State and Labor in China, 1978-2018

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China's reintegration into global capitalism has greatly transformed migration patterns and labor relations since the late 1970s. This article focuses on worker activism in this transformation. It shows that the dynamic interactions between worker mobilization and government reaction have continued to shape the forms and outcomes of labor contention. Aggrieved workers have used legal and extralegal strategies to defend their rights and interests. In response, from the early 2000s, the leadership has sought to preserve social stability by raising minimum wages, extending social insurance coverage, and expanding access to grievance redress. But freedom of association remains severely restricted. Labor nongovernmental organizations and more recently a new generation of left‐wing university students have attempted to fill the representation gap to support workers in struggle. State and labor relations remain contentious in Chinese development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-475
JournalJournal of Labor and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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