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Beijing Anticipates Upcoming Mass Layoffs and Social Unrest

As the end of the year approaches, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang once again demanded to regulate how Chinese companies fire their employees. He proposed measures to prevent the outbreak of mass layoffs. The official party mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency reported on December 24 that Li issued the “Opinions on Further Improving Job Market Stability.” It proposed that the government should put more emphasis on employment stability and offer guidance to companies that conduct economic layoffs. The Opinions aims to prevent the risk of mass layoffs and ensure that the employment situation is stable. The above measures highlight China’s grim employment situation as a large-scale wave of layoffs may come soon.

The Opinions also mentioned the need to improve emergency response mechanisms. All regions should deal in a timely manner with mass social unrest that results from large-scale layoffs. The local governments have been advised to coordinate the employment needs of different groups and formulate temporary response measures.

On December 23, the government think tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, released the “Social Blue Book: Analysis and Forecast of China’s Social Situation 2020.” It stated that, due to the downward pressure on the economy and the impact of Sino-U.S. trade frictions, compounded by cyclical, structural and frictional factors, China’s employment situation continues to fluctuate because of increasing pressure and amid growing risks.

Source: Radio Free Asia, December 25, 2019