China’s economy is so discouraging that desperate young people are flocking to temples to pray for some luck

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JUNE 9, 2023

  • Young people in China are so demoralized by the economy that they are flocking to temples to pray for luck.
  • Visits to Beijing’s Yonghe Temple soared 530% in March and early April from a year ago.
  • The spike in temple visits comes as China’s jobless rate for people 16 to 24 years old is at a record high 20.4%.

As China’s post-pandemic economic rebound has started to sputter, a different type of rally has taken over the country.

The nation’s young people are flocking to temples and other religious establishments to pray for luck in the face of dismal prospects as growth deteriorates further.

Visits to Beijing’s Yonghe Temple, which is favored by those seeking financial accomplishment, soared 530% in March and early April compared to the same time a year ago, according to CNN, which cited a survey by Chinese travel site Qunar.com and social-media app Xiaohongshu.

Also known as the Lama Temple, it saw the biggest spike in visitors of any temple in China during that time, the survey found.

Nationwide, temple visits this year have quadrupled versus a year ago, with half of the visitors between the ages of 20 and 30, the survey said.

Meanwhile, Longhu Mountain, which is one of the birthplaces of Taoism, recorded 4.73 million visitors in the first quarter, up 47% from 2019, according to CNN. And Wudang, another famous Taoist site, saw a 23% surge.

To be sure, tourism overall is up after China ended its strict zero-COVID policies last year. But the jump in temple visits has been spurred by a popular hashtag on social media that translates roughly to “no school-going, no hard-working, only incense-burning.”

In fact, “incense-burning youth” is the top catchphrase in China’s tourism industry, according to the survey by Qunar.com and Xiaohongshu.

The spike in temple visits comes as China’s jobless rate for people 16 to 24 years old is at a record high 20.4%.

After the Chinese economy saw an encouraging jump in the first quarter, more recent indicators on manufacturing, services, and retail sales, among others, have pointed to sudden weakening.

And on Friday, fresh data on consumer and producer prices elevated fears that deflation could grip China’s economy.


Courtesy/Source: Market Insider