Law and Fair Work in China
Routledge – 2013 – 194 pages
China’s economic reforms have brought the country both major international clout and widespread domestic prosperity. At the same time, the reforms have led to significant social upheaval, particularly manifest in labour relations. Each year, several thousand disputes break out over working conditions, many of them violent, and the Chinese state has responded with both legal and political strategies.
This book investigates how Chinese governments have used law, and other forms of regulation, to govern working conditions and combat labour disputes. Starting from the early years of the Republican period, the book traces the evolution of the law of work in modern China right up to the reforms of the present day. It considers the structure of Chinese work law, drawing on both Chinese and Western scholarship to provide new insights into its unique features and assess where the law is innovative and where it is stagnant and unresponsive. The authors explore the various legal and extra-legal techniques successive Chinese governments have adopted to enforce work law and the responses of firms, workers and organizations to these practices.
"All in all, the book is well researched and structured and provides new insights into the workings of Chinese society today, and not only as far as labor issues are concerned. In addition, it provides an interesting historical overview of the development of work legislation in China." Hatla Thelle, The Danish Institute for Human Rights, The China Journal
1. Introduction 2. Chinese fair work law from 1912 to 1978: creation and destruction 3. A second start: the re-creation of labour market and legal institutions from 1978 to 1994 4. The Labour Law of 1994: structuring modern Chinese work regulation 5. After the Labour Law: crisis and regulatory responses from 1994 to 2007 6. The Labour Contract Law of 2007: reforming contract to protect work standards? 7. Making reform work? Dispute resolution, labour inspection and firm behaviour since 2007 8. Conclusion: eight observations about fair work law in China
Sean Cooney is an Associate Professor at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia.
Sarah Biddulph is Associate Professor and Reader in the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, Australia.
Ying Zhu is a Professor and Director, Australian Centre for Asian Business, IGSB, University of South Australia.