Ivan Franceschini is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, The Australian National University. He has been working on Chinese labour activism for over a decade and his current research mainly focuses on China's presence in Cambodia.

City Making and Global Labour Regimes: A Conversation with Antonella Ceccagno

Chinese immigrants in European societies have often been perceived as a threat, especially in those contexts affected by economic decline and industrial retrenchment. Prato is no exception to this. Once a flourishing textile hub in which local entrepreneurs dominated the industry, a couple of decades ago the Italian city entered a phase of decline. It […]

The Internet in China: A Conversation with Gianluigi Negro

For the past couple of decades, the Internet has been one of the most contentious arenas for public discourse in China, a site of confrontation between authorities eager to exert control and users attempting to re-appropriate discursive spaces. In his book The Internet in China: From Infrastructure to Nascent Civil Society (Palgrave Macmillan 2017), Gianluigi […]

How the Chinese Censors Highlight Fundamental Flaws in Academic Publishing

Heads of major international organisations and world-famous actresses are not all that has been disappearing in China in recent months. According to a complaint recently posted online by several scholars, Springer Nature—the world’s largest academic publisher—is guilty of removing ‘politically sensitive’ content published in the Transcultural Research book series from their Chinese website at the […]

Hegemonic Transformation: A Conversation with Elaine Sio-Ieng Hui

Discussions of Chinese labour are generally dominated by stories of exploitation. Relatively little attention has been paid to the fact that over the past two decades the Chinese authorities have developed an impressive body of labour laws and regulations. There has been even less notice of the fact that this legislation was widely disseminated among the Chinese public through the official media, or of how these laws have regularly elicited widespread domestic discussion. But how to reconcile these notable legislative achievements with the global image of a government that apparently does not care for the wellbeing of its workers? In Hegemonic Transformation (Palgrave Macmillan 2017), Elaine Sio-Ieng Hui addresses this paradox.

The Last Days of Shi Yang

What follows is a fictionalised account of the last days of Shi Yang (1889–1923) based on the prison diaries included in the commemorative volume Shi Yang jinian wenji (Museum of the 7 February Massacre, Wuhan 1988). Shi Yang was a weiquan lawyer ante litteram, and to this day he remains an inspiration to many labour activists in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates him as a martyr of the revolution, the irony of which will not escape those who are aware of the plight of human rights lawyers and labour activists in the country today. That in April 2018 the Chinese government passed a new law to protect the reputation and honour of ‘its’ heroes and martyrs can be seen as further adding to the irony.

A ‘Pessoptimistic’ View of Chinese Labour NGOs

We’ve entered a grey area: we’re not organisations anymore, and maybe in the future we’ll be reduced to only a few individuals.   This was the ominous prediction of one Chinese labour activist in Shenzhen in 2016. If we consider that these words were proffered in the midst of the worst crackdown that labour NGOs […]

Resurrecting the Dead

Lu Xun today lives a new life in his homeland as well as abroad. However, given the vastness and unevenness of his oeuvre, not all his works receive the same attention. In particular, one collection of short stories stands out for their neglect: Old Tales Retold, a series of comic sketches based on ancient Chinese myths and legends published shortly before his death. This essay focusses on this semi-forgotten pearl and its relevance for today’s readers.

Beyond the Great Paywall: A Lesson from the Cambridge University Press China Incident

On 18 August it was revealed that Cambridge University Press had complied with the demands of Chinese government censors to block access on its website in China to hundreds of ‘politically sensitive’ articles published in its prestigious China Quarterly journal. The ensuing debate has generally overlooked the problematic nature of the commercial academic publishing industry. Isn’t it time to take the profit motive out of the equation and to rediscover a certain measure of idealism in academia?

Outsourcing Exploitation: Chinese and Cambodian Garment Workers Compared

In recent years, much has been written about how increasing labour costs in China are pushing investors to move labour-intensive production to other countries where wages are still low. But what does this shift in global capital trends entail for workers? How do the workforces in these new outsourcing destinations fare compared to their Chinese counterparts? In order to gain a better understanding of the human cost of this latest capital flight, this essay compares garment workers in China and Cambodia.

Slaving Away: The ‘Black Brick Kilns Scandal’ Ten Years On

In the spring and summer of 2007, bands of aggrieved parents roamed the Chinese countryside looking for their missing children, whom they learned had been kidnapped and sold as slaves to illegal kilns. Thanks to the involvement of Chinese media and civil society, the so-called ‘black brick kilns incident’ becameone of the most remarkable stories of popular mobilisation and resistance in contemporary China. Now that ten years have passed, are there any lessons that we can draw from this moment in history?

  • 1
  • 2

Subscribe to Made in China

Made in China publications are open access and always available as a free download. To subscribe to email alerts for each issue of the Journal, newly published books, and information about upcoming events, please provide your contact information below.


Back to Top