Publication Details

Cheng, Z. (2012). The changing pattern of state workers' labour resistance in Shaanxi Province, China. Communication, Politics and Culture, 45 (2), 197-216.


State workers in China have been suffering multiple negative shocks due to state sector reforms and massive lay-offs since the 1990s. One of their responses has been to engage in conventional forms of rightful resistance to assert their rights and benefits. The recent development of such labour resistance, however, has been less studied. This paper examines the recent collective rights action among state workers in Shaanxi province to examine the evolving pattern of resistance that changed from relatively non-threatening to radical, and from offline to a mixture of real-life and cyberspace actions. Because the recent movements directly challenged the authoritarian power of the agencies of the ruling party, local authorities have not tolerated the rights action as they had previously, but have suppressed resistance. The findings add to the body of knowledge regarding the changing relationship between the state and workers, and the interplay between traditional resistance politics and emerging cyberspace activism in transitional China.

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