinese expressed anger at how the challenge of coping with everyday life was changing them. It began with Covid, when many families had to struggle with death and economic disruption.
Many young people said they hated their families and other relations since they were constantly being asked about their jobs, how much they were earning, relationships or plans for children and new homes. To which netizens responded that despite development and new opportunities in China’s big cities, competition was stiff. There was a shortage of jobs and many young people had significant levels of debt, given expensive lifestyles.
The media pages of some verified handles shared links to articles such as how to maintain relationships between relatives and friends.
A comment under this hashtag by one of the netizens on Weibo was “An important reason for not wanting to go home”.
Another Comment on this hashtag: This is because there is no time, no energy, no money to maintain these relatives.
Comments such as “Youngsters in China Live Alone” were seen being posted by a lot of Chinese netizens.
Comments like “ Relatives, family tradition is annoying”
China’s population is shrinking with many provinces experiencing negative population growth. UN experts see China’s population shrinking by 109 million by 2050.