Jan 3rd, 2016 by Gao

The Guangdong Six and the rule of law (of value): Preliminary theses on the December 3 crackdown (Chuǎng)

Why should we focus on supporting “reformist NGO staff” when workers and peasants are regularly arrested, beaten and sometimes killed for participation in forms of resistance more likely to improve their conditions or lead to more transformative movements? Also, how could we support these detainees in ways that might hasten their release, affect the legal precedent being set by this crackdown, or increase international solidarity among workers—as opposed to the merely symbolic actions proposed so far? …
1. This crackdown is unprecedented in the number of workers’ organizations and individuals targeted at the same time, and in the severity of criminal charges being brought against them. …
2. While both the mainstream media and initiators of the solidarity campaign have been calling the detainees “labor rights NGO staff,” these groups must also be understood as workers’ organizations, mainly formed and run by workers to support workers’ struggles. …
3. However, these organizations’ relationships with the state have been typical of NGO-type organizations in their ambiguity, at times collaborating in certain ways, while at other times encountering repression—not only now, but repeatedly over the past few years. …
4. Among possible reasons for the crackdown, crucial determining factors were the slowing of economic growth (in China and globally) and industrial relocation away from the PRD (Pearl River Delta). At the same time, the militancy of workers has been growing in this region, with the number of recorded strikes doubling since last year. …
5. Many commentators have emphasized the role of Xi Jinping’s distinctively authoritarian mode of governance, but that mode itself might be better understood as a response to these changing economic and social conditions. In contrast, we would rather highlight similarities between this increasing repression in China and developments in so-called “democratic” polities. …
6. Several commentators have described the crackdown as unlawful, or as undermining the rule of law. …
7. The crackdown hurts not only these particular organizations, activists, and the workers whose struggles they have been supporting. If the detainees are pronounced guilty and stay locked up, this could set a precedent for further persecution of other workers’ organizations, and discourage other workers and their supporters. …
8. If the charges are dropped, there is a chance that the channeling of workers’ struggles into reformist directions will increase. … However, this would still be less discouraging for workers and their supporters than the alternative. …
9. The international solidarity campaign to release these detainees is probably the largest international effort to support Chinese workers’ struggles in decades, but so far it hasn’t been framed as such, or surpassed typical activist methods.

Free Chinese labour activists now 馬上釋放中國勞權人士 (auf Facebook)

Christoph Plutte, Daniel Reineke: Weihnachten in Chinas Weltmarktfabriken bedeutet Knast für ArbeiteraktivistInnen (Vice)

Anfang Dezember begann in den Städten Guangzhou und Foshan, im größten Industriegebiet Südchinas, die—geht man nach Anzahl der betroffenen Personen und der Härte der Vorwürfe—bisher schärfste Verhaftungswelle gegen Arbeiterorganisationen und UnterstützerInnen von Arbeitskämpfen. Am 3. Dezember wurden bei Polizeirazzien in vier Organisationen 21 Personen festgenommen und verhört, sowie Büros und Wohnungen durchsucht, Akten und Computer beschlagt. Insgesamt befanden sich bis Anfang Januar mindestens 40 Personen zumindest kurzfristig in Polizeigewahrsam. Sechs AktivistInnen sind weiterhin in Untersuchungshaft, gegen sie wird strafrechtlich ermittelt.

Ellen David Friedman, Ashley Smith: Caught in China’s crackdown on labor radicals (Socialist Worker)
Sweeping the house clean—clean of labor NGOs (Chuǎng)
The criminalization of strikes since 2012 (Chuǎng)
No Way Forward, No Way Back: China in the Era of Riots (Chuǎng)
Labour activists detained for doing the job of the trade union (China Labour Bulletin)
Michelle Chen:  China’s Latest Crackdown on Workers Is Unprecedented (Nation)
China Detains Labor Activists as Authorities Sweep Industrial Hub (Wall Street Journal)

Arbeiterbewegung | Xinjiang | Verschuldung | Yanhuang Chunqiu | Polizeigewalt
Mai 30th, 2015 by Gao

Five years on, Nanhai Honda workers want more from their trade union (China Labour Bulletin)

Five years ago, on 17 May 2010, more than a thousand workers at the Nanhai Honda automotive components plant in Foshan walked off the job, initiating a high-profile, ground-breaking strike that came to symbolize the rise of the workers’ movement in China.
The strike secured the workers a 35 percent (500 yuan per month) pay increase plus the promise of more effective union representation after the official trade union was humiliated in its attempts to get the strikers back to work.
This week, China Labour Bulletin returned to Foshan and talked to some of the strike veterans about what has changed over the last five years and what still needs to be done.

Top China official’s criticism of labour policy sparks controversy (South China Morning Post)

In a speech to students of Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management on April 24, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said China had a 50 per cent chance of sliding into the middle-income trap within the next five to 10 years when its annual gross domestic product growth slows to 5 per cent.
The middle-income trap refers to a situation where a country that has achieved stable growth becomes stuck at that level.
Comprehensive reforms were desperately needed to raise the urban labour supply in order to avoid falling into the trap and to ensure an annual 6.5 to 7 per cent GDP growth in the next few years, Lou said …
China’s labour contract law was flawed as it „reduced the labour market’s liquidity and flexibility“ by not allowing bosses to fire their workers, he said…
„That’s why many investors chose to leave China,“ Lou said.
In response, contributor Huang He wrote on Ground Breaking, a website focused on China’s disadvantaged group: „I understand his point is to meet the demand of capital increment by sacrificing workers‘ interests.
„[But] such a solution leaves Chinese labourers mired in low income and benefits capitalists in developed countries [instead].“
Lou also said China should cut farmers‘ subsidies, liberalise rural labour from farmlands, and improve its residence registration system so urban areas could have bigger labour populations.

Eset Sulaiman: Passports in Xinjiang’s Ili To Be Handed Into Police Stations: China (Radio Free Asia)
Emma Graham-Harrison: Chinese police order Yining residents to hand in passports in latest crackdown (Guardian)

A district of 5 million people in China’s restive far west has demanded that residents hand in their passports to the police for indefinite safekeeping, the latest government crackdown in an area where Beijing has declared a “people’s war” on violent separatists.
A notice posted in Yining city, nearly 2,000 miles west of Beijing and near the country’s border with Kazakhstan, said all passports should be surrendered by 15 May.
“Those who do not hand in their passports on time will be reported to the entry and exit bureau and, according to the relevant regulations, their passports will be cancelled,” the memo from a local police station said.

Fast wörtlich derselbe Bericht:
Edward Wong: Chinese Police Order Residents in a Xinjiang Prefecture to Turn In Passports (New York Times)

Enda Curran, Tu Lianting: China Has a Massive Debt Problem (Bloomberg)

Johnny Erling: Chinas mutigstes Reformmagazin steht vor dem Aus (Standard)

Chinas Führung will die einzige politische Reformzeitschrift des Landes zum Schweigen bringen, die sich traute, die Verbrechen Maos aufzudecken, und die KP-Diktatur zur Verfassungsherrschaft umwandeln möchte. Die „Yanhuang Chunqiu“ (China in allen Jahreszeiten) konnte sich ihrer Gleichschaltung 24 Jahre lang entziehen, weil ihre Autoren selbst einst allerhöchste Parteifunktionäre, Politiker oder bekannte Intellektuelle waren, die sich zu Radikalreformern gewandelt hatten. Peking hat die Juni-Nummer nun unter Vorzensur gestellt.

AP: Chinese policeman guns down unarmed traveller in front of his three children and elderly mother (South China Morning Post)

Railway police said the officer pulled the trigger after Xu Chunhe, 45, attacked him and tried to seize his gun on May 2.
But a private video clip circulating online shows the policeman using a long stick to beat Xu, who tried to dodge the blows and pull the stick away from the policeman. Local authorities have refused to release the full surveillance footage of the shooting…
Xu grew upset when he and his family were barred from boarding the train.
Impoverished and ill, Xu was travelling to Beijing to seek government assistance for his elderly mother and three children, which would have drawn unwelcome scrutiny on the local government.

Feministinnen | Streik bei Cuiheng
Apr 19th, 2015 by Gao

Edward Wong: China Releases 5 Women’s Rights Activists Detained for Weeks (New York Times)
Sui-lee Wee: China frees five women activists on bail after outcry (Reuters)
5 feminists released! Also: environmental struggles and the Great Cannon (Chuang)

China has unexpectedly released five women activists on bail, two lawyers said on Monday, after a vocal campaign against their detention by the West and Chinese rights campaigners.
The women were taken into custody on the weekend of March 8, International Women’s Day, and detained on suspicion of „picking quarrels and provoking trouble“. They had planned to demonstrate against sexual harassment on public transport.

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Online Support — and Mockery — Await Chinese Feminists After Release (Foreign Policy)
Detention of Five Chinese Feminist Activists at the Juncture of Beijing+20 – An Interview with Gender Scholar Wang Zheng (China Change)

Professor Wang Zheng (王政), of the University of Michigan, is a scholar whose research focuses on the modern and contemporary history of Chinese women and gender, and Chinese feminism in the era of globalization. Since 1993, Professor Wang has been working with Chinese domestic feminist scholars to promote feminist scholarship and establish courses in women studies and gender studies. She has also participated in the feminist movement itself in China over the years. On April 3rd, Professor Wang gave a speech at Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, about the recent arrest of the five Chinese feminists (starts around 48:00). On April 7th, the editor of this website talked to Professor Wang, further discussing the Chinese and global background of the incident and how it will impact the women’s rights movement in China.

Alexandria Icenhower: What China’s sexual revolution means for women (Brookings)
张红萍:1913 被抓捕的女权主义者们(法制网)


Josh Chin: A Reduced Sentence Shines Light on China’s Little-Known Opposition Parties (Wall Street Journal)

High profile strike at Zhongshan bag manufacturer enters tenth day (China Labour Bulletin)
Worker activism is now the new normal as strikes and protests erupt across China (China Labour Bulletin)

Dinny McMahon: Economists React: China’s Economic Growth Slows (Wall Street Journal)

Heather Timmons: Asia’s largest IPO this year is the latest sign that Chinese investors are ignoring reality (Quartz)

China’s stock markets have become completely detached from economic fundamentals in recent months, and that insanity is rapidly spilling into Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange. The latest evidence of irrational exuberance comes from the $3.6 billion IPO of GF Securities, a Chinese broker whose stock started up 40% in its Hong Kong trading debut today, in Asia’s largest listing this year.

Taxi drivers in Xiangtan create their own company in push for industry reform (China Labour Bulletin)

Andrew Browne: Vietnam’s Impossible Bind: How to Stand Up to Beijing (Wall Street Journal)

China’s military development a key theme in defense paper (Japan News / Yomiuri Shimbun)

Xu Beina: Media Censorship in China (Council on Foreign Relations)

Ian Johnson: China: What the Uighurs See (New York Review of Books)

Xinjiang is one of those remote places whose frequent mention in the international press stymies true understanding. Home to China’s Uighur minority, this vast region of western China is mostly known for being in a state of permanent low-grade conflict, with terrorist attacks and a ferocious government crackdown, even against moderate Uighur academics. To the outside world, Xinjiang conjures up a series of stock adjectives or phrases: “restive,” “Muslim,” “oppressed,” and—as the misleading titles of more than one recent book have it—China’s “Wild West.”
And yet few outsiders spend much time there. Foreign academics have largely been barred from research, with several prominent scholars of Xinjiang banned from entering China. Foreign journalists tend to fly in and out for a dateline and an interview. The American photographer Carolyn Drake is an exception.
Drake has been traveling to Xinjiang since 2007, when she began photographing Central Asia from her base in Istanbul. Over the years, she has come to know the region well, and struggled to break free from its clichés. The summation of her work is Wild Pigeon, an ambitious, beautiful, and crushingly sad book.

Gewerkschaften und Betriebsräte | Korruption
Feb 19th, 2015 by Gao

Rolf Geffken: Chinaberatung am Ende? Chinesische Unternehmer lieben deutsche Betriebsräte! (Rat & Tat)

Es nutzt weder deutschen Unternehmen in China noch deutschen Expatriates noch chinesischen Investoren in Deutschland, wenn diesen von deutschen „Unternehmensberatern“ eine möglichst große Distanz zum Arbeitsrecht, zu Gewerkschaften und Betriebsräten empfohlen wird. Dieser unsägliche Trend hat sich fortgesetzt durch das, was wir wiederholt die „sinologische Kompensation“ genannt haben: AbsolventInnen des Faches Sinologie glauben, „China“ zu kennen. In all seinen Aspekten. Also auch dort, wo es mitnichten um „Sprache“ geht sondern wo eigene Erfahrungen und Kenntnisse auf dem jeweiligen Fachgebiet gefragt wären: Im Recht, im Arbeitsleben, in der Politik, in der Wirtschaft.

David Pilling: Lunch with the FT: Jagdish Bhagwati (Financial Times)

Bhagwati, 79, has gained notoriety for a bitter intellectual feud with Amartya Sen… In a long-running argument, Bhagwati accused Sen of prioritising redistribution in poor countries such as India. Bhagwati argued that only by generating sufficient growth to begin with would there be enough wealth to spread around…
Once there was an idea, now mostly forgotten, that the “tortoise” India could eventually overtake the “hare” – China. “That’s an exaggeration, I think,” he says. A crucial difference between the two countries is the type of corruption they have. India’s is classic “rent-seeking”, where people jostle to grab a cut of existing wealth. “The Chinese have what I call profit-sharing corruption”: the Communist party puts a straw into the milkshake so “they have an interest in having the milkshake grow larger”.

Arbeitskämpfe bei Tongxin Jewellery
Feb 17th, 2015 by Gao

Foshan jewellery workers end strike after collective bargaining with management (China Labour Bulletin, 28. August 2014)

A two-month-long strike by 59 workers at Tongxin Jewellery in Foshan ended on 27 August after management, which had initially refused to negotiate, finally made concessions during negotiations with the workers’ democratically-elected representatives.

Foshan jewellery workers put pressure on factory union to do its job (China Labour Bulletin, 20. Oktober 2014)

The Foshan Federation of Trade Unions agreed on 20 October to investigate the enterprise trade union at Tongxin Jewellery after a group of workers there lobbied for better trade union representation at the factory.

Factory workers sacked for demanding a representative trade union go to arbitration (China Labour Bulletin, 4. Februar 2015)

A group of 35 workers from the Foshan Arts and Crafts factory (also known as Tongxin Jewellery) attended two separate arbitration hearings on 2 February claiming they had been illegally dismissed after engaging in collective bargaining and demanding that the enterprise trade union better represent the workers.

Foxconn | Liu Han | Hongkong | Xinjiang
Feb 11th, 2015 by Gao

Yi Xi: Four years later, still a graveyard of Chinese youth (

In 2014, on the eve of China’s national day celebrations, scenes recalling those of four years ago appeared in Chinese headlines. Foxconn became known to the world four years ago when thirteen of its young workers jumped to their deaths in quick succession. The death of young Foxconn worker and poet Xu Lizhi reminded us that in this Fortune 500 company that produces some 40% of the world’s electronics, the cruelty and hopelessness of workers‘ situation has not changed. But most of us are unaware that Xu is not alone. At least five other workers, and likely more than that, have joined him this year. Many other workers have taken their own lives since the famous 13.

Yi Xi: Union Official Links Foxconn Deaths to Excessive Overtime (LaborNotes)

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions—never distinguished for its advocacy protecting workers—has taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing Foxconn for excessive overtime.
Foxconn, the largest private employer in China, employs 1.2 million workers and produces a huge share of the world’s electronics.
On February 2, ACFTU Party Secretary Guo Jun publically criticized Foxconn’s excessive overtime work arrangements. Guo connected these problems to the series of worker suicides and deaths by overwork at its massive factory complex.
In an open letter response on February 3, Foxconn had the audacity to claim that “there is no relationship between constant overtime and incidents of death from overwork or suicide,” and referred to its infamous 2010 serial suicides as “unfortunate incidents with a few individual workers.”

Chun Han Wong: China Labor Ties Fray as Grievances Rise, Economic Growth Slows (Wall Street Journal)

For four years, a labor-research center here in the heart of China’s southern manufacturing belt helped to drive scholarship and debate on industrial relations in the world’s second-largest economy.
Then late last year, the International Center for Joint Labor Research, the first institute of its kind in China, was shut down, with little warning or explanation, people familiar with the situation said.
Its demise has alarmed labor experts, including some union officials, who see it as a setback for industrial relations just as China is dealing with rising worker grievances and slowing economic growth.

China executes mining tycoon Liu Han, who had links to ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang (South China Morning Post, auch via Google News)

A Chinese mining tycoon linked to former security tsar Zhou Yongkang has been executed, according to state media.
Sichuan native Liu Han, 48, was found guilty of 13 charges – including murder, organising casinos, running a mafia-style gang and illegally selling firearms – and sentenced to death in late May.
He was executed on Monday morning together with his younger brother Liu Wei and three associates, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei, Xianning city intermediate court in Hubei province said.

AP: China executes mining tycoon Liu Han (Guardian)

Ernest Kao: Pepper spray and arrests as Tuen Mun parallel trader protest ends in chaos (South China Morning Post; auch via Google News)

Justine Drennan: Is China Making Its Own Terrorism Problem Worse? (Foreign Policy)

Beijing says radicalized members of its Uighur minority are terrorists with ties to the Islamic State and al Qaeda, but its repressive policies may be helping to fuel the violence.

Und außerdem:
Grace Tsoi: Taipei’s Fiery New Mayor Knows Whose Culture Is Best (Foreign Policy)

“For the [world’s] four Chinese-speaking regions — Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mainland China — the longer the colonization, the more advanced a place is. It’s rather embarrassing. Singapore is better than Hong Kong; Hong Kong is better than Taiwan; Taiwan is better than the mainland. I’m speaking in terms of culture. I’ve been to Vietnam and mainland China. Even though the Vietnamese are seemingly poor, they always stop in front of red traffic lights and walk in front of green ones. Even though mainland China’s GDP is higher than that of Vietnam, if you ask me about culture, the Vietnamese culture is superior.”

David Volodzko: Was Colonialism Good for Asia? (Diplomat)

In controversial remarks, Taipei’s new mayor argued that colonialism is the secret to “more advanced” culture today.

Streik bei Yue Yuen und Solidaritätsstreiks
Apr 22nd, 2014 by Gao

Biggest Strike In China’s History Enters 6th Day (Revolution News)

The largest strike in China’s history has entered the sixth day, defying state attempts to repress workers struggling against economic and social injustice. Police arrested several organizers of the strikers at the Yue Yuen factory, which produces shoes for Nike and Adidas.
As the situation deteriorates, the thousands of workers are ever angrier after the management of the factory completely denies any violations in the payment of their social security. Workers in Dongguan, where exists the largest labor rights movement, have taken solidarity actions with the strikers of Yue Yuen. Large numbers of workers in Dongguan – apparently in thousands – took it to the streets to protest wage injustice and the government’s oppression of migrant workers, and to demand the government pay the social security it owned to the workers.



AP: Chinese government trade union to mediate shoe factory strike by tens of thousands of workers (Fox News)

The Guangdong Federation of Trade Unions urged the workers to act rationally, but said it was „taking a clear-cut stand“ that the workers‘ rights must be protected. The federation said it had instructed its municipal agency in the southern city of Dongguan — where the factory complex is located — to mediate.

Yue Yuen shoe strike expands from Guangdong to Jiangxi (Want China Times)

A week after 30,000 workers from the Yue Yuen shoe factory in Dongguan in southern China’s Guangdong province took to the streets over invalid contracts, 2,000 workers from another of the company’s factories, located in Ji’an in eastern China’s Jiangxi province, have also joined the strike, reports the Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily.
Operated by the Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group, the Yue Yuen factory in Dongguan’s Gaobu township is one of the biggest shoe factories in China and produces footwear for more than 30 top brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok. The factory currently employs more than 60,000 workers.

Piräus | Kunming | Dalai Lama
Mrz 14th, 2014 by Gao

Λεωνίδα Βατικιώτη: Φόβος και δουλεμπόριο στο Νταχάου της Κόσκο (Πριν)

Στην περίπτωση της Κόσκο στον Πειραιά η κινεζοποίηση των εργασιακών σχέσεων δεν είναι σχήμα λόγου. Είναι καθημερινή πραγματικότητα για εκατοντάδες εργαζόμενους που προσλαμβάνονται μέσω εργολάβων – δουλέμπορων κι απολύονται με τη μεγαλύτερη ευκολία, αν διαμαρτυρηθούν για τις μεσαιωνικές σχέσεις εργασίας. Μάρτυρας, ο Δημήτρης Μπατσούλης, που απολύθηκε επειδή διεκδίκησε τα δικαιώματά του: να δουλεύει σε ένα ασφαλές εργασιακό περιβάλλον. Έκτοτε έχει προσφύγει δικαστικά εναντίον της εργοδοσίας.

In der englischen Übersetzung ist der Titel weniger drastisch als im griechischen Original:
In Piraeus, Chinese investment brings Chinese labour standards (Leonídas Vatikiótis)

Chinese labour standards in Europe. A daily reality for hundreds of employees, hired by subcontractors/slave traders, forced to work at abysmal security conditions and fired at a moment’s notice, in case they complain about medieval work relations. Dimitris Batsoulis, kicked out for requesting implementation of workplace safety regulations, has now gone to court against his former employer.

The Kunming Train Station Attack: A Hypothesis (East by Southeast)

David Rose: Why Was the Dalai Lama Hanging Out with the Right-Wing American Enterprise Institute? (Vanity Fair)

Kommende Revolution? Neoautoritarismus?
Dez 7th, 2013 by Gao

Daniel Morley, Congyue Dai: China: Growing Strikes, Corruption and Debt are Harbingers of coming Revolution (International Marxist Tendency)

Six months into China’s new Politburo Standing Committee under Xi Jinping’s Presidency, it has become abundantly clear that the next ten years under his rule will not resemble the relative social stability and rapid growth of the past ten years. The cart will not keep on rolling down the same path. Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party stand at a crossroads, facing that classic dilemma of all ruling classes – either to open up to democratic reform or clamp down on growing dissent?

Chris Buckley: Xi, in ‘Godfather’ Mold, Looks Assertive and Even Imperial (New York Times)

Mr. Xi emerged from a four-day meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee stronger. He won endorsement for a new national security commission that is likely to enhance his influence, as well as for a leadership group on reform that could give him a more direct say in economic policy, which has tended to be the prime minister’s domain. …
“Xi sees power in very personal terms and seems ready to act on that understanding,” said Joseph Fewsmith, a professor at Boston University who specializes in Chinese elite politics. “Whether that is good for China is another question.”
Xiao Gongqin, one of China’s most prominent proponents of “neo-authoritarianism,” thinks Mr. Xi is very a good thing: a new incarnation of his idea of a model leader, Deng Xiaoping.

Okt 22nd, 2013 by Gao

支持工人罷工权利 釋放工人代表吳貴軍 / Free Wu Guijun, Defend the Worker’s Right to Strike!
Large-scale strikes a feature of recent worker protest in China (China Labor Bulletin)

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