China’s road to the construction of labor rights

Feng Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The stage of state-building in the labor sector at which a working-class movement arose is crucial for the subsequent development of state–labor relations. In contrast with the experience of western countries and authoritarian developing nations, the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) strong pre-existing labor institutions pre-empted organized labor mobilization at the beginning of capitalist development. The state has since then carried out a bifurcated strategy that confers individual rights on workers but restricts their collective rights. The practice leads to a labor institution built on a hybrid of the old Leninist political structure of labor control and a one-dimensional labor rights regime, which has contributed to the lack of organized labor movements in contemporary China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-38
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • bifurcated strategy
  • China
  • labor movement
  • labor rights
  • one-dimensional labor rights regime


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