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Friday, December 17, 2004

Something's happening in China...


IT would appear that China is starting to get an education in obstruction to production. As the Mainland takes on more foreign investment and enterprises in an effort to grow their economy so comes an unexpected passenger to their soil; human aspiration.

Human aspiration doesn’t play well with unfair wages, hostile work conditions and child labor. The tinge of "Democracy" has a tendency to get folks thinking about their personal future. The next thing you know they are setting goals, and wondering why they don’t have the same opportunities available to them, that other folks have.

China relies on cheaper production when competing with the rest of the world’s economic powerhouses. So, you can understand why this would be of concern.



In China, yearnings for unions stir
By Howard W. French The New York Times


Since Friday, though, work has stopped inside the factory here, where 12,000 workers, mostly young women from China's poor interior provinces, make wireless phones, which Uniden, the Japanese manufacturer that runs the plant, supplies in large number to the giant U.S. retailer Wal-Mart.
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China's laws tightly proscribe public demonstrations, so the women found another way to vent their anger over their wages, and what they said were many other abusive work conditions. They met secretly to draw up a list of demands, and then walked off the job.


I have always wondered how a Communist country could just go “a little bit Democratic” in the interest of “Capitalism.” It is a concept that makes about as much sense as “a little bit pregnant.” Now it would appear as if the Western Providences (which have been decimated continuously by drought and misfortune) are starting to understand the concept of succeeding in life. This is not good news for Old China. This is not good news for the Eastern Provinces. It is good news, however, for those economies in direct competition with China. And, it’s good news for those oppressed in Mainland China.

In China, yearnings for unions stir (continued)

Meanwhile, the work stoppage was continuing, and plainclothes security agents milled outside the plant. As soon as a foreigner began taking photographs, they called the police.
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Analysts of China's labor scene say strikes like this are becoming far more common as younger migrant workers exposed to the wealth of China's relatively rich eastern cities grow increasingly angry over what many see as their exploitation. Although few are unionized, communication and coordination among them is growing, often through the sending of coded messages to each other by cellphone.
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"The migrant workers have learned to protest with their feet, they are more capable of negotiating, and they can choose not to work," said Liu Kaiming, who studies conditions of migrant workers in Guangdong Province. "That has especially been true recently, with a lot of the migrant workers who were born in the 1980s entering the workforce. They've had a better education, they're young and emotional, and they've been emboldened by media reports about their conditions to demand their rights."

Unions did have a more prominent and necessary purpose in the US prior to the following legislation that, basically, protects workers from those very issues that China's workers face now. It's interesting, in comparison, how the US is nearly five decades ahead of China in that regard. They have some expensive and economy nulifying lessons just on their horizon.

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