Organized Panel Session
This panel seeks to compare the changing labor relations under China’s and Vietnam’s market socialism. While retaining a one party system and state corporatist structure, the two countries have abandoned a planned economy and are now the fastest growing economies in East Asia. Both economies have relied on foreign direct investment, labor-intensive export oriented industries, and the supply of cheap and unorganized labor that has faced unfair treatment. Against this political, economic, and social backdrop, this panel discusses the extent to which labor relations, labor migration, and labor activism in China and Vietnam are different or similar, and what factors have caused these differences or similarities.
The panel consists of three papers, which have been developed out of a joint research project conducted from 2015 to 2018 by six scholars from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and the United States, each of whom conducted research inside both countries. Our research group includes both early career and late career scholars. We have interviewed over 200 informants, including trade unionists, factory managers, workers, government officials, and labor NGO staffers in China and Vietnam. Anita Chan’s paper focuses on trade unions in the two countries; a paper by Kaxton Siu and Jonathan Unger investigates and compares the conditions and strategies of migrant workers and their families in both countries; and Elaine Hui’s coauthored paper explores labor strikes in both countries that demanded protection of pensions.
William Hurst has agreed to Chair the panel. Dorothy Solinger and Mark Sidel will be discussants of the papers.