Organized Panel Session
This paper explains why Vietnam and China, one-party states that allow only one official trade union, are traversing different paths in terms of their trade unions’ institutional structures, the state’s and trade union’s attitudes toward strikes, willingness to reform their trade unions, and willingness to engage with the international labor union movement. The path dependency of their recent histories have set them on different paths vis-à-vis authoritarianism. Thus, when external contingencies have prompted institutional change, Vietnam and China have recently veered in divergent trajectories—the TPP energizing Vietnam to debate the acceptance of autonomous trade unions, while Xi Jinping in China intensifies Party control over industrial relations and civil society. This paper is based upon research inside both countries.