Briefing: Chinese developers protest ‘996’ in viral Github post
Mar 29, 2019
What happened: A Github post naming two e-commerce companies—JD and Youzan—known for embracing the grueling “996” work schedule has received widespread support on the open development platform. A Github user using the handle “996icu” wrote on Tuesday that the relentless work schedule, shorthand for 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, may mean ending up in the intensive care unit, and that “developers’ lives matter,” recalling the US activist movement, Black Lives Matter. The post spread quickly and ranked first on GitHub’s trending page on Thursday, and amassing more than 80,000 “stars”—a tool for users to bookmark a post—as of Friday morning.
Why it’s important: The 996 work schedule has claimed the spotlight recently, with Chinese startups and bigger companies like JD, 58.com, Xiaomi and Bytedance reportedly adopting the policy amid reports of Chinese developers who struggle to find a right work-life balance and quickly burn out. The viral post also highlights reliance on GitHub, a platform for Chinese developers and engineers to share their work, which is now increasingly used to discuss social issues.