Position and Analysis
“Rule by Law” & “Television Trials”: a Double Strategy to Mute the Civil Society
In the past, the Chinese Government took a low-profile approach to conduct its political repression. Yet, the trend has changed. Extensive media coverage and television trials have been recently adopted to crack down human rights activists. Despite international community’s condemnations, repression grows in China. Between September 2016 and January 2017, China passed three laws, namely: Cyber Security Law, Charity Law and Law on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-Governmental Organizations within the Territory of China (hereafter: Foreign NGOs Law), using legislations as a weapon to further restrict the growth of civil society and freedom of expression.
Workers Made Scapegoats of “Economic Downturn”: Guangdong Minimum Wage Frozen for Three Years
In 1993, China issued its first national regulations on enterprises’ statutory minimum wages and in 2004, it issued “Provisions on Statutory Minimum Wages” to further regulate it, requiring it to be reviewed once every two years, if not shorter. Except in 2009, when China was hit by the 2008 Financial Crisis and statutory minimum wage froze nationwide, all provinces have been in line with the legal requirement, i.e. adjusting statutory minimum wages once every two years. On 24 February 2017, the Guangdong Provincial Government issued a “Working Scheme on Reducing Costs for Real Economy Enterprises” (hereafter: the Scheme), stating that in order to reduce labour costs for enterprises, the statutory minimum wage would be reviewed once every three years and the statutory minimum wage for 2017 would be kept at the level of 2015.
Right to Communicate Violated: Labour Activist Detained and Isolated for 16 Months
Chinese labour activist Meng Han was sentenced to a prison term of 21 months by Panyu District Court of Guangzhou City on 3 November 2016, for "gathering crowds to disrupt public order" as he helped organize workers to defend their rights. He was then sent to serve his sentence in Shaoguan Prison of Guangdong Province and is expected to be released in September 2017.
Interview with Dr Eileen Yuk-ha Tsang, an researcher of sex workers in China
China is estimated to have four to six million sex workers. However, the society still holds many misconceptions about this vast number of workers. In this issue of China Labour Quarterly, we are honoured to have Dr Eileen Tsang, assistant professor of Department of Applied Social Science of City University of Hong Kong to discuss the issue with. Dr. Tsang has conducted extensive research on sex workers in China in past years.
Finding the Culprit behind Sino-Hong Kong Clashes - Class or Nationalist Conflicts?
In recent years, Chinese investment in Hong Kong has become a hot topic in the financial news. From McDonald's Corp. selling its controlling stake in its Hong Kong operations to CITIC Group, to China Telecom obtaining a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) license in Hong Kong, all indicate that Chinese capital is taking up a sizeable share of the market in Hong Kong.
International Labour Organization Urged the Chinese Government to Stop Suppression on Freedom of Association
In December 2015, the Guangdong Provincial Government launched a mass crackdown against labour activists, detaining over 25 volunteers and employees of labour NGOs. Some of them were released after interrogation, but six of them, Meng Han, Zhu Xiaomei, Tang Huanxing, Zeng Feiyang, Peng Jiayong, and Deng Xiaoming have been charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order”.
Foreign NGO Law - A Spell over China’s Civil Society
“Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations Activities within China” (hereafter Foreign NGO Law) came into effect on January 1, 2017. Together with the “Charity Law” which became effective since 1 September 2016, these two laws were implemented within a few months to regulate activities of civil organizations.
Chinese Workers Become the First Victim of Continuous Foreign Investment Withdrawal
In mid-November 2016, Coca-Cola announced to sell its bottling assets in China to Swire Pacific Ltd and China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO). Under the realignment, Coca-Cola will cease to run bottling operations in mainland China. Workers in its plants in Jilin, Chongqing and Chengdu became worried about if the new employers would alter their labour conditions after the acquisition.
Chinese Capital Capturing Overseas Energy Industry
Due to the slowdown in China's economic growth and the growing domestic overcapacity in recent years, the Chinese Government and enterprises have participated in a number of overseas investment and construction projects. In December 2015, when Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, he promised to invest US $60 billion in Africa during the next three years and support local construction of roads and railways. Apart from Africa, Latin America is also the destination of China's production and capital.
Torn Between Authoritarian Rule and Right-Wing Populism: The New Challenge of Hong Kong's Democratic Labour Movement
The democratic labour movement in Hong Kong encountered numerous challenges in 2016. At the eve of May Day 2016, the major student unions from nine universities, which had previously been on friendly terms with the HKCTU, released a joint statement, declaring their withdrawal from the Solidarity March hosted by the HKCTU.