China, the protests of the poor in the country that has eliminated poverty

It was February 25, 2021 when the Chinese President Xi Jinping made a momentous announcement regarding “total victory” in theeradication of extreme poverty. In the Great Hall of the People, Xi remarked on the fundamental role of the Communist Party of China in “improving the well-being of the people” having had the fight against poverty as “its original mission”.

Chinese economy recovering in 2023

China has invested the equivalent of 230 billion euros to free the weakest section of the population, corresponding to 98.99 million people, from extreme poverty. Naturally, in a country of 1.4 billion inhabitants, large pockets of poverty continue to persist and do not spare the younger generations who live in big cities.

In the first quarter of 2023 the Chinese GDP up 4.5%, after months of handbrake due to pandemic-related restrictions. The Chinese dragon is actually targeting 5% growth. But while the economy as a whole is on course, wealth is not evenly distributed. As Business Insider reports, more than 300 million Chinese have logged on to Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, to view a post entitled “My real savings at 26”. In that post, as in a social challenge, thousands of Chinese 26-year-olds posted screenshots of their bank accounts claiming they were broke. In just a few hours, that content amassed over 12,000 comments.

Young Chinese broke

A user from the southwestern province of Sichuan confessed to saving the equivalent of 0.13 euros. Another user from Anhui in eastern China said he had the equivalent of $19.97 in his bank account, the equivalent of what he received as salary for the day’s work just ended. “I too turn 26 this year. Savings? What savings?” wrote a young man from Jiangsu showing his 62 euro bank statement. “My savings at 26. What a joke”, wrote a user from Guangdong showing that he had the equivalent of 1.75 euros.

Unemployment among young people in China

For many Chinese Generation Z, i.e. young people born between 1997 and 2012, the myth of “zhuan” seems to be moving away. The term was coined in 2012 and refers to what we could define as the dream of the average Chinese, i.e. own a house, a car and be married. But reality is opposed to the dream: a fifth of Chinese youth in the age group between 16 and 24 years it results unemployed in April 2023. In the meantime, however, aspirations are galloping, so much so that the consumption of luxury goods and cosmetics by young people exceeds that of millennials. Today the young Chinese belonging to Gen Z earns a average of $550 a monthaccording to Statista.

Complicating the country’s situation is the fact that, according to the 2010 census, around five hundred million people between the ages of 18 and 65 (74 percent of the workforce) in China did not have a diploma. This has generated a two-speed economy with unskilled workers used as cheap labor and skilled workers who have seen their wages grow rapidly. But now the Chinese development model is changing and Beijing has understood the importance of pushing the masses towards education.

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