996 work culture: Death of 22-year-old techie exposes toxicity of the Chinese industry
Beijing: The death of a 22-year-old Chinese woman tech worker has exposed the industry's toxic '996' work culture, media reports said.
The Chinese pride themselves on being hardworking, but the “996” culture of working from 9am to 9pm, six days a week, is simply inhuman. Sadly, such a practice is all too common in many Chinese technology companies, reports South China Morning Post.
The latest victim of this regime is a 22-year-old woman surnamed Zhang, who worked at the Xinjiang branch of Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo. At around 1.30 am on December 29, she collapsed on a frozen street while walking home from the office with her colleagues. She died in hospital, the newspaper reported
Her death sparked widespread expressions of sympathy on social media. What triggered the heated discussions on overwork culture was her company’s insensitive comment, reports the newspaper.
Earlier this month, when the question of whether Pinduoduo should be held responsible for her death was raised on Zhihu, China’s equivalent of Quora, Pinduoduo’s official account gave a cold response, suggesting that the decision to work long hours was up to the individual, the report added.
The 996 Working Hour system is a work schedule commonly practiced by some companies in the People's Republic of China.
It derives its name from its requirement that employees work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, 6 days per week; i.e. 72 hours per week.