Technology

22-year-old girl dies because of ‘996’ working culture


After working long hours, a 22-year-old female employee in China passed away from exhaustion.

On the morning of December 29, a female employee working at the e-commerce company Pinduoduo passed away, 22 years old. After working long hours at night, the girl was exhausted and collapsed on her way home with her colleagues at 1:30 a.m.

Female staff died after 6 hours of emergency at a nearby hospital. According to the SCMP, the departure of this girl is a typical example of the famous “996” working culture.

On January 4, Pinduoduo confirmed the departure of female employee surnamed Zhang, born in 1998, working at the Duoduo Maicai unit, west of Xinjiang, China.

Employee Pinduoduo retires to work through his body 1

Pinduoduo will be investigated by Chinese authorities for working conditions. Photo: Global Times.

News of Zhang’s death quickly spread on the national social network. On Weibo, the hashtag about the incident attracted more than 190 million views. In it, the hashtag # 996, which represents the harsh schedules of 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week for Chinese workers, was removed from the platform.

Pinduoduo’s statement did not specify the cause of Zhang’s death nor detailed reports from the investigative agency. On the evening of January 4, the local labor agency in Shanghai announced the opening of an investigation into Pinduoduo’s working conditions.

So far, Pinduoduo still declined to comment.

Pinduoduo said the company sent colleagues for the funeral with Zhang’s family. Besides, the fact that the company does not make a public announcement is desirable from the girl’s parents. After obtaining consent, Zhang was cremated on January 3, 2021.

In a photo of Zhang’s alleged announcement, he said the family did not want their daughter to be the subject of gossip. The WeChat account is believed to belong to the father who posted his thanks to Pinduoduo and his colleagues at the funeral.

However, both father and boyfriend Zhang declined the interview and were unable to be contacted.

Duoduo Maicai is Pinduoduo’s new business, in line with the goal of pursuing an advantage in the multi-billion dollar group market. The growth of this field has led to fierce competition with competitors like Meituan, which partly creates pressure and huge workload on employees.

Pinduoduo employee retires to work through his brother 2

Alibaba boss, Jack Ma, publicly supported 996. Photo: Bloomberg.

Zhang’s death comes days after it emerged that Colin Huang, the founder of Pinduoduo, overtook Jack Ma (the boss of Alibaba Group Holding) and Pony Ma (founder of Tencent Holdings) to become billionaires. 2nd China.

Although there is no evidence, the Chinese netizens still believe that Zhang’s departure was linked to overwork, and linked the incident to the 996 culture.

In early 2019, a group of Chinese programmers created an archive called 996.ICU on GitHub to criticize the unreasonable work schedules of domestic tech companies, including Youzan and JD. com. Soon after, the 996 topics sparked a wave of debate across China.

“If you regularly adhere to the ‘996’ work schedule, you run the risk of going into an intensive care unit (ICU),” explains the information above 996.ICU.

The campaign quickly became the most popular repository on GitHub and was heavily joined by tech workers. At the same time, it makes some technology tycoons have to speak up about this issue.

According to the Chinese Labor Law, employees are allowed to extend their working hours up to 3 hours for special reasons, however, employees are not allowed to work more than 36 hours / month.

According to the Zing

China investigates Alibaba: Lessons for Jack Ma and the tech ‘bad boys’

In the eyes of Chinese regulators and authorities, correcting behavior and pointing the right path for technology firms is equally important.

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