China's Trade Unions in Corporatist Transition

M.E. Sharpe
Publication Type:
Associations and the Chinese State: Contested Spaces`, 2008, 1, pp. 69 - 85
Issue Date:
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One issue in studies of trade unions is a unions relationship with the state, ideologically and strategically. At one end of the spectrum is a system where the trade union has a weak relationship with the government. At the other, a union can be under absolute state domination. This latter was the case in Leninist one-party states, where the trade union was an integral organ of the party-state. Even within the Communist systems there were variations, and China had occupied the extreme end of the spectrum in terms of the trade unions incorporation into, and subjugation by, the party-state and management during the Maoist period (1949-1976). This control was accompanied by a tight lid on workers capacities to resist the states wishes. As will be observed, this tradition of government control has left an imprint on present-day union capacities and workers abilities to mobilize.
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