The topic of “young people cutting off relatives” continues to spark heated discussions.
An increasing number of young people are choosing not to visit their relatives, and conversations with relatives have become a popular topic for online venting, leading to the creation of numerous humorous short videos about “re-educating relatives.” According to Hu Xiaowu, for those who work in big cities, returning to their hometown can create a sense of discomfort, as if “home has become a foreign place.”
Hu Xiaowu, an associate professor at the School of Sociology of Nanjing University and the executive dean of the Institute of Urban Science, has long been concerned about urban youth issues. He defines “cutting off relatives” as a phenomenon in which individuals are lazy, indifferent, and disdainful of interacting and engaging with relatives within the second generation. In simple terms, it means that they rarely visit their relatives, rather than formally severing family ties.
At the end of 2022, Hu Xiaowu published a research paper titled “Youth Cutting off Relatives: How Does It Happen and Where Do We Go from Here?” Through his research, he found that the younger the age group, the less contact they have with their relatives, especially among the “post-90s” and “post-2000s” generations. Cutting off relatives has become a social norm. Furthermore, with the development of the internet and urbanization, this trend continues to strengthen.
The social changes brought about by urbanization, as well as the economic, spatial, and lifestyle transformations facilitated by the internet, have led young people to engage in behaviors different from their parents, such as cutting off relatives. “It is the result of social changes in China, and I do not view it as a social problem. It is an objective outcome,” says Hu Xiaowu.