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A busy street near an industrial estate in Shenzhen

Changing work ethic hinders evangelization reporter, Guangzhou

December 22 2010

A big change in the values of young people, who dislike tiresome and dirty jobs at the lower levels of a company, has challenged not only China's status as "the world’s factory" but also the ability to spread the Gospel.

The message of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice for mankind is being lost in a generation increasingly searching for the easy life, a range of mainlanders interviewed by say.

Many point to what is happening in the Chinese economy for an explanation. The advantage of China's low labor cost is gradually being eroded and many foreign companies here, even with better benefits, have difficulty retaining staff because many young workers easily get fed up with working under strict management.

Huang, quality department head of a private company, told that he believe young people have become spoiled and pampered. They change jobs frequently and the high turnover is a big problem for his company’s management.

Teresa Tang, a Protestant buyer, told, "We don't have a day that we don't need to recruit newcomers. Workers come and go. It is harder and harder to recruit lower-level workers for our company."

Laywoman Maria Zou said that many young people in the countryside or towns are unwilling to work and just stay idly at home. "Actually, there is no shortage of labor."

Over-sheltered by their parents, most young people do not realize the importance of leading an independent life or the hardships their parents have borne, she said.

Other reasons for the brain drain include low wages, poor welfare, management and other problems, she said.

"Many local business owners appoint people by favoritism, causing young people feel unhappy that their ability and talent get no recognition," warehouse manager Joseph Jiang told

The interviewees think that evangelization under such value change is a tough task as it is hard for the younger generation to believe that Christ suffered and crucified for mankind.

Young people with hedonistic attitudes seldom make reflections on their own lives, let alone accept Christianity, when Christ's suffering and redemption is the core of the faith, said Tang.

The Church needs to let them know the links between suffering and hard work. If one does not understand the value of hardship, it is even harder for them to understand why Jesus has to sacrifice for mankind, she said.

Father Joseph in Shenzhen, a special economic zone with the highest number of migrant workers population in China, also said that hedonism among young people imposed challenges on the Church's evangelistic work.

"We need to show our concern and instill proper values in these young people as they could not get it from the society," he said.

However, another Catholic layperson sees the issue positively, noting that distorted values of the younger generation can also mean opportunities for evangelization, as the Gospel is good message to everybody at all times.

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