Labour activism beyond the law
in China’s citizenship challenge
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This chapter demonstrates that NGOs’ demands revolving around labour cannot be divorced from wider citizenship rights, such as the right to voice, assembly, striking, recognition, representation and political participation. It does so by presenting three further acts: ‘educating beyond rights’, ‘advocating and petitioning’ and ‘claiming rights’ (to independent labour representation, collective bargaining and strikes). These acts are not performed through state-defined legal channels, and instead seek to transform the law itself. The chapter argues that while the activism of NGOs performed around labour affects the citizenship structure in a variegated way, some NGOs recognise citizenship transformation as a precondition to successfully tackling labour issues in China.

China’s citizenship challenge

Labour NGOs and the struggle for migrant workers’ rights

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