China’s Rising Labour Movement and its Impact on the Country’s Future | 9th October | Friday | 6 pm
China’s Rising Labour Movement and its Impact on the Country’s Future
Han Dongfang , Director, China Labour Bulletin, Hong Kong
Friday, Oct 09, 6pm, Alternative Law Forum, Infantry Road (next to Balaji Art Gallery) 080-22868757, 08022865757
About the Speaker
Han Dongfang, who had started out as an electrician serving in the Chinese Army, where he grew disillusioned despite his initial zeal, and the railways, went on to do something unthinkable in a one-party state whose official trade union which has a vast army of paid employees does anything but protect workers’ interests: He became the face of the Beijing Autonomous Workers Federation on Tiananmen Square in the Spring of 1989.
A few days after the crushing of the student-led pro-democracy movement on the night of June 3-4, 1989, he voluntarily surrendered, as he was listed among the state’s most wanted. After 22 months in captivity, he was exiled to Hong Kong.
He now heads China Labour Bulletin (CLB), a Hong Kong-based NGO that does superb research and advocacy work but also most crucially provide help for work in China to support challenges in the courts of law (as they exist) against anti-worker assaults. CLB has long been engaged in promoting collective bargaining and worker participation in enterprise trade unions. To be sure, China does have an official trade union: All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). It does anything but safeguard workers’ interests. Rather, it is sworn to uphold “stability”. And the current regime in China is arguably the most authoritarian since the Mao era.