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Chun-Yi Lee - The Role of Female Workers in Chinese Labour Movement

Has China transformed itself from the world factory sweat shop to an industrial upgraded country?

This lecture/seminar will examine the role of female workers in the Chinese labour movements. The core questions will be discussed in this lecture are:

1.    Has China transformed itself from the world factory sweat shop to an industrial upgraded country?
2.    What are the social changes of the industrial relations in China? This part will include the trade union and the development of grass-root labour organisations
3.    More importantly, what have female workers contributed to the above changes, if there has been any changes in China’s industrial relations from 1949 till present?

Readings for this lecture:

Friedman, Eli and Ching Kwan Lee, (2010), Rethinking the World of Chinese labour: A 30-Year Retrospective. British Journal of Industrial Relations 48(3): 507-533.

Ma, Z (2011) The ACFTU and Chinese Industrial Relations. Bern: Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers. Chapter 1, pp1-28.

Chan, C. (2013) Community-based Organisations for Migrant Workers’ Rights: The Emergence of Labour NGOs in China. Community Development Journal 48(1): 1-17. 

Pun Ngai (2012), “Gender and Class: Women’s Working Lives in a Dormitory Labor Regime in China”, International Labor and Working-Class History, No. 81, Spring 2012, pp. 178–181.

Pun Ngai (2007), “The Dormitory Labor Regime: Sites of Control and Resistance for Women Migrant Workers in South China”, Feminist Economics, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2007, pp 239 – 258.

Swider, Sarah, “Working Women of the World Unite? Labor organizing and transnational gender solidarity among domestic workers in Hong Kong” pp. 110-140, in Global Feminism: Women’s Transnational Activism, Organizing, and Human Rights, edited by Myra Marx Ferree and Aili Mari Tripp (NYU Press). 2006.

Dr. Chun-Yi Lee is a lecturer at the school of Politics and International Relation (SPIR) at University of Nottingham. Her current research project is: 'Chinese Investment in Taiwan: Opportunities or Challenges to Taiwan's Industrial Development?' This project aims to investigate bilateral cross-Strait economic activities and also, its impact on both societies. It is a two and half year project, started in July 2014, aim to finish in December 2016. Chun-Yi's previous research project is ''national transformation and workers' rights: An analysis of Chinese labour within the global economy' with Prof. Andreas Bieler at SPIR. This project investigated the influence of different foreign investors on Chinese workers and labour rights. Using interviews, participant observation and cases studies, this project examined the emergence of civil society in this dynamic interaction among the state, foreign capital, and workers in China. This is a three-year project, it finished in September 2014.


Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna Austria

Contact: Astrid Lipinsky
T: +43-1-4277-43844
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0
Lastupdate: 25.04.2017 - 22:00