The Role of the State, Labour Policy and Migrant Workers' Struggles in Globalized China

C.K.C. Chan, N. Pun, Jenny Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The financial crisis of 2008 brought many changes to the world economy with China seeming to stand out as one of the countries best able to weather the storm. There is a general belief that this is because China has a strong state which has reshaped the role of China in the new international division of labour and has the ability to resume its economic development internally. Our study of labour policy and workers’ struggles tells a different story. We argue that the state-driven process of economic globalization has created a new millions-strong working class in China. A paradoxical phenomenon is that this state-driven process in economic globalization has been accompanied by a state retreat process in the areas of social reproduction and social protection. This state withdrawal process largely shapes a specific pattern of proletarianization of Chinese labour and a specific capital-labour relationship which contribute to recent, and intensifying, migrant workers’ struggles in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-151
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal labour journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Economic globalization
  • Labour policy
  • Labour protests
  • Migrant workers
  • Post-socialist development


Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of the State, Labour Policy and Migrant Workers' Struggles in Globalized China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this