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When a Chinese worker is cheated out of their wages or benefits, refused compensation for an injury at work or discriminated against while applying for a job, they can seek redress through the country’s labour dispute resolution system.

Unfortunately, although workers are increasingly willing and determined to stand up for their legal rights and sue their employer, the process is rarely straightforward and employers, government officials and even the law itself can throw up seemingly insurmountable obstacles. As such, China Labour Bulletin, through its nationwide network of law firms, non-governmental organizations and individual lawyers, seeks to help workers overcome those obstacles and arrive at a just settlement.

CLB and its partners provide workers who have a legitimate grievance but who cannot afford a lawyer with a determined and effective representation throughout the legal process. In particular, CLB focuses on cases that highlight widespread social injustice such as unequal pay, discrimination against workers with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the failure to compensate victims of occupational disease. In addition to providing legal support in these cases, we also aim to publicize them in the domestic Chinese media and social media so as to raise public awareness of the issues and promote legal and social change.

It is not unusual for workers who stand up for their rights to suffer from employer intimidation and or detention by the authorities. As such, if worker activists or worker representatives do face criminal charges, CLB will provide them with a robust legal defense. In addition, CLB keeps track of those worker activists who were sentenced to long prison terms in the early 2000s for their involvement in protests at the restructuring of state-owned enterprises.

Since the labour rights litigation program began in 2004, CLB and its partners have completed more than 1,400 cases, the vast majority of which have now been entered into our case database in Hong Kong. In addition, many individual cases have been profiled on the website and can be seen in the case archive below: