HKCTU hosted a seminar in Denmark, calling international trade unions to be concerned about China's labour rights

As the International Trade Unions Confederation's 4th World Congress took place in Denmark, HKCTU took this opportunity to host a seminar, namely “Impact of China's Economic Transformation and Overseas Investment on Labour Rights”. It aims to inform the unionists around the world about the challenges Chinese workers face during China's economic transformation and how labour rights are affected.

It was first conducted by Mr Lam Cho-ming, an officer of HKCTU, to introduce the process of China's economic transformation, from manufacturing-oriented to service-oriented sectors, the latest trend of labour struggles and the labour issues coming along with China's One-Belt-One-Road Project. Then Mr Lee Cheuk-yan, general secretary of HKCTU talked about Chinese investment's impact on local African workers as he visited three African countries in June 2018. Followed by Andrea Maksimovic, Associate Director International & Civil Society at Australian Council of Trade Unions, she recounted her experience in exchanging with All China Federation of Trade Unions (hereafter: ACFTU) in past years.

More than half of the attendants are African unionists, as massive Chinese investment plays a significant role there. Impact has been seen in Africa's labour market and labour relations, which local trade unions are rather concerned about. During the discussion session, representatives from different countries elaborated the impact of Chinese investment in their home countries and showed concerns for Chinese workers' rights, such as their missing freedom of association and the lack of collective bargaining right. They suggested to share information on labour rights issues in Chinese invested-sites / plants through international platforms.

One major difference between China's overseas investment and private enterprises' profit-oriented investment lies in the fact that the former one is mostly led by state-owned enterprises, whose investment strategies are to echo the state policies.  Therefore, the international labour movement should strengthen its research on this form of policy-led investment, to develop new mechanisms and strategies different from the previous ones in supervising the European and American multinational companies, in order to better monitor Chinese enterprises' violations in their own countries.