World: Austerity Governs Chinese New Year

Due to the relative economic slowdown and anti-corruption efforts of President Xi Jinping, who took office in 2012, this Chinese New Year (February 19) will be disappointing for many when compared to the celebrations of years past. Despite overtaking the US as the largest economy in terms of purchasing power in 2014, China’s 2014 annual growth rate of 7.4 percent was its slowest since 1990, when it was facing sanctions due to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. This, when paired with the anti-corruption campaign, means that instead of receiving lavish presents like iPads and enjoying extravagant, usually taxpayer-funded holiday parties, Chinese employees can count on receiving commonplace items like bacon and onions. In a survey by Zhaopin.com on Monday (February 2, 2015) of 10,000 white-collar employees, 60% expected nothing from employers – cash bonuses nor in kind gifts – while 40% expected only lowly gifts like the ones mentioned.

What do you think: Is this tradeoff a small price to pay for a hopefully less-corrupt future?

Contributor: Elaine Chen

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