Labour Struggles and International Solidarity in China

Center-affiliated assistant professor Elaine Hui was invited to speak at a recent event entitled “Labour Struggles and International Solidarity in China.”
Labour Struggles and International Solidarity in China

Assistant professor Elaine Hui presents work on labor struggles and international solidarity in China.

By Kelly Foster

Dr. Elaine Hui, assistant professor for the School of Labor and Employment Relations, was invited to speak at recent event entitled “Labour Struggles and International Solidarity in China.” The event was organized by the Made in China Journal in conjunction with the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Conference in Denver, Colorado from March 21 to 24. 

The meeting centered around the shrinking space for labor activism in China amidst ongoing suppression against workers, activists and student groups. Hui discussed the international academic community as well as the important role of scholars and their support for labor struggles in China.

In addition, Hui organized a panel comparing labor relations in post-socialist China and Vietnam for the AAS Conference, which was attended by more than thirty people. Based on her research of the two countries, she presented a co-authored paper, “Strikes and Pensions in Post-Socialist China and Vietnam: A Comparative Study.”  

“Pension is a key social issue for both China and Vietnam,” said Hui. “There have been an increasing number of pensions strikes in both of these countries, yet they have not been investigated in detail. I think it is important to understand what’s going on with the pension systems in China and Vietnam to shed light on pension-driven strikes.”

Based on interviews with more than 100 informants and systematic documentary research, Hui’s co-authored paper compares the pension systems and pension strikes pertaining to migrant workers in China and Vietnam.

Paying special attention to labor actions shaped by state policies and how worker’s responses influence state policies, Hui’s paper has made significant contributions to China and Vietnam labor studies. She looks beyond the state-centered perspective that predominately resort to legal-text and document analysis. Hui includes social actors, specifically workers, into the study of pension policies as well as highlights the similarities and differences between two widely reported strikes in China and Vietnam. 

 This article was originally published on Penn State's Labor and Employment Relations website.