We are a diverse group of scholars who both study and support labor movements around the world. Many of us have conducted extensive research on labor issues in China, and we are united in our belief that the future of China and its working class is of incredible global significance.

Many government and union leaders in Guangdong have recently accepted the idea that strikes are normal economic manifestations of labor-capital conflict in a marketized economy, and should be addressed through mediation and collective bargaining. Currently there is a growing practice of democratic elections of trade union officers at the enterprise level in many places in Guangdong. These trends reflect the industrial labor relations principles that have guided many countries during periods of industrialization and marketization.

We are therefore very concerned to learn about the recent cases of harassment and repression against grass-roots labor NGOs in Guangdong, as reported in the Southern Metropolis Daily, the Guangzhou Daily, the South China Morning Post, and the Wall Street Journal. These events contradict the policy direction of the new regulations in Guangdong facilitating NGO registration, and create new difficulties for the NGOs to develop.

In our view, NGOs play an important role in responding to the pressing needs – including economic, social, and educational – of the large populations of migrant workers. Trade unions have not historically been able to address this wide range of problems, and thus NGOs have a critical function in addressing worker issues. This is as true in many foreign countries as in China.

Therefore, we strongly oppose recent actions that have constrained the activities of many NGOs in Guangdong, and encourage the government to preserve the space necessary for these groups to continue their valuable work.

Signatories

·Maria Ahlsten, University of Bristol, UK

·Mansueto F. de Almeida Jr., Brazilian Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) – BR

·Judy Ancel, University of Missouri-Kansas City, US

·Joel Andreas, Johns Hopkins University, US

·Mark Anner, Pennsylvania State University, US

·Richard Appelbaum, University of California-Santa Barbara, US

·Bae Kiu Sik, Korean Labor Institute, SK

·Frauka Banse, Kassel University, DE

·Thomas Barnes, University of Sydney, AU

·John Barry, Queen’s University Belfast, IE

·Tim Bartley, Ohio State University, US

·Joe Berry, Labor Educator, US

·Monica Bielski Boris, University of Illinois, US

·Joshua Bloom, University of California-Los Angeles, US

·Edna Bonacich, University of California-Riverside, US

·Eileen Boris, University of California-Santa Barbara, US

·Michael Burawoy, University of California-Berkeley, US

·Mick Carpenter, University of Warwick, UK

·Anita Chan, University of Technology-Sydney, AU

·Chris Chan, City University of Hong Kong, HK

·Dan Clawson, University of Massachusetts, US

·Chang Dae-oup, School of African and Oriental Studies, UK

·Joseph Cheng, City University of Hong Kong, HK

·Ian Cook, University of Exeter, UK

·Kin-man Chan, Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK

·Chan Shun Hing, Lingnan University, HK

·Chan Sze Chi, Hong Kong Baptist University, HK

·Thomas Chan, Poly U Hong Kong Community College, HK

·Jennifer Jihye Chun, University of Toronto, CA

·Chiu Yu Bin, National Pingtung University of Education, TW

·Chong Yiu Kwong,  The Hong Kong Institute of Education, HK

·Yin-wah Chu, Hong Kong Baptist University, HK

·Paul Clark, Pennsylvania State University, US

·Simon Clarke, Warwick University, UK

·Ellen Dannin, Pennsylvania State University, US

·Surya Deva, City University of Hong Kong, HK

·Manfred Elfstrom, Cornell University, US

·Tony Elger, University of Warwick, UK

·Regina M. Enjuto, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

·Cynthia Estlund, New York University, US

·Peter Evans, University of California-Berkeley, US

·Ruth Felder, University of Buenos Aires, AR

·Eli Friedman, Cornell University, US

·Rolf Geffken, Labour Institute ICOLAIR, Labour Law Office, Hamburg, DE

·Sebastian Guzman, New School for Social Research, US

·Iam-Chong Ip, Lingnan University, HK

·Paul Jobin, University of Paris-Diderot, FR

·Brigitte Hamm, University of Duisburg-Essen, DE

·Gillian Hewitson, University of Sydney, AU

·Ho Chi Kan, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HK

·Jude Howell, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

·Elaine Hui, Kassel University, DE

·Jenny Jungehülsing, Kassel University, DE

·Michelle Kaminski, Michigan State University, US

·Louise Lamphere, University of New Mexico, US

·Ching Kwan Lee, University of California-Los Angeles, US

·Lee Chun Wing, Poly U Hong Kong Community College, HK

·Chun-Yi Lee, University of Nottingham, UK

·Parry Leung, Community College of City University of Hong Kong, HK

·Kevin Lin, University of Technology Sydney, AU

·Stephanie Luce, City University of New York

·Luk Tak Chuen, Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK

·Sebastian Matthes, Kassel University, DE

·Jamie McCallum, Middlebury College, US

·Ruth Milkman, City University of New York, US

·Phil Mizen, Warwick University, UK

·Adam Mrozowicki, University of Wroclaw PL

·Carolina Bank Munoz, Brooklyn College, US

·Theo Nichols, Cardiff University, UK

·Bruce Nissen, Florida International University, US

·Stephen Philion, St. Cloud State University, US

·Nancy Plankey-Videla, Texas A&M University, US

·Tim Pringle, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

·Gretchen Purser, Syracuse University, US

·Nora Räthzel, Umeå University, SE

·Chris Rhomberg, Fordham University, US

·Manuel Rosaldo, University of California-Berkeley, US

·Robert Ross, Clark University, US

·Jean Philippe Sapinski, University of Victoria, CN

·Vishwas Satgar, University of Witwatersrand, SA

·Christian Scheper, Kassel University, DE

·Christoph Scherrer, Kassel University, Germany

·Maike Schoelmerich,  University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, SZ

·Andrew Schrank, University of New Mexico, US

·Denisse Roca Servat, Arizona State University, US

·Patricia Simpson, Loyola University of Chicago, US

·Kaxton Siu, Australian National University, AU

·Alvin So,  Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HK

·Mirana May Szeto, University of Hong Kong, HK

·Tang Lynn, University of Warwick, UK

·Chris Tilly, University of California-Los Angeles, US

·Todd Vachon, University of Connecticut, US

·Kim Voss, University of California-Berkeley, US

·Daniel Vukovich, University of Hong Kong, HK

·Wang Ting, City University of Hong Kong, HK

·Nina Ulbrich, Kassel University, DE

·Edward Webster, University of Witwatersrand, SA

·Frido Wenten, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

·Michelle Williams, University of Witwatersrand, SA

·Nobuyuki Yamada, Komazawa University, JP

·Ken Yau, City University of Hong Kong, HK

·Alex Zukas, National University, US

·Yun-chung Chen, Baptist University of Hong Kong, HK

·Lu Zhang, Temple University, US

·Phil Taylor, University of Strathclyde, UK

·Mark Selden, Cornell University, US

·Frank Moulaert, Catholic University of Leuven, BE

·Anthony Friend, Lancaster University, UK

·Liam Campling, University of London, UK

·Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol, UK

·Zillah Eisenstein, Ithaca College, US

·Jenny Chan, University of London, UK

·David Primrose, University of Sydney, AU

·Harriet Bradley, University of Bristol, UK

·Andy Danford, University of the West of England, UK

·Andrew Smith, Bradford University School of Management, UK

·Dorothy J. Solinger, University of Califonia, Irvine, US

·Connie Ulasewicz, San Francisco State University, US

·Karen Brodkin, University of California-Los Angeles, US

·Sanford M. Jacoby, University of California-Los Angeles, US

·Jeff Hyman, University of Aberdeen, UK

·Purnima Bose, Indiana University, US

·Gregory Schwartz, University of Bath, UK

·Richard A. Walker, University of California-Berkeley, US

·Immanuel Ness, City University of New York, US

·Miguel Martinez Lucio, University of Manchester, UK

·Richard McIntyre, University of Rhode Island, US

·Shae Garwood, University of Western Australia, AU

·Leslie Sklair, London School of Economics, UK

·Chad Alan Goldberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US

·Don Wells, McMaster University, CA

·Elaine McCrate, University of Vermont, US

·Piya Chatterjee, Scripps College, US

·Robert Gottlieb, Occidental College, US

·Margaret Gray, Adelphi University, US

·Tom Moore, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, US

·Gay Seidman, University of Wisconsin, US

·Beth Baker-Cristales, California State University-Los Angeles, US

·Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont, US

·Valerie Sayers, University of Notre Dame, US

·Kathi Weeks, Duke University, US

·Judith Wittner, Loyola University, US

·Jennet Kirkpatrick, Arizona State University, US

·Nikos Kapitsinis, University of Groninge, NL