2017: China's Workers

China - Arbeiter
Quelle: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 15 | Issue 24 | Number 3 | Dec 14, 2017
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

China's Workers and the Emerging Intern Class
Michelle Chen

Every day, the ranks of China’s young workforce bubble with bright minds, a cosmopolitan vanguard, striving for a piece of the coveted “Chinese dream”— that level of technical and professional jobs and economic security never known to their parents’ generation. But every day the race for Asia’s globalization miracle masks a shadow labor market that uses the education system to exploit a hyper-competitive youth labor market, under crushing pressure to achieve middleclass status.

In September 2017, youth activists in Hong Kong launched a campaign to expose one facet of this growing phenomenon of youth in precarious manufacturing work: the labor advocacy group Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) called out one cutting-edge tech brand for perpetuating exploitative labor practices in its supply chains in China. The group’s investigation into the Quanta Chongqing factory—a mega-industrial facility in one of China's rapidly developing inland cities, which Beijing has been promoting as rising global export hubs—revealed a small army of young laborers. Although these student workers were, on paper, described as temporary interns, presumably apprenticing for skilled positions in electronics—they hardly matched the international profile of China’s best and brightest marching toward technological progress: rather, they were, according to a recent research investigation, often engaged in the grudge work of neoliberal capital, toiling as many as 12 hours a day, sometimes overnight, without the standard labor protections afforded to regular workers and in gross violation of China’s regulations for protecting student interns. ...

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