Books

04.21.17

A New Deal for China’s Workers?

Cynthia Estlund
China’s labor landscape is changing, and it is transforming the global economy in ways that we cannot afford to ignore. Once-silent workers have found their voice, organizing momentous protests, such as the 2010 Honda strikes, and demanding a better deal. China’s leaders have responded not only with repression but with reforms. Are China’s workers on the verge of a breakthrough in industrial relations and labor law reminiscent of the American New Deal?In A New Deal for China’s Workers? Cynthia Estlund views this changing landscape through the comparative lens of America’s twentieth-century experience with industrial unrest. China’s leaders hope to replicate the widely shared prosperity, political legitimacy, and stability that flowed from America’s New Deal, but they are irrevocably opposed to the independent trade unions and mass mobilization that were central to bringing it about. Estlund argues that the specter of an independent labor movement, seen as an existential threat to China’s one-party regime, is both driving and constraining every facet of its response to restless workers.China’s leaders draw on an increasingly sophisticated toolkit in their effort to contain worker activism. The result is a surprising mix of repression and concession, confrontation and cooptation, flaws and functionality, rigidity and pragmatism. If China’s laborers achieve a New Deal, it will be a New Deal with Chinese characteristics, very unlike what workers in the West achieved in the last century. Estlund’s sharp observations and crisp comparative analysis make China’s labor unrest and reform legible to Western readers. —Harvard University Press{chop}

China Builds Out the Air as Frustrations Mount Below

Emily Feng
New York Times
An angry mob ransacks a terminal. A frustrated passenger tries to leave the plane while it taxis. China's air travel system isn't working. ...

China Risks Wasting $490 Billion on New Coal Plant, Say Campaigners

AFP
Guardian
Carbon Tracker says many plants running at overcapacity but China reluctant to wean itself off coal, fearing unemployment and unrest

China Warns Officials: No Unrest, Or Lose Your Job

Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall Street Journal
The policy announcement comes two weeks after hundreds of unpaid coal workers took to the streets in the gritty northeastern city of Shuangyashan.

Conversation

03.21.16

Cracks in Xi Jinping’s Fortress?

Andrew J. Nathan, Rana Mitter & more
Two remarkable documents emerged from China last week—the essay “A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor,” which appeared on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and an open letter calling for Xi Jinping’s...

Schoolgirl's Death Sparks Riots, Clashes in China's Gansu

Lin Jing
Radio Free Asia
The 13-year-old is believed to have jumped from the top of a tall building after being accused of shoplifting, drawing around 1,000 locals.

Conversation

12.23.15

China in 2016

Andrew J. Nathan, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian & more
What should China watchers be watching most closely in China in 2016? What developments would be the most meaningful? What predictions can be made sensibly?

Breaking Beijing?

Lynette H. Ong
Foreign Affairs
The government's harsh crackdown could crack the regime...

Chinese High School Students Riot Over Mass Food Poisoning

Wei Ling
Radio Free Asia
Thousands of disgruntled students smashed up their high school campus in Guizhou in the early hours of March 20 .

China Said to Deploy Drones After Unrest in Xinjiang

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Three days after an eruption of violence in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang this summer left nearly 100 people dead, the region’s “antiterrorist command” asked the country’s biggest space and defense contractor for help.

As China Booms, So Does Popular Unrest

Bruce Kennedy
CBS News
In the quarter-century since the crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, China's economy has thrived and presented the world with an historic milestone. But at what cost to its people?...

Media

05.19.14

One Uighur Man’s Journey in Two Cultures

Over the past two months, the relationship between China’s estimated 10 million Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people, most of whom follow some form of Sunni Islam, and the majority Han population has deteriorated after a series of violent incidents...

Massive China Shoe Factory Strike Rolls on as Offer Falls Flat

John Ruwitch and Danny Kwok
Reuters
Chinese shoe factory workers shrugged off an offer of improved benefits, prolonging one of the largest strikes in recent years amid signs of increased labor activism as the economy slows.

Chinese Court Places Heavy Sentence on Prominent Activist

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
The most closely watched trial of a Chinese dissident in years calls attention to CCP clamp down on dissent. 

China: Reverse Judgment in Show Trial of Xu Zhiyong

Human Rights Watch
The harsh conviction and four-year sentence of Xu Zhiyong is a pretext to chill popular protests against corruption. 

In China, A Vast Chasm Between the Rich and the Rest

Sim Chi Yin
New York Times
The passing coal miners in remote Shaanxi Province took one look at our marooned Audi and walked on, leaving us stuck on the sleet-covered mountain road. As dusk fell, I managed to mingle with some young migrant workers, and trek with them through a...

China’s ‘Lamborghini’ Coefficient

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
According to China's first official Gini coefficient figures in a decade, China today is more equal than in 2003. ...