“China on Strike”

Thursday talk focuses on workers’ resistance
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

In 2010, 23-year-old Tan Guocheng, a worker at the Nanhai Honda car plant in southern China, inspired his fellow workers to strike for higher wages.

Shouting “Don't work for such low wages! Don't work for such low wages!” as he hit the emergency stop button, Tan began a 19-day strike that grew to include the factory’s workforce.

Crippling the factory’s production and leading to a rare victory for workers’ rights, the event reflected labor conflict that has erupted from China’s rapid industrialization. Its recounting is part of “China on Strike: Narratives of Workers' Resistance,” which will be discussed at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in ILR’s Kheel Center.

ILR Assistant Professor Eli Friedman, editor of the book’s English translation, will discuss “China on Strike” with Hao Ren , one of the book’s authors.

Drawing on dozens of interviews with Chinese workers who work for companies which supply Apple, Nike and other multinational companies, Ren and co-author Zhongjin Li provide a picture of changing employment relations, worker culture and migration in China.

The book is being published this month by Haymarket Books and is being featured on campus as part of the Cornell Chats in the Stacks series.

The event is free and open to the public. The Kheel Center is adjacent to ILR’s Catherwood Library circulation desk.