China’s Social Organisations after the Charity Law

The passage of the Charity Law has made the legal environment for charities in China more complex. The new Law does represent an initial breakthrough in the transformation of the regulatory system for social organising. However, it does not equalise the rules for all Chinese non-profit organisations and, crucially, it does not provide a basic law applicable to all types of non-profit entities. Why does this matter?

Conceptual Confusion in the Research on Chinese Civil Society

Chinese civil society research is obsessed with finding non-governmental organisations. In this search, different types of civil society organisations are conflated, and non-governmentality becomes the sole factor that matters. Analytical accuracy is lost when too many things are fused under one term, especially when more accurate and nuanced terminology is available.

Collective Bargaining in China is Dead: The Situation is Excellent

As the Chinese government under Xi Jinping has turned in a markedly anti-worker direction, attempts to establish a genuine collective bargaining system in China have been smothered. If collective bargaining is dead, what might Chinese workers and their allies advocate? The time might be ripe to shift our focus to a demand for a rapid expansion of universal social services, not least for a universal basic income.

Interpreting Chinese Labour: Informalisation or Empowerment?

The struggle and activism of Chinese workers has been a topic of primary interest since the beginning of the reform era. Still, expectations have never been higher than in the past few years, with an unending stream of media articles and academic papers hailing the new-found rights awareness of Chinese workers—especially the so-called second generation […]

What Does Wukan Have to Do With Democracy?

In September 2011, the village of Wukan in Eastern Guangdong province became the centre of a media storm and made international headlines for its violent protests against the illegal sale of land by their established, and corrupt, village elite. Village leaders had taken it upon themselves to sell large chunks of village land without consulting […]

Migrant Labour and the Sustainability of China’s Welfare System

Social welfare in China has emerged in recent years as a major cause of migrant workers’ discontent and collective action. Reforms of the social welfare system in China since 2002 have expanded coverage and protection of vulnerable populations, but structural problems remain for migrant workers to access and receive the full benefits of the social […]

The Neglected Side of the Coin: Legal Hegemony, Class Consciousness, and Labour Politics in China

Since China’s opening up in 1978, the Chinese party-state has put great effort into reforming the labour law system. During the 1990s, the 1992 Trade Union Law, 1994 Labour Law, and the 1995 Arbitration Law were enacted. In 2001 and 2004, the revised Trade Union Law and Provisions on Minimum Wage were promulgated respectively. In […]

Chinese Workers and the Law: Misplaced Trust?

One fascinating question concerning labour activism in contemporary China regards the attitude of Chinese migrant workers towards the law. In recent years, much has been written about the ‘rights awakening’ (quanli de juexing) of Chinese workers. But what kind of rights are we talking about? Do they respond to an entirely subjective concept of justice […]

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