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All-China Federation of Trades Unions beyond reform?: the slow march of direct elections

Howell, Jude A. (2008) All-China Federation of Trades Unions beyond reform?: the slow march of direct elections. China Quarterly, 196. pp. 845-863. ISSN 0305-7410

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S030574100800115X


Since the mid-1990s trade union leaders in Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shandong and other coastal provinces have been quietly introducing direct elections for grassroots trade union cadres, in order to nurture a stratum of grassroots trade union cadres who prioritize workers’ interests. Yet these elections have not been generalized across the country, been institutionalized through legislation or drawn droves of international observers in the way that village elections did in the 1980s and 1990s. What might have promised to be China’s ‘‘second silent revolution’’ has failed to take off. This article explores the political, structural and institutional reasons behind the piecemeal and slow spread of direct basic union elections in China. In doing so it analyses the parameters constraining the reform of the All-China Federation of Trades Unions in the direction of a more effective, worker-oriented organization.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 The China Quarterly
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2009 16:48
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 18:18
Funders: DFID

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