Download Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and by Ching Kwan Lee PDF

By Ching Kwan Lee

This learn opens a severe standpoint at the gradual loss of life of socialism and the rebirth of capitalism within the world's such a lot dynamic and populous state. in response to outstanding fieldwork and vast interviews in chinese language cloth, clothing, equipment, and family equipment factories, Against the legislations finds a emerging tide of work unrest usually hidden from the world's recognition. delivering a huge political and monetary research of this exertions fight including fine-grained ethnographic aspect, the e-book portrays the chinese language operating category as workers' tales spread in bankrupt country factories and international sweatshops, in crowded dormitories and distant villages, at road protests in addition to in quiet disenchantment with the corrupt officialdom and the fledgling criminal method.

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Additional info for Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and Sunbelt

Sample text

In short, I ask whether labor unrest in the reform era signals the formation of a Chinese working class in the world's fastest-growing economy with the world's largest workforce. Chapter 2 is an overview of the uneven transition from social contract to labor contract as a framework for regulating employment relations and reproducing labor power. It is also a brief history of what Polanyi would term “a double movement” of commodification and social protection through state legislation. On the one hand, the restructuring of the Chinese industrial economy has led to the rise and growth of nonstate economic sectors, the shrinkage of state industries, and the recomposition of the workforce.

Workers with grievances about nonpayment of wages and pensions and other conflicts demand redress citing central government regulations. Paradoxically, though, the same central-local state tension has led to a bifurcation of regime legitimacy and therefore a localized, rather than national, pattern of labor agitation. The common view found among aggrieved workers is that the central leadership is protective of workers, as evidenced by the numerous laws Beijing has promulgated, whereas local officials are corrupt and unfit to rule because they fail to enforce central regulations.

Thanks to the egalitarian bent of the Maoist road to modernization, which placed dual emphasis on industrialization and public ownership, Chinese workers (including both blue-collar and white-collar employees in urban areas) benefited from the “urban bias” in resource allocation commonly found in developing countries. Furthermore, Maoist ideology enhanced the position of workers vis-à-vis the intelligentsia and man- 38 / Part I agerial cadres.

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