An invaluable insight into the labour movement in Guangdong
10 January, 2008
The violent attack in November on Shenzhen labour activist Huang Qingnan focused international attention, albeit briefly, on the labour movement in southern China. However, there has been little detailed analysis in the English language media of non-governmental labour organizations in Guangdong and exactly why factory owners now feel so threatened by them that they are willing to send thugs to beat-up and intimidate labour activists.
China Labor News Translations (CLNT) however has been closely monitoring domestic Chinese commentaries, articles and blogs on labour issues, and in the last two months has translated several articles that provide an invaluable insight into the labour movement in Guangdong.
This week CLNT posted translations of two articles from the well-known magazines Nanfeng Chuang and Liaowang.The first discusses the development of labour NGOs in Guangdong, how some worked with local governments and the official union, while others turned to foreign funders. The second looks at the role of “citizen agents,” who provide legal services for migrant workers seeking wages in arrears or redress for other violations of their rights.
The articles clearly demonstrate the significant momentum the labour movement is building in Guangdong. So much so, local branches of the ACFTU have sought to co-opt labour NGOs on condition they sever links with foreign organizations. And interestingly, a union official reportedly visited Huang Qingnan at the hospital in Shenzhen where he was recovering from his knife attack.
CLNT is a free service, and I would urge anyone interested in Chinese labour issues who is not already a subscriber to sign up for this valuable resource.