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Issue #2

Anybody Out There?

The Chinese Labour Movement under Xi

April–July 2018

Labour activism has undergone significant transformation in China over the last decade. Between the mid-2000s and mid-2010s, an increase in labour protests seemed to herald a growing and more self-confident labour movement. A series of high-profile collective actions that took place in the early 2010s brought forward a time of renewed optimism, during which the public debate on Chinese labour came to be dominated by the idea of China’s workers ‘awakening’ and taking their fate into their own hands. Far from the optimism of those years, today the effects of economic slowdown and the tightening of civil society have thrown China’s workers into a state of uncertainty and disorientation, and the Chinese labour movement has once again found itself at an impasse. This issue of Made in China takes a look at the current conjuncture.

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