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 is currently the only publicly accessible database that contains detailed information (in English and Chinese) on nearly 10,000 workers’ collective actions in China dating back to 2011.*

The map is currently updated twice weekly by our staff in Hong Kong. To get the latest updates, please follow @CLBStrikeMap (English) and @bagongditu (Chinese) on Twitter and subscribe to our monthly newsletter, which uses Strike Map data to pinpoint the latest trends in worker activism in China.

The Strike Map is designed to help journalists, researchers and trade unionists etc. better understand the frequency and distribution of strikes as well as the characteristics of worker protests in China. To this end, CLB publishes regular news articles and features analysing recent Strike Map incidents. We also produce occasional in-depth research reports that provide a more comprehensive analysis of the data over a longer period of time and across a range of industries and professions.

For those wishing to do their own analysis or identify specific trends in worker protests, the various interactive features of the map are outlined below.

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 grouped by province on the map and listed chronologically in the left-hand sidebar (see screenshot below).

Once you have established your desired timeframe, you can select data from one particular region and/or one particular industrial sector; for example, manufacturing in Guangdong from January 2016 to December 2016 and zoom into that region for more detail (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 their frequency.

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 screenshot 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 the 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 reports used to compile the map.

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.

If you want to create your own graphics based on the map’s underlying data, you can do so by exporting your selected data to an Excel file by clicking [Export data] at the top of the left hand sidebar incidents list. Please note that it is easier to export smaller files (larger data exports may not always be successful) and that Google Chrome is the most reliable browser for file exports.

To get more details on specific incidents, simply click on the incident marked on the map or listed in the left-hand sidebar. Here you will get a brief description of the event, plus links to and screen shots of the source material in Chinese (see screenshot below). We cannot independently verify all the information contained in the original source material; however we can be reasonably confident that at least the basic facts are correct. The location of each incident marked on the map is not precisely geotagged but rather represents the most accurate location we can find based on the information available.*

*             It is important to note that the Strike Map is not a definitive record of all the strikes in China. We can only record those incidents that are in the public domain, usually posted on Chinese social media and occasionally in the official media as well. We estimate that - based on the occasional and partial statistics issued by the national and local governments in China - the Strike Map currently accounts for about five to ten percent of all incidents of worker collective action in China. However, that sampling rate has varied over the years so we would caution against comparing incident totals over an extended period of time.

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