State Channeling of Labor Conflict in China

Project: Research

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This project examines the state channeling of labor protests in China. As a result of the transition to market economy, labor disputes have risen sharply over the last twenty-five years in China. While many such disputes are handled through established legal channels, large scale public protests have become increasingly common, threatening social stability and sustainable economic growth.The current literature has primarily focused on the behavior and strategy of the protestors. Consequently, little is known about the internal functioning and operational patterns of the court and other state institutions in responding to such conflicts. This project aims to expand the researchers' preliminary research on labor conflict to five places with representative profiles of different state resources and causes of labor protest. Through systematically and empirically examining how local courts and the state behind them handle labor conflict in these places, this project will document variations of the state responses, identify their respective characteristics, and explore their underlying causes.The findings of this project will demonstrate the operational patterns of the court and the state when facing labor protest and what role the Chinese judiciary has played in this process. They will shed light on general theories of law and development and rule of law promotion efforts, including judicial independence and a full panoply of labor rights, based on current standards in economically advanced countries in Euro-America. They will also shed light on the evolving relationship between state and society in China, and the challenges and opportunities for political reform, including increased public participation and political accountability, and rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary.


Project number9041512
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/09/0928/05/13