Diaosi: Peking University Releases Report on China’s “Losers”

A male Chinese crowd (of "diaosi") at ChinaJoy.

A male Chinese crowd (of "diaosi") at ChinaJoy.

From NetEase:

Peking University Releases Diaosi Living Conditions Report: Changchun Is Most Diaosi City

On October 29th, Peking University’s Market and Media Research Center released the first national “Diaosi Living Conditions Report/Study, with the report showing: diaosi earn an average of 2919.7 yuan per month [~479 USD], and 72.3% of diaosi are unhappy with their lives. What worries diaosi the most remains their family, with diaosi giving 1076.7 yuan to their parents on average every month. In terms of industries, agricultural industries have the highest diaosi index, whereas the diaosi index in marketing/public relations/media, sports & fitness, and finance/banking/investments/funds/securities industries is relatively low.

The Peking University Market and Media Research Center expressed to The Paper ( that the word “diaosi” originated from the internet, spread until today where it is no longer derogatory, and represents the rise of an internet subculture. The 2013 Diaosi Living Conditions Report is a study jointly conducted by the Peking University Market and Media Research Center and classifieds portal Ganji. The study ran from 2014 September 1 until October 1, collecting a total of 213,795 questionnaire responses covering over 50 large, medium, and small cities, comprehensively reflecting the living conditions of those working at the lowest levels of the workforce.

Level of education not high, essentially without savings

Are you a diaosi? Have you saved up 100,000 yuan? Have you purchased a home for yourself in which you paid/pay the full amount? If your answer is yes, congratulations, you are no longer a diaosi.

The diaosi in this study primarily covers people who have already joined the workforce, have less than 100,000 yuan in personal savings, have not purchased a home or have purchased a home but did/does not pay the full amount [purchase price or mortgage payments].

Male diaosi are generally between 21-25; female between 26-30.

The term diaosi is no longer derogatory, and more and more people are using the word diaosi to characterize their own lives. So then, just what are “diaosi” like?

Male diaosi are generally between 21-25 years of age; female diaosi are between 26-30 years of age; commonly their level of education is not high; most have gone out [left their hometowns] to find work, have yet to find a life partner, and have an average monthly income of 2917.7 yuan. Generally, they do not have any savings.

Monthly income of 2917.7 yuan, half work overtime every week

Among the over 210k people who participated in the questionnaire survey, 62.2% consider themselves diaosi, with their ages primarily distributed between 21-30 years of age, and low-level workers most common in the workforce. Their average monthly wage is 2917.7 yuan, while 2013 official statistical data showed that the average wage in Beijing was 5793 yuan [~950 USD].

Among diaosi, 73.6% are far from their hometowns, their main reason for leaving home was the hope of earning more money, thus changing their own lives and that of their families. Drifting far away from home, the lives of diaosi are simple, keeping their three meals a day within 39 yuan [~6.40 USD] total, with 7.8% of them keeping it within 10 yuan [~1.64 USD], and the monthly rent paid by half of the respondents are 500 yuan [~82 USD] and under.

To make a living away from home, they must rely on themselves, with 41% of diaosi relying on the internet to find work, and most of them changing jobs once every three years.

The study shows that over half of diaosi don’t need to work overtime, but those who have to work overtime nearly every day still make up 21.7% of the whole. Hard work does not necessarily earn a commensurate return, with nearly 60% of diaosi working overtime without getting paid overtime, with the proportion of diaosi who work overtime almost every day without getting paid overtime being the largest, reaching 68.6%.

Diaosi generally spend less than 39 yuan a day on food [~6.40 USD].

Even so, diaosi do not actually consider overtime the biggest source of stress in their work, but instead it is interpersonal relationships and employment uncertainty that torments these low-level workers in the workforce.

Work and making money occupies the majority of their time. Leisure for most diaosi is something of a luxury, with 54.2% of respondents only having 500 yuan a year in travel funds. Compared to going out for fun, diaosi prefer to stay at home, and as such, 65.7% of them choose online shopping as their primarily method of shopping. Social networking and gaming software also become godsends for those who stay at home.

Half of diaosi are single, with 71% giving money to their parents

CCTV once did a famous street interview [in 2012], asking “are you happy?” 52.7% of male diaosi feel they are unhappy, with female diaosi being a little better, but still 48.1% of respondents are not happy. Diaosi between the ages of 25-30 especially are the least happy group among all diaosi. Apart from the pressures of work, they are either struggling as singles or bearing the burden of providing for the elderly above [their parents] and the young below [their children].

Compared to peers still in their hometowns, 50.4% of diaosi who have gone out remain single.

What worries diaosi the most is family, with 33.1% believing their biggest regret/failure to their parents is not being able to care for them in person. Diaosi on average send their parents 1076.7 yuan [~176 USD] every month, and with an average monthly income of 2917.7 yuan, what they give their parents makes up 36.9% of their monthly income. A 71% majority of diaosi give their parents money [for living expenses], with “1-500 yuan” being the highest proportion at 31.2%, then “501-1000 yuan” at 24.4%.

Financially independent diaosi have an awareness of repaying their parents, and those with children also give whatever they can towards the raising of their children, spending [an average of] 2639.7 yuan on their children every month, nearly taking up all of an individual’s [average] income.

Diaosi on average give their parents 36.9% of their monthly income.

The mental and emotional state of diaosi is even more deserving of attention. This huge grassroots-level demographic, just what kind of thoughts and feelings do they have? 37.8% of diaosi believe they have mental disorders, simultaneously have not received proper psychological guidance, with most resorting to sleeping, venting, and drinking to cope, but still 4.4% of respondents choose self-harm/injury to relieve stress.

Diaosi index ranking: Jilin highest, agricultural and forestry industry the most

Through calculations, the study obtained diaosi indices for different cities, provinces, regions, industries, etc.

Changchun is this year’s most diaosi city, while Jilin is the most diaosi province. The average diaosi index of every province was 78.81, with Jilin’s diaosi index being the highest, reaching 86.07, followed by Shanxi at 83.92, and Mongolia following closely behind. In comparison, the diaosi index for the Imperial City and Magical City are both low, with Beijing at 74.89, and Shanghai at 75.11.

In terms of industry, the agricultural and forestry industry was the most diaosi industry, with the highest index rating, reaching 85.6. Second was the supermarket/department store/retail store industry, and ranking third was the pharmaceutical/bioengineering industry. The diaosi index for the marketing/public relations/media, sports and fitness, advertising, and finance/banking/investments/funds/securities industries were relatively low.

(Original title: Peking University Releases First National “Diaosi Living Conditions Report”: Changchun Most Diaosi City)

Comments from NetEase:

网易北京市手机网友 ip:111.197.*.*

Peking University has already become a collection and distribution center for stupid cunts!

网警002 [网易安徽省芜湖市网友]:

Me, monthly income 8k, debt/mortgage of 2 million, I bet I’ll be a slave all my life, not even rising to the level of a diaosi. For 2 million, I’m willing to sell my soul, any takers?

上网真不容易啊 [网易广东省深圳市网友]:

My base pay is 5000, and including commission, I make around 100k a year, yet I still feel I am a diaosi, with overwhelming stress, without a house or car, and not daring to buy a house or car, scrimping and saving wherever I can in my spending, so much that I even think I’ve developed clinical depression.

自古貳樓出煞筆 [网易广东省佛山市手机网友]:

The Imperial City finally goes into open sneering mode…

小鸭子 [网易江西省吉安市手机网友]:

All true, collapsed in tears in the bathroom.

From NetEase:

State-Media Discusses “Diaosi“: This Word Conceals Self-Demeaning, Must Be Criticized and Spurned

The December 2nd People’s Daily [newspaper] focused on the subject of “diaosi“.

In an article titled “The Belittling of Oneself, Can We Give It A Rest?”, the writer definitively writes that the term “diaosi” has already become a label many young people give themselves.

The writer worries that the popularity of the subculture associated with this term has complex social and psychological factors behind it. But the implicit self-denigration in it should be criticized and spurned, as its destructiveness to the psychological health of young people cannot be ignored.

The writer also claims people who consider themselves “diaosi” can be divided into three types: one type are those who belittle themselves on the surface but do not necessarily think little of themselves within; one type are those who belittle themselves and genuinely believe it; the third type are those who actually are stunted [lacking] and don’t care.

“The first type is self-deprecating [being humble], the second type is lacking self-esteem, while the last type is simply in a state of indifference.” The writer believes, “no matter what type, even if the existence of diaosi culture is subjectively intended to manifest courage in the face of the mainstream, or treated as a down-to-earth internet spirit, objectively it still has not made young people more independent/unconventional much less fostered much of a healthy atmosphere/environment in society.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.