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Article

21 Dec 2006

Author:
Tim Costello, Brendan Smith, Jeremy Brecher, in Foreign Policy in Focus

Labor Rights in China

A major debate is underway in China on a proposed law that would grant new rights to Chinese workers. The debate has not been widely reported outside of China; until recently it has been almost entirely ignored by media in the United States. But when the Chinese government opened a 30-day public comment period this spring, it received nearly 200,000 comments, the majority from ordinary workers. But some comments also came from big U.S.- and European-based global corporations and their lobbying groups. These powerful forces squarely opposed the new law...Wal-Mart's recent agreement to recognize unions in China has made headlines worldwide. But Wal-Mart and other corporations, including Google, UPS, Microsoft, Nike, AT&T, and Intel, have acted through the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham) and other industry associations to try to block Chinese legislation that would significantly increase the power and protection of workers.

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