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Geoff's blog
Introducing our new website
China Labour Bulletin finally enters the Twenty-first Century today with our first blog.
 
The blog will be written by different members of staff, and will update readers on our own particular areas of interest. I’m Geoffrey Crothall, editor of the English language website, and in this inaugural blog, I’ll try to explain the ideas behind our website’s redesign and the plans we have for future content.
 
We are very grateful for all the complimentary comments readers have made about both the design and content of our old website. And we have tried to maintain as much of the old look as possible, so that regular readers will not get disorientated, while making it more dynamic and user-friendly. We have introduced much more colour and graphic content and redesigned the front page to more effectively reflect the work CLB is currently doing and the direction we will be moving in the future.
 
Not many people currently realize that a key focus of our work over the last few years has been our labour rights litigation programme, in which we help Chinese workers seek redress for violations of their rights through the court system. As such, from now on, we will always feature our important litigation cases on the front page and create an archive of older cases inside.
 
We also want to give greater prominence to our research reports. In the coming years, we plan to produce a lot more English language reports to compliment our already substantial library of Chinese language research reports. We will soon publish our English language report on the workers’ movement in China 2005-06, which will give readers a detailed overview of the labour disputes that arose during this period and the response of the government and official unions to them.
 
A major feature of our website has always been CLB Director Han Dongfang’s radio interviews. We have included these on the front page again but instead of simply translating selected broadcast transcripts, we have begun to translate and summarize entire interviews, keeping as much of the interviewees’ own voice as possible, so as to give non-Chinese speakers a unique and telling glimpse into the lives of workers and peasants who are suffering from the growing inequities of Chinese society. The audio files and Chinese transcripts will remain on the Chinese website.
 
One thing the old website lacked was a section people could go to just to get the basic facts about labour issues in China. My colleague Aris Chan is creating a resource centre which will give readers a detailed introduction to major topics of interest such as the reform of state-run enterprises, migrant workers, unemployment trends, industrial injuries, insurance and pensions, labour dispute arbitration, etc. Moreover, the resource centre will include a wide range of easily accessible statistics that will give readers a macroscopic and quantitative perspective on Chinese labour issues. Currently we only have two sections in the resource centre, on state-owned enterprises and unemployment, but others will soon follow
 
Another new feature of the website is a section on worker’s representation and collective contracts, which will focus on CLB’s new initiatives in promoting collective bargaining and collective labour contracts as a means of empowering workers and protecting their rights.
 
I hope you will find the new website attractive, useful and easy to navigate, and of course I welcome any comments and suggestions you may have on how we can further improve it.