Laying Off Responsibility: Microcredit, Entrepreneurship, and China’s Industrial Retrenchment

When the news broke earlier this year that Chinese state-owned steel and coal companies would be laying off anywhere between 1.8 to 6 million workers over the next two to three years, the government quickly moved to provide assurances that the socioeconomic fallout would be mitigated through 150 million yuan in assistance for the newly […]

The Resistance of Walmart Workers in China: A Breakthrough in the Chinese Labour Movement

On 21 June, the Walmart Chinese Workers’ Association (WCWA) announced in its blog that it and its American counterpart, OUR Walmart (Organisation United for Respect at Walmart), had joined hands in cyberspace to discuss how to move forward in their struggle against Walmart. This marks a new stage in recent Chinese labour history. This time […]

Luigi Tomba Awarded Prestigious Levenson Prize

Luigi Tomba has been awarded the prestigious Levenson Prize for his book The Government Next Door: Neighborhood Politics in Urban China, a study of China’s urban grassroots governing practices and their implication for regime legitimacy published in 2014 by Cornell University Press. Luigi—who now serves as Associate Director at the Australian Centre on China in the […]

A Civil Society Under Assault

In May 2015, the National People’s Congress released the complete text of a draft ‘Overseas NGO Management Law’. According to the draft rules, the main responsibility of supervising foreign NGOs in China should shift from the Ministry of Civil Affairs to the Ministry of Public Security, a step that would make carrying out projects in the country […]

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: a Progressive Deal for Workers?

Following years of secretive negotiations and contentious protests by civil society opponents, at the end of 2015 an agreement on the contents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was finally reached, with the long-awaited text released a few days later. Initially seen as the expansion of a previous deal signed in 2006 by four countries—the Trans-Pacific […]

Revisiting Chinese Labour NGOs: Some Grounds for Hope?

In the past decade scholars have put forward several scathing criticisms of Chinese labour NGOs that go well beyond the usual concerns about the lack of transparency and internal democracy. Some have criticised them for being nothing less than ‘anti-solidarity machines‘ that, by putting too much emphasis on an individualistic view of rights, hinder the […]

Labour Protests in the State Sector: Back to the Nineties?

In the first quarter of this year, a week-long strike at an ailing state-owned steel factory in Guangzhou, a street protest by miners in Heilongjiang denouncing the governor for a misleading remark about their wages, and a symbolically powerful convergence of coal miners in the once revolutionary area of Anyuan in Jiangxi, have raised concerns […]

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