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A brief history of a workers’ rights group in China

On 27 July, the municipal government of Xian formally banned a local workers’ rights group that was seeking, but never obtained, official recognition of its status as an enterprise restructuring watchdog.

Intel workers in Sichuan strike over unequal pay for equal work

Up to 500 employees at hi-tech giant Intel’s factory in Chengdu, Sichuan staged a one day strike last month in a protest over wage discrepancies with employees recently transferred in from the multi-national’s Shanghai facility, according to a report in China Business Journal. The workers claimed that the employees from Shanghai were being paid up to four times more for the same production line positions.

SASAC urges enterprises to “channel” public opinion

State-owned enterprises (SOE’s) and the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) have been getting a lot of bad press recently. Rather than solve the underlying problems causing the bad news, the China Media Project (CMP), a project affiliated with Hong Kong University that specializes in following trends in the Chinese media, has recently reported how SASAC has “encouraged state-owned enterprises to set up press offices to combat “negative news”” and essentially sweep the problems under the rug. As CLB has previously reported, SASAC’s is one of the primary players in the deciding how to restructure SOE’s, and its role is often controversial and troubled, as in the Tonghua incident. Although this new attempt to control information and to “channel public opinion” is somewhat distressing and may eventually prove ineffective, it may also be one of the only recourses available to troubled enterprises, barring a systematic solution to SOE management that includes worker empowerment.

After civil society and media bring occupational illness epidemic into the spotlight, the government takes action

To protect his own rights and fight corruption, migrant worker Zhang Haichao took the extraordinary step of cutting his lungs open to prove he had the occupational illnesses pneumoconiousis. A representative of the hundred migrant workers from Hunan who got pneumoconiousis while working in Shenzhen doing pile-blasting and drilling on the city’s construction sites had the courage to fight for his rights by going to the root of the problem− filing an administrative lawsuit against the city’s Health Bureau for failing to adequately supervise heath and safety laws. And in August, the government ended its public consultation period for the Work-related Injury Insurance Regulations (see CLB’s submission, here). All of these issues helped bring much needed attention to the often-neglected issue of dust-based occupational illnesses – which needlessly kill tens of thousands of Chinese workers per year.

Financial Times: China schools offer incentive to migrants

At midday parents arrive at the Eastern Pearl School on an assortment of vehicles as they pick up their children, drop them off, or deliver hot lunches at the front gate. Most ride bicycles, pedal carts or motorcycles. A relatively wealthy few drive up in cars or vans. All, however, have one thing in common. They are migrant workers or entrepreneurs who have come to Dongguan, a manufacturing centre in China’s southern Guangdong province, in search of a better life.

Hunan coalminers strike over privatization plans

Several thousand workers at the Hunan Coal Industry Group have entered the tenth day of a strike in a protest over the company’s proposed privatization and stock exchange listing plans.

China's workers are more victims than perpetrators of violence (Test)

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The death of a senior manager at a steel plant in northeastern China at the hands of angry workers last week, and the mass brawl at a toy factory in Shaoguan last month between Uighur and Han employees that left two people dead, have both become major international news stories.

And while it is beneficial for the media spotlight to fall on too often neglected labour issues in China, focusing on these violent events does present a rather skewed version of reality, especially when it is the workers who are portrayed as the violent party.


Student worker at Coca-Cola plant beaten after seeking wages in arrears

A university student-worker at Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, was threatened and beaten by the managers of a labour supply company after he sought wages in arrears on behalf of himself and his colleagues, the Hong Kong-based pressure group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) reported today.

A discussion about occupational illness, Shaoguan, and LeBron’s visit to China

In this episode, William Nee and Geoffrey Crothall discuss Zhang Haichao’s heroic struggle to win compensation in his pneumoconiosis case, how the city of Shaoguan is doing after recent ethnic riots, and LeBron’s recent trip to China. (Music by Dick Gaughan).

LeBron James draws attention to the plight of the children of migrant workers while in Beijing

As part of his world tour, NBA superstar LeBron James, or the “Small Emperor” (小皇帝) as he is known in Chinese, came to the cities of Beijing, Shenyang, and Shanghai to meet fans, to perform basketball clinics, and promote his shoe line.
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