Bad economy, nosy relatives: Young Chinese put off by Lunar New Year
Young Chinese are deterred from celebrating Lunar New Year due to a challenging economy and intrusive relatives, reflecting changing traditions.
Yuwen, a 33-year-old unemployed for over six months, expresses reluctance to return home for the Chinese New Year, dreading intrusive questions from relatives. The Lunar New Year triggers the world's largest annual mass migration, known as "chunyun," with nearly 380 million internal migrants making the journey. Despite authorities expecting a record nine billion trips, some, like Yuwen, choose to stay away due to unemployment-related concerns.
The economic slowdown in China, marked by a stagnant real estate market and rising local government debts, has intensified a confidence crisis. Official data in June 2023 revealed over one in five city-dwellers aged 16 to 24 were unemployed. While the latest data shows a decrease to 14.9%, excluding students, it still reflects economic challenges.
Investors fear the Chinese leadership's focus on party control over economic development, evident in crackdowns on private enterprises under President Xi Jinping. This uncertainty prompts young people, especially the unemployed, to avoid family gatherings during the festive season. The apprehension highlights the broader economic and confidence challenges facing China amid shifting dynamics and concerns about the government's approach to economic policies.