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LeBron James draws attention to the plight of the children of migrant workers while in Beijing

As part of his world tour, NBA superstar LeBron James, or the “Small Emperor” (小皇帝) as he is known in Chinese, came to the cities of Beijing, Shenyang, and Shanghai to meet fans, to perform basketball clinics, and promote his shoe line.

Is the ACFTU’s response to recent SOE protests anything more than self-consolation? (Updated)

In the wake of two high-profile SOE restructuring disputes – the Tonghua incident, in which a company manager died, and the Linzhou incident in which a manager was taken hostage – the question of who should protect workers’ interests and how that should be done has once again come into the public focus. As the only organization legally allowed to represent workers’ interests, naturally I have been following the ACFTU’s website to gauge their response. However, figuring out what their exact response has been is somewhat of a frustrating experience, and it almost seems as if they’ve made their specific response to be strongly worded but elusive to find, perhaps to maintain a low-profile. And perhaps not unsurprisingly then, upon finding their response, in the form of an Opinion and a Circular, it’s clear that their weakness inside the Chinese bureaucracy has prevented them from doing anything other than sending out ineffective but self-consoling statements.

Henan health officials shoot the messenger

Zhang Haichao became something of a celebrity in China after voluntarily undergoing open-chest surgery in a bid to show without doubt that he was suffering from the fatal lung disease pneumoconiosis. The case should have provided the impetus for a radical shake-up, or at least a rethinking, of the country’s work-related illness diagnosis system, but so far all local health officials in Henan have done is give a slap on the wrist to those deemed responsible for the original misdiagnosis, and, incredibly, publicly criticize the hospital that operated on Zhang for making an unlawful diagnosis.

UN Secretary-General Special Representative on business & human rights portal launched

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has launched an information hub providing the UN Secretary-General Special Representative on business & human rights a portal where all the documents, commentaries, and submissions about the framework can be found.

Between conciliation and suppression, Wenzhou government chooses a middle path

Previously, I had written about the contrast between Chongqing’s conciliatory approach to handling taxi strikes, and the more brutal, retrograde way the Xining government handled its strikes. Recent strikes in the prosperous city of Wenzhou seem to show that the Wenzhou government has chosen a middle path between the two, mixing “carrot” and “stick” for good measure.

Recent media reports highlight employment discrimination in China

China’s new Employment Promotion Law contains clear and specific provisions guarding against employment discrimination but, as recent media reports have shown, the problem is still widespread and largely unchecked.

Report: corrupt officials in coal country intimidate petitioner’s family members

China National Radio has recently published an article, translated by Joel Martinsen at Danwei, that exposes another tactic that corrupt county officials will use to stifle dissent threatening their interests in coal mining operations: going after the employment status of petitioners’ family members.

The hidden dangers of China’s construction sites

It is well known that China’s construction sites are dangerous places; workers are all too often crushed by falling building materials and scaffolding, maimed by faulty machinery or fall to their deaths from heights. Indeed, just last month, eight workers died after a load collapsed at a construction site in Jiangsu. But on a recent trip to Beijing, I was alerted to a new danger, one that I had not even considered before – underground water.

In Walmart case, US court’s ruling show limitations of codes of conduct

The San Fransico Chronicle reports that: “Workers in foreign factories that supply Wal-Mart can't blame the company for their alleged sweatshop conditions, despite the retail giant's code of conduct that's supposed to hold its contractors to decent labor standards, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

In handling of taxi strikes, Xining and Chongqing provide stark contrasts

Disturbing news of how a taxi strike was handled in Xining - involving the arrest of eleven people, which brought out the proliferation of outdated rhetoric reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution - falls into sharp contrast with the way many taxi strikes were dealt with in more progressive ways at the end of last year.


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