An introduction to China Labour Bulletin’s Strike Map

There are no official statistics on the number of strikes and worker protests in China. CLB’s Strike Map records only those incidents that have been reported in the media or on Chinese social media, and as such it should be seen not as a definitive record of strikes in China but simply as snapshot of worker activism. The map can however be used to illustrate the relative frequency, distribution and types of collective action, as well as workers’ demands and the response of employers and the authorities.

We estimate that - based on the occasional statistics issued by the Chinese government - the Strike Map accounts for about five to ten percent of all incidents of worker collective action in China. We cannot independently verify all the information contained in the reports of worker action used to compile the Strike Map; however we can be reasonably confident that at least the basic facts are correct.

The various features of the interactive map are outlined below.

The map is dual language: You can select either the English (Eng) or Chinese (中文) versions. Since the source material for the map is all in Chinese, there is more detail on individual incidents available in Chinese than in English but each entry does have a basic description in English.

The default date range on the map is the last six months but you can select any dates from January 2011 onwards. The results are displayed on the map grouped by province, listed chronologically in the left-hand sidebar and displayed by monthly totals in the chart at the foot of the map. See screenshot below

Once you have established your desired timeframe, you can select data from one particular region and or one particular sector; for example, manufacturing in Guangdong from January 2014 to December 2015. See screenshot below.

You can further narrow your search by selecting the number of participants in each incident, for example, 100 to 1,000 persons; this will help you gauge the scale of the protests as well as the number of protests.

For more detailed searches click More Search Options. Here you can select the enterprise type, for example, private enterprise, the demands of the protesting workers, for example, wage arrears, and the specific actions taken by the workers, for example, strike or sit-in. See below.

In many but not all cases you can examine the response of the employer and the local authorities to the workers’ protest action, for example if police intervened or if negotiations took place. This category is not as comprehensive as the others because of the lack of follow up information generally available in the media reports used to compile the map.

If you want to create your own graphics based on the map’s underlying data, you can export that data to an Excel file by clicking the blue Export box at the top of the list of incidents on the left hand sidebar. See screenshot left. Please note that it is easier to export smaller files; larger data exports may not always be successful.

To get more details on specific incidents, simply click on the incident marked on the map (visible when you zoom in) or listed in the left-hand sidebar. Here you will get a brief description of the event, plus links to and screenshots of the original source material in Chinese. See below

We have, in addition, created a simpler, less cluttered version of the Strike Map for mobile devices. To establish your own date range and specific search options, simply click Search at the top right of the screen, select your criteria and click on See Results.

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