Trade unionism in China: Sinking or swimming?


The period of neo-liberalism in the 1980s and the post-Cold War context of the 1990s have challenged trade unions throughout the world. With the onset of market reforms from 1978 onwards, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) began to revitalize its activities. However, reform and entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) have posed new challenges to the functioning and legitimacy of the ACFTU. In confronting its various challenges in the reform context and making gradual attempts at internal reform, the ACFTU is shifting from being an incorporated organization to a state corporatist entity. Furthermore, although entry into the WTO has accentuated the need for the ACFTU to become more active in representing workers, the ACFTU is unlikely to reshape itself institutionally to guarantee either the protection of workers or social stability.


Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Volume 19, Issue 1, pages 102-122 [doi:10.1080/13523270300660007]

Trade unionism in China: Sinking or swimming?

Published 1 January 2003