Students and Scholars
Corporate Misbehaviour

Year Month

Unfinished Proletarianization: Self, Anger, and Class Action among the Second Generation of Peasant-Workers in Present-Day China

As a result of its open-door policies and 30 years of reform, China has become the “world’s factory” and given rise to a new working class of rural migrant workers. This process has underlain a path of (semi-)proletarianization of Chinese peasant-workers: now the second generation is experiencing dagong, working for a boss, in industrialized towns and cities. What is the process of proletarianization of peasant-workers in China today? In what way does the path of proletarianization shape the new Chinese working class? Drawing on workers’ narratives and our ethnographic studies in Shenzhen and Dongguan between 2005 and 2008, this study focuses on the subjective experiences of the second generation of dagongmei/zai, female migrant [...]

The Role of the State, Labour Policy and Migrant Workers’ Struggles in Globalized China

The financial crisis of 2008 brought many changes to the world economy with China seeming to stand out as one of the countries best able to weather the storm. There is a general belief that this is because China has a strong state which has reshaped the role of China in the new international division of labour and has the ability to resume its economic development internally. Our study of labour policy and workers’ struggles tells a different story. We argue that the state-driven process of economic globalization has created a new million-strong working class in China. A paradoxical phenomenon is that this state-driven process in economic globalization has been accompanied by a state retreat process in the areas of social reproduction and social protection. [...]

Radicalisation of the New Chinese Working Class: a case study of collective action in the gemstone industry

The repositioning of China as a ‘ world workshop’ rests upon the nurturing of a new Chinese working class. This article focuses on questions of collective action of migrant workers who are now the major force of a new working class that actively strives to alter its fate through labour struggles. By studying the collective actions of migrant workers in the gemstone industry, we examine a process in which workers’ resistance has developed from a single means to multiple means, from single-factory to cross-factory participation, from engaging only in legal action to launching varied collective action. Three primary questions are raised: first, what forms of collective labour action have arisen and what are their mechanisms of mobilisation? [...]

Meaningful Progress or Illusory Reform? Analyzing China’s Labor

Meaningful Progress or Illusory Reform? Analyzing China’s Labor

Except: On June 29, 2007, at the meeting of the 28th session of the 10th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, 145 attending party members voted unanimously in favor of the Labor Contract Law. Back in March 2006, when the government posted an initial draft of the law for comment on the Internet, officials received more than 190,000 responses from the concerned public in one month. The NPC Legal Affairs Commission moved to finalize the legislation following tragic reports of slave labor conditions in the brick kilns of the Shanxi Province . . . Over these three decades, one [...]

[Joint Open Letter] Longgang courts violate the law, Repress the rights of fellow citizens of Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan to observe public trials

To the Mr. Gao Siren, Director of the Office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Central People’s Government:

Longgang courts violate the law,

Repress the rights of fellow citizens of Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan to observe public trials,

Raising doubts of the law’s impartiality


We represent a group of fellow citizens from Hong Kong and foreign nationals.  We’re seriously concerned with the violent knifing of Huang Qingnan, the registered licensee and employee of a labor group in Shenzhen at the end of 2007.  The incident is currently being tried by the Shenzhen Longgang District People’s Court. When some [...]