China’s workers

As a journalist with the South China Morning Post in Beijing in the 1990s, I often wrote about workers, trade unions and labour conditions in China. It was also at this time that I met Han Dongfang, the formerly imprisoned labour activist who would go on to found China Labour Bulletin, a non-governmental labour rights organization based in Hong Kong, dedicated to supporting the workers’ movement in China.

In 2007, after a decade away from China, I returned to Hong Kong and joined CLB as the organization’s English-language website editor. I initially signed up for three years but ended up working at CLB for 14 years before my retirement as communications director in September 2021.

Initially, we had a very small team in place with a limited website output and no social media presence. But the organization steadily expanded, and, over the years, I have been privileged to work with many talented and dedicated writers, researchers and activists from mainland China, Hong Kong and abroad who have created a vast array of material for the website and social media platforms in China and internationally.

CLB has produced dozens of dual-language research reports and several thousand news articles, commentaries and case studies, often in collaboration with our partners in mainland China and the Global South. In addition, we created extensive online databases of worker activism and work accidents in China, which have now been replicated in several other countries.

CLB is widely acknowledged as the definitive source of information and analysis of the workers’ movement in China, and is regularly quoted by the international media, academic researchers and commentators, and even by China Central Television’s premier English-language news programme, which covered the wave of labour unrest sweeping China in 2014.

I am very proud of what we have created and achieved at CLB, and it is impossible to single out any particularly illustrative or outstanding examples of our work. I encourage readers to browse the website and discover the resources for themselves. Here, I will just link to the last article I wrote for CLB, looking back over my years dedicated to China’s workers.