In the wake of two high-profile SOE restructuring disputes – the Tonghua incident, in which a company manager died, and the Linzhou incident in which a manager was taken hostage – the question of who should protect workers’ interests and how that should be done has once again come into the public focus. As the only organization legally allowed to represent workers’ interests, naturally I have been following the ACFTU’s website to gauge their response. However, figuring out what their exact response has been is somewhat of a frustrating experience, and it almost seems as if they’ve made their specific response to be strongly worded but elusive to find, perhaps to maintain a low-profile. And perhaps not unsurprisingly then, upon finding their response, in the form of an Opinion and a Circular, it’s clear that their weakness inside the Chinese bureaucracy has prevented them from doing anything other than sending out ineffective but self-consoling statements.
21 August 2009