It has been nearly two years since Chinese tech workers took to Github, a coding collaboration platform, to protest Chinese tech firms’ overtime work culture known as “996,” a work schedule of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. The virtual protest drew global press attention, but things have scarcely changed since then. Today, Chinese tech workers are still plagued by 996.

The problem came under public scrutiny again this month when it was reported that a 23-year-old employee of Chinese e-commerce firm Pinduoduo collapsed and died on her way home after finishing work at midnight on Dec. 29, 2020. The tragedy prompted Chinese authorities to start a probe into Pinduoduo’s working conditions, something the 2019 protest failed to achieve.

Meanwhile, poor working conditions for blue-collar workers for China's tech companies continue to draw public ire, triggered by similar misfortunes, including the death of a courier at food delivery platform Ele.me at work earlier this month, and the self-immolation of another Ele.me deliveryman this week.

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Wei Sheng

Wei Sheng is a Beijing-based reporter covering hardware, smartphone, and telecommunications, along with regulations and policies related to the China tech scene. Before joining TechNode, he wrote about...