Department or Program

Asian Studies


The objective of this Chinese thesis is to understand a social movement in China called 躺平 (tǎng píng) which translates to “lying flat” in English. More specifically, I will unpack phrases in Chinese related to the workforce being a “rat race” and compare it to a recent social movement called the Great Resignation occurring in the United States. Additionally, I aim to explore how the pandemic has redefined people’s mindsets and expectations of the workforce by analyzing the manifesto which initiated the 躺平 movement. The manifesto explains the lessons learned by its author during two years of joblessness and is closely tied to the “996” phenomenon, which refers to being overworked and overstressed due to working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 6 days a week. Lastly, throughout this thesis I will make use of and analyze some contemporary Chinese phrases related to how the lying flat movement is interfering with China’s innovation and technological advancement. For example, I aim to unpack the following current phrases: 多做多错,少做少错, 不做不错 (duō zuò duō cuò, shǎo zuò shǎo cuò, bù zuò bùcuò) and 躺平的韭菜不好割 (tǎng píng de jiǔcài bù hǎo gē).

My introduction will discuss Covid-19 and how the pandemic and related events led to these movements. My first chapter will be devoted to language translations as I analyze the Manifesto which initiated the movement. A second chapter is devoted to this movement on social media and discusses the concept of involution. The third chapter pivots to the societal impact of a cut throat workforce environment and explains the 996 working issue in China. A fourth chapter will be devoted to the United States, to understand the emotional fatigue that accompanies anxiety in regards to corporate culture and leads to emotional burn out, also known as The Big Quit. The fifth chapter will be a conclusion of social change, accompanied by a personal statement, and a Mount David Poster which was presented in April.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Faries, Nathan

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.