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Stressed by life and only 17: Chinese hashtag ignites debate

Girl group Rocket Girls pose on stage in Hangzhou, China Image copyright Visual China Group

The fast pace of life and the impact that has on young people’s mental health has sparked a huge debate across Chinese social media.

In particular, when a 17-year-old revealed her work stresses in a feature by China’s Pear video website, the hashtag #17YearOldsReallyHaveAStressfulLife reached more than 33 million people on the social media platform Sina Weibo – China’s equivalent to Twitter.

Since its broadcast, the interview with the teenager, who’s on her third job this summer supervising children in a Qingdao mall, has been viewed more than five million times.

Image copyright Pear Video

She’s apparently not alone, with 5,000 users – more than 3,000 on Weibo and 2,000 on Miaopai – commenting and sharing their own experiences and advice.

“It’s as hard to make money as it is to go to university,” said one, and another commented: “She probably isn’t aware yet that university freshmen are absolutely exhausted.”

A fellow millennial, who works part-time, complained that she was always tired, and added: “I have to go to university too, but there is so much pressure at university!”

Others pointed out that the effort is worth it, commenting: “I believe this girl will not regret it in the future,” with another writing: “It’s hard to make money, it doesn’t get any easier in the world of adults.”

On a more light-hearted note, a few memes have been circulating, including this one which says: “People born after 1990 are so stressed their hair is falling out!”

Image copyright Weibo

As millions of young people continue to share their struggles, it has emerged that three members of the popular Chinese girl band Rocket Girls – formed after taking part in reality show Produce 101 China – have left due to stress and overwork.

Meng Meiqi, who is 19-years-old, was included in Forbes China’s 30 under 30 list earlier this month and has a huge following online.


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The stress and strains of young people have come to light before.

In May, the hashtag #27YearsOldAndIHaveNoSavings reached more than 4.8 million Chinese people on social media.

Many users lamented their lack of savings, pressure from parents and the increased cost of living.

And they can now add sleep deprivation to those worries, after the Global Times in July shared statistics showing that the average length of sleep for Chinese people has dropped from 8.8 hours in 2013, to 6.5 in 2018.


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