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By Jackie Sheehan

Chinese language employees offers the main precise and entire photograph of workers' protest in China to this point and locates their place in the context of chinese language political historical past.

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Extra resources for Chinese Workers: A New History (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia)

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Employers, even after the war, lorded it over the workers in an autocratic manner. They viewed manual labor with disdain and frequently paid wages consistent more with their feelings than with the value of output. Some employers imperiously imposed penalties and humiliations which the workers, lacking the usual peasant reticence and forbearance, reciprocated with nonConfucian abuse. (Friedman 1949:111–12) Better could surely be expected of party personnel, including those in the union hierarchy, but here as well workers did not in practice enjoy particularly exalted status.

Unions would thus on occasion be justified in opposing the administration where its actions infringed on workers’ interests, even though this ultimately meant opposing the party, which appointed and controlled the administration. It was this view which 36 Chinese Workers was criticized in 1953 as ‘a tendency in the trade unions of departing from the leadership of the Party’ (Lai Ruoyu 1953:52). It was not coincidental that the attempts of the top-level ACFTU leadership under Li Lisan to win greater union independence from party control took place at the same time as basic-level unions were taking a more independent line, siding with workers in defence of their interests in the enterprise.

E. that their leaders were corrupt and simply pocketed members’ dues with no intention of using the funds for the benefit of workers, the effect of this sort of conduct on workers’ attitudes towards the new unions can be imagined. These criticisms of unions show how, after a brief initial period in which some union personnel had sided with workers and sought to continue their traditional role as the representative of workers’ interests first and foremost, all union officials were soon pressed towards the other extreme of their remit, almost invariably siding with management and the party against workers.

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