State-Urban Workers Relations
We talked about SOE-reform 2 weeks ago. this is continuing.
So what happens after restructing of SOE?
The relationship betweeen state and migrant workers who worked in factories,
in coastal cities, etc.
Types of Protest
reform soe 1990s, many restructuring happened. Many privatized, while
others gone through massive restructing to be efficient even though state had
majuority stake in them.
there was also some inefficient enterprises shut down altogether.
so what was the central government with respect to policies of SOE
restructuring, were there particular types that were privatized? If we devide
soe to large and small one, grasping large and letting go of small.
Large ones, the ones owned by SOE, the state do retain control while
privatizing or selling or shutting down smaller ones, which are not owned by
central governments, but owned by local govern.
the large scaled enterprises remained state-owned, and those owned by
central are larger in scales, employ more revenue and get more revnnue than
local owned ones. The policy rationale is to create state owned companies taht
can be national champions in their respective industry.
Three xamples are: natural petroleum corporation, china mobile sino pact,
china telecom, china state grid corporations, the 4 state owned banks in
so govet wanted retain control over these large scaled industries, and make
them successful in export industries. In a sense, they discriminate against
smaller oones owned by local government, it's ok to privatize them
30 million workers laid out since 1990s as result of the SOE reform, leading to
large numbers of social protest.
labour work force worked for smaller SOE of local prinvincial/municipal
governments, and the protests mostly in 3 categories. nON payment, arrears of
wages, unemployment benefits, pensions, arrear of unemployment benefits
these payments are not paid by enterprises, but because these enterprises
ultimately belong to local gvernment, the ultmate responsibility lie with the
local government. Non payment protests by far the most comon type of
Neighorhood protests also: like against lack of heating, against substandard
public services, like of ehating, deterioatuing infrastructe of neighbor. These
things used to be provided by SOE, so when restructred or bankrupted, level of
service declined for this community.
Bankryupcy protests: job tenure, severeance package, illicit selling of state
owned enterprises, and protests against cadre corruption
*2nd and 3rd minor compared to labour protests
Some basic protest tactics: nondfisruptive pettitioning (writie pretitions to local
government), onon violence bloackage of roads like assholes, blockage of
railways, building entrances, etc and some may turn violent, but most are non-
violent at beggining. They sign petitions and submit to relevant authority, but
if petitions dont do shit, they get pissed and proceed to non-violent blockage of
roads and other transportation links, the protests rarely turn violent, and if
they do turn vilent, its due to unexpected exogenous events like riot police
railing them in the ass with some sick ass chinese kong fu weapons or causing
death with detainment provoking anger, etc. Due to such exogenous events,
the peaceful demonstrations turn violent, but most are non violent to begin
No publoic quanttative data of frequency of worker protest exist. Prof herself
tried to study social unrest in China, but there's no one with systematic data,
and relying on media-report, trying to quote them, and govt itself has no offical
data on it. Workers protest = a type of social unrest, social unrest can include
so many types that workers unrest is only part of it.
Estimated 100s to thousands per year from late 90s to mid2000s. By mid
2000s, estimate of 90,000 according to China. Tsinghua university dude
estimate about 180,000 per year, which is doubled the number publicshed by
Govt hasnt defined what 'mass incident' yet, like how many people constitutes
prof did some research, the minimum threshold is about 500, so if 500 people
get together, there are different types of mass incident, which is of about 500
to a few 1000s. None of this is really that scientific, dont think about it too
There are also extraordinary mass incident, which is above few 1000s.
Mass incident is an indicator of social unrest
another indicator is public order disturbance, and it could mean vandalizing
police car, destroying of government buildings, anything that would disrupt
These 2 are some indicators of SOCIAL UNREST.
What we talked about today is a parituclar type of social unrest.
In china, the collective action (in this sense means, public protest or
demonstration or actions staged collectively by large groups of people) of laid
off worker mostly formal presentation of grievances or demands of enterprises
and government officials.
Two factors contribute to success of collective action:
Number of participants involved, a sufficient number is critical, from
government official point of view, the more participants, the greater
effectiveness. The more people that demand, the more pressure on the
officials, but if only few people go, the officials would dismiss them. It
determines their ability to create big problem like blockades. Large scale
actions are more likely to attract government and media. This applies to all
demonstrations, not just demonstrations by workers. Recent news: Wukang
southern China, initially it was a peaceful shit, but some dude died, and
provoked anger, peeps got angry, gathered mass and attracted international
media, etc. So basdically yeah, number of participants is key determinant.
CCP worries about these undermine the legitimization of the government. Any
protests that carry explicit political message, that would be cracked down by
government right away.
Second factor to succes of colelctive action: coordiantion of efforts by workers,
so worker mobilization is only possible with presence of organizers. l
Organizers often play number of roles in collective action, especialy iin the
contesxt of labour unrest. Because in china, no trade union is independent of
state control, so workers ations organized by workers themselves since no
union. So who are these workers organiers, what role do they pay, and
because being organizer doesn't necessary bring extra benefits, doesn't eman
the organizers will get more, but the organizers put themselves in risky
situation so personal ambitions is not particularly relevant explanation so
initiator of organizers of colelctive actions fo workers typically include current
enterprise leaders, previous enterprise cadres, retired workers, military
veterans, party members, most of these ortganizxers were the elite of the
workers in the sense that they are more inflential than rank and file guys to
begin with, and they have experience in dealing with the higher autorities gof
governnment and are qualified because of their prestige, and with oral and
technical abilities to convey the demands, etc. The reason they want to
become organizers because theya re part of the victims, or to community