China’s Masses Urged to Adopt ‘Stick Stick Spirit’

Premier Li Keqiang has urged Chinese workers to emulate the hard-working ‘stick stick men,’ or porters, of Chongqing, Te-Ping Chen reports at The Wall Street Journal.

Laudable in spirit or not, it’s questionable how much of a model the stick men should be for China’s economy. According to research cited in a 2010 Xinhua report, stick men have trouble finding work, earn perhaps 100 yuan (about $16) a day and spend about seven to eight hours of their 12-hour workday in idleness, chatting or playing poker.

Perhaps the burnishing of the stick men spirit is one way to encourage the country’s to adjust their expectations downward. A 2012 Tsinghua survey found that entry-level salaries for 69% of college graduates are lower than those for migrant employed in factory jobs. With a record 7.27 million students graduating this year, President Xi Jinping has been urging people to be “down-to-earth” in their job hunts. [Source]