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Labour Law: Trends and Practices in China

James Zimmerman
Publication date: 
Thu, 30 Aug 2007

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has gone through a period of staggering economic growth, unprecedented in world history, averaging nine per cent over the past two decades.

China has experienced record trade volumes of over US$1.15 trillion and foreign direct investment of over US$70 billion in 2006, a significant increase over the investment of US$2 billion in 1986. 
In parallel with such phenomenal economic growth, there is focus on development in the coastal areas and major cities; uncontrolled internal migration of workers; strain on environmental resources; increased labour-related deaths and injuries, especially at state-owed enterprises, construction sites, and mining operations; and increased labour unrest, triggered by unpaid worker wages, primarily with respect to wages owed to migrant construction  site labourers.  
This policy brief asks Why is the drive for unionization directed at foreign companies? Why now? Is there a broader agenda? Why are the trade unions driving labour legislative  agenda? And why is the US Congress seeking to get into the fray?