Ivan Franceschini is an incoming lecturer at the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Melbourne. His expertise lies in the field of labour rights, with a specific focus on China and Cambodia. His latest books include Xinjiang Year Zero (ANU Press, 2022), Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour (Verso Books, 2022), and Global China as Method (Cambridge University Press, 2022). With Tommaso Facchin, he co-directed the documentaries Dreamwork China (2011) and Boramey: Ghosts in the Factory (2021). He is a founder and chief editor of the Made in China Journal, The People’s Map of Global China, and Global China Pulse. He is currently working on a new book on modern slavery in the online scam industry in East and Southeast Asia, which will be published by Verso in 2025.

Dissident at the Doorstep: A Conversation with Yangyang Cheng

In the 2000s, a blind Chinese barefoot lawyer named Chen Guangcheng became a global icon of freedom and democracy for suffering years of unlawful imprisonment because of his fight against China’s draconian One-Child Policy. When, one night in 2012, he staged a daring escape from the house where he was being detained and eventually managed […]

Setting Knowledge Free: Towards an Ethical Open Access

There is widespread agreement that academia has a publishing problem. After decades of large commercial publishers like Springer Nature and Elsevier extracting higher profits than the major tech companies while simultaneously keeping publicly financed research behind expensive paywalls (Buranyi 2017), in recent years universities and funders have attempted to renegotiate publishing agreements to ensure that […]

Tiger, Tyrant, Bandit, Businessman: A Conversation with Brian DeMare

The rural county of Poyang in northern Jiangxi Province goes largely unmentioned in the annals of modern Chinese history. Yet records from the Public Security Bureau archive hold a treasure trove of data on the everyday interactions between locals and the law. Drawing on these largely overlooked resources, in Tiger, Tyrant, Bandit, Businessman: Echoes of Counterrevolution from New China (Stanford University Press, 2022), Brian DeMare follows four criminal cases that together uniquely illuminate the dawning years of the People’s Republic of China. 

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The Urbanisation of People: A Conversation with Eli Friedman

In his new book, The Urbanization of People: The Politics of Development, Labor Markets, and Schooling in the Chinese City (Columbia University Press, 2022), Eli Friedman offers a novel take on China’s handling of internal migration through the perspective of migrant workers’ children. Through ethnographic research and hundreds of in-depth interviews, he shows how the […]

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Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: A Conversation with Robert Ovetz and Jenny Chan

As the Made in China Journal was born as a platform to document labour struggles in China, we always welcome the publication of books and studies that offer novel perspectives on the ‘world of labour’. In this conversation, we discuss two recent additions to the literature: Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives, […]

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The Effable Worker

Notes on Italy's New Working-Class Literature

Locked in a shelter for the homeless on a weekend along with a few dozen vagrants, a young George Orwell was feeling the pangs of boredom. He had nothing to read, nothing to do, and could not even look outside since the windows were too high. He tried to listen to the general conversation, but […]

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Primo Levi, Camp Power, and Terror Capitalism: A Conversation with Darren Byler

What does Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi have to tell us about life in reeducation camps in Xinjiang today? What role does labour play in these facilities? What is terror capitalism and how does it relate to other frontiers of global capitalism? Can there be such a thing as ‘benign’ surveillance? These and […]

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Everyday Necro-Capitalism

One of the perks of being the son of an Italian railway worker is that, when I was younger, I could hop on and off any train I wanted without having to buy a ticket. Those were the days before high-speed trains, when Italy’s rail network mostly comprised ‘regional’ and ‘interregional’ trains, which moved very […]

The Work of Culture

Of Barons, Dark Academia, and the Corruption of Language in the Neoliberal University

There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers. As for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical: it would seem society now has no place for them at all. — David Graeber (2015: 134–35)   Much has been written in […]

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Building the New Macau: A Portrait of Chinese Construction Workers in Sihanoukville

Due to a massive and sudden influx of capital from China, much of which was invested in shadowy gambling operations, in just a few years Sihanoukville went from a dreamy, low-budget tourist destination on the Cambodian coast to Southeast Asia’s ‘new Macau’. When, in the summer of 2019, the Cambodian authorities banned online gambling, the local economy came tumbling down. As construction sites all over the city halted operation, workers, both Chinese and Cambodian, were hit particularly hard by the crisis. This essay looks into their plight.

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