CNN: “We are the newer generation.” Severe epidemic restrictions in Shanghai are exacerbating the anger of citizens and the population crisis in China

For generations of Chinese parents, the success of their children has always been one of their most important goals in life, and it is well known that they are willing to make great sacrifices to do so. So when a family in Shanghai refused to leave their homes to enter the government’s COVID quarantine imposed by the central authorities in Beijing during the sixth week of the city’s isolation, a police officer threatened them with the future of their children, According to CNN . analysis.

A Chinese police officer pointed to senior family members, pointing to the camera in a video posted on China’s social security networks.

“We are the last generation, thank you,” said a young man who did not appear in the video, an apparent indication that he had no plans to have children.

The video ended abruptly, with no indication of whether the family was eventually moved and placed in quarantine.

But the issue quickly spread online in China, resonating with many young Chinese people who are weary of the increasing pressure to have children from a society and government that many say has given them little security. Physical and emotional things they need to raise a child.

“I laughed at first but in the end I got really sad. He resists, giving up his reproductive rights,” commented on the case of a user from Weibo, the similar Twitter platform in China.

The continuation of family lineage has always been the duty of children in traditional Chinese culture. But in China today, not having children — or delaying it — has become a form of resistance and silent protest against what many see as the disappointing reality in which they live, with deep-rooted structural problems stemming from a system in which they have so little. The power of change.

“It’s a tragic expression of the deepest kind of desperation,” Zhang Zhuichong, a human rights lawyer and former law professor in Shanghai, wrote on Twitter about the case and the video. “It is undoubtedly the strongest condemnation a young man can make to the era in which he is living,” Zhuizhou added.

Read also: In Shanghai, people are being chased into the streets and frozen to be tested with anti-Covid strength

Chinese young people are delaying having children or getting married

In the past decade, the number of young Chinese in the generation Generation Y / Millennials (early 1980s as the birthdate of first millennials, mid-1990s to early 2000s) They have put off the idea of ​​marriage or childbearing or flatly refused because they face high work pressure, high real estate prices, high education costs, and discrimination against mothers at work.

Last year, only 7.6 million Chinese were registered for marriage. The number was 44% lower than in 2013 and the lowest in 36 years. At the same time, the country’s birth rate has fallen to 7.5 births per 1,000 residents, a record low since the founding of communist China, with nine provinces and regions experiencing negative population growth.

CNN reporters note that the Chinese government is concerned about the situation. For decades, Beijing authorities have strictly enforced the one-child policy, which has forced millions of women to finish tasks the state considers illegal. But with China’s low birth rate, demographers have warned of a looming population crisis.

Beijing abandoned the one-child policy in 2016 and relaxed it further last year To allow couples to have three childrenLocal governments issued a series of advertising slogans and financial incentives to encourage more births. But the birth rate continued to decline.

Some officials and political advisors ignored the demands of the youth. Last month, a law professor and delegate to the Municipal Congress of the Communist Party of China in Jinzhou, Hubei Province, suggested that in order to promote marriage and childbirth, the Chinese media should reduce or avoid talking about “independent women” and “double-income”, who have no children. And they lead a good lifestyle, because such examples will not be in line with the “prevailing values” of the country.

The Chinese are beginning to realize how fragile their rights are

The suggestion sparked a reaction online. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in China, the sense of disillusionment has increased among many of the country’s younger generations.

closures Increasingly, more frequent and more stringent, as well as the chaos and tragedies it causes, citizens are made aware of the precariousness of their rights in the face of a state apparatus that does not tolerate opposition and bureaucracy. Flexibility.

This is especially true in Shanghai, a city that has been in strict isolation for seven weeks. In China’s richest and most charming city, residents have been subjected to widespread food shortages, a lack of health care and forced quarantines in makeshift medical facilities. Authorities initially separated the young children from their parents and only rescinded the measure after a public protest.

Growing frustration and anger erupted on Chinese social media, and in some cases, observers struggled to keep up. Some residents protested against windows, beat pots and pans, and expressed dissatisfaction. Others clashed with police and health workers in the streets, something rarely seen in a country where dissent is usually suppressed.

Last week, local officials forced residents to hand over the keys to their homes after quarantine so that health workers could enter and disinfect the place, without scientific justification for the measure or ignoring the right to private property.

For many residents, this was the last straw. Their homes, private space, and last resort cannot be excused from the zealous application of government policy. zero covid. Some Chinese in Shanghai say their lives are being consumed in pursuit of what officials consider the “common good,” and people are still powerless to protect their families.

For many young Chinese, the crisis in Shanghai is raising the alarm. If even the most developed city in China, with the largest middle-class population and supposedly the most open and cosmopolitan bureaucrats, could not be excused from such tyrannical treatment, other cities would be able to cope. good?

Who wants to have children when things get to this point? Who would dare to have children? asked one Weibo user. Your covenant with me is over. And the suffering you caused ends with meAnother said.

The anger that quickly spread quickly caught the attention of the sergeants. By Thursday evening, last week, most of the videos had been deleted from the Chinese internet. On Weibo, several related hashtags, from “we are the last generation” to “the last generation”, have been blocked after heated discussions about the wrong approach by the authorities.

But suppressing what young people have to say won’t help convince Chinese officials to have children. On the contrary, CNN journalists say this may only increase the degree of satisfaction.

Read also: China wants to reopen Shanghai on June 1 after the harsh shutdown that hit its economy hard

Editor: Marco Badi

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