China has been the fastest growing major economy in the world for three decades. It is also home to some of the largest, most incendiary, and most underreported labor struggles of our time. But under China’s labor management system, independent unionism is severely restricted, and the ACFTU official trade union body monopolizes worker representation for more than 800 million workers. Independent organizations are barred from agitating for their interests, despite growing wealth inequalities, and where long hours, safety hazards, and authoritarian management define life in the factories.
Lu Zhang, Temple University, author of Inside China’s Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labor and Worker Resistance speaks about Chinese workers’ organizing.