GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
People often ask the question – “How does Democracy work in China?”. In recent months the Party has curbed the power of those Billionaires (not all) who have used their wealth + size to challenge the Party’s right to rule. Leading entertainers have been required to pay back tax running into millions of RMB and the Party has now intervened to protect abuse of workers through weekend overwork + mistreatment.
Kuaishou, China’s short-video company, which raised $5.4bn in a public listing this year – has formally cancelled its weekend overtime policy. Its competitor, ByteDance, is considering the same. In January 2021, the news of two deaths at commerce giant, Pinduodu, has stirred nationwide debate over the much-criticised “996” schedule – 9 am-9 pm 6 days a week.
At the heart is Beijing’s Regulatory Tightening against Big Tech. Reform means investment, billionaires, streamlined working practices as profits are pursued to promote widespread prosperity but there have to be limits – Socialist China is not Capitalist China. China’s workers need to work hard but they need to be protected from aspiring employers squeezing the workers too tightly.
There has to be a balance between work + rest and much focuses on “Big/Small Weeks”. A survey by ByteDance found that one-third of staff wanted it to continue and another one-third wanted it to end. Some do not want to lose the weekend pay + others suspect that weekday hours may be extended to avoid production cutback. A debate is taking place among the workforce and within the Party.