Financial TimesFinancial Times

Covid in China: Xi’s fraying relationship with the middle class

By Edward White, Andy Lin and Eleanor Olcott

27 Jun 2022 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

China’s urban middle class has been hit hard by China’s use of draconian lockdowns as part of its “zero Covid” policy. With frustration rising, many now dream about leaving China for good.

For decades, China’s expanding middle class had but one option to get ahead: neijuan, or joining the rat race of relentless competition.

Then, a surprising strain of resistance sprouted among the young last year: tangping, lying flat and doing only the minimum to make ends meet.

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