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CLB Director Han Dongfang contributed this commentary (attached as a PDF)  to Le Monde diplomatique, which retains copyright. The article appeared in the September 2014 edition.
Thousands of truck drivers went on strike over salary and haulage rates in the eastern Chinese port of Ningbo this week, and a logistics firm said on Friday the industrial action was disrupting operations at the world's sixth busiest port.
Weekly visits and random questioning by local police officers are not unusual for the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labour Disputes Centre in Guangdong province. This summer, though, has been different, says Zhang Zhiru, the centre’s director.
Move comes after labour group raises fears over safety on the mainland
Han Dongfang has been fighting for workers rights in China since the first shot was fired at Tiananmen Square in 1989. But throughout his long career as a trade union activist and reformer, the veteran activist is driven by a belief in a peaceful transition to democracy.
A record number of workers have gone on strike in China so far this year.
Han Dongfang, a longtime Chinese labor activist, has some ideas about democracy in China. But unlike most of the liberal Western critics and prominent exiled dissidents, Han is not focused on freeing Tibet, street rallies for human rights, or freedom of the press—though he understands that all those issues are vital to the debate on China’s political future. He thinks democracy begins not by casting a ballot for far-away political leaders, but electing your shop steward
Authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou have shuttered more than 200 factories pending safety checks in the wake of a massive explosion at a car parts factory that killed at least 75 people, official media reported.
After the swirl of poison dust settled, the factory grounds resembled a battlefield, strewn with charred bodies and rubble. The explosion, which left about seventy-five workers dead and 185 injured, wasn’t the scene of an attack, really—just another one of the countless industrial accidents that befall China’s factories each year.
El último accidente laboral en China ocurrido en una fábrica metalúrgica ha vuelto a poner en evidencia la falta de medidas de seguridad en las plantas de la segunda economía mundial, donde los controles son escasos y las firmas tienden a ignorar los estándares en pos de un mayor beneficio.

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