The Lot of Chinese Workers: Do China's Labor Laws Work?

2255 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Tuesday, April 11, 2006 - 10:00am to 11:30am
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The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) held another in its series of staff-led Issues Roundtables on Tuesday, April 11, 2006, from 10:00 to 11:30 AM in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The Roundtable is entitled "The Lot of Chinese Workers: Do China's Labor Laws Work?"

The National People's Congress enacted labor laws in 1994 and 2001 that many people in China and abroad saw as positive steps for Chinese workers.  In practice, however, both have been implemented inconsistently across the country, resulting in a legal regime for labor in China that does not protect workers against exploitation and abuse.  Such abusive practices are particularly common against rural workers when they migrate into areas of China in which industrial development has been rapid and demand for labor is great.  These migrant workers frequently find it difficult to protect themselves against health problems, long working hours, wage arrearages, and other forms of exploitation.

Chinese workers are making their discontent known by holding large public protests in many places in China.  Public demonstrations are one of the few methods open to exploited workers to bring their grievances to the attention of government authorities.  Most protests are peaceful, but during 2005 at least one incident involved workers battling public security officers.

The panelists discussed these issues and developments, and offered comments on new labor legislation under consideration in China.


Mr. Han Dongfang, Director, China Labour Bulletin

Dr. Robin Munro, Director of Research, China Labour Bulletin