Asia Pacific Forum: Han Dongfang: Building a Progressive Labor Movement in China

China Labour Bulletin is quoted in the following article. Copyright remains with the original publisher

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 former railway worker who marched alongside student dissidents in Beijing and endured prison for his activism, Han heads China Labour Bulletin , a Hong Kong-based watchdog and advocacy organization that tracks the struggles of China’s budding independent labor movement. Although China’s formal unions are state controlled, CLB helps workers develop grassroots campaign strategies aimed at stopping abuse and exploitation and encouraging collective bargaining to improve wages and working conditions.

Han argues that, despite the suppression of China's independent labor activists and restrictions on free assembly, there is growing momentum for a real workers’ rights movement, and he believes that this will help Chinese workers forge a path to democracy. Whether you think his reform approach is too gradual or too radical, Han's insights are worth a listen. Because, since China plays such a massive role in the global production chain, the future of China’s labor movement is the future of all labor movement’s everywhere.

Back to Top

This website uses cookies that collect information about your computer. Please see CLB's privacy policy to understand exactly what data is collected from our website visitors and newsletter subscribers, how it is used and how to contact us if you have any concerns over the use of your data.