China's growth pains

Issue: 118
Posted: 31 March 08

Charlie Hore

This year will see the thirtieth anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s announcement of China’s “Four Modernisations”, the economic reform programme that laid the basis for China’s economic boom. This summer’s Olympic Games, planned to be among the most spectacular ever, will underline the extent to which China has become a major economic and political power. But 2008 may also be the year when the long-predicted recession finally hits world capitalism—and that would have a profound effect on the Chinese economy. One way and another China will be much in the news this year.

One constant theme in that news coverage is the “threat” of China overtaking the US to become the world’s dominant economic power. The most obvious aspect of China’s recent economic growth has been its sheer speed, and it is this that largely fuels the idea of the “threat” (with a barely hidden undercurrent of “yellow peril” racism). However, what has less often been recognised is the unpredictability of China’s economic development. Time and again the direction and pace of China’s economic growth have taken Western capitalists and academics, as well as China’s rulers, by surprise. As the introduction to one academic survey ruefully noted:

Where in 1989 the consensus appeared to urge a policy of rapid privatisation, trade and foreign exchange liberalisation, and rapid stabilisation through drastic cuts in subsidies and the money supply, China’s economic dynamism appeared to result from strategy that ignored such advice.1

In this compendium review of a number of new and recent books on China I aim to do three things: to give an overview of China’s current position in the world economy and how it got there; to look at the limitations and constraints on China’s future growth; and to give a sense of what the past 15 years of breakneck growth have actually meant for peasants and workers in China. Readers should be aware that this is a very small selection of what has been published on contemporary China in the past couple of years. I have chosen these books because I think they are both interesting and accessible accounts of particular aspects of China, and all are worth reading for getting a greater sense of the scale, effects and limitations of China’s growth.

China risen

James Kynge and Ted Fishman are business writers concerned with China as a competitor with Western manufacturers. Their books, China Shakes the World and China, Inc, are both works of reportage, rather than deep analysis, and their treatments of Chinese history are spotty and often inaccurate. But they are worth reading, both for snapshots of China’s industrial growth and for a sense of how China both fascinates and frightens Western capitalism. As Fishman explains:

Since China set about reforming its economy a generation ago, it has grown at an official rate of 9.5 percent. Countries in the early stages of economic reform often come up fast, but not like China. The country is closing in on a 30-year run during which its economy has doubled nearly three times over. The surge has no equal in modern history.2

Both rightly identify exports of manufactured goods to the US as the motor of China’s growth, and Kynge underlines the sheer range involved:

Seventy percent of the world’s photocopiers, 70 percent of its computer motherboards, 55 percent of its DVD players, 30 percent of its personal computers, 25 percent of its TV sets and 20 percent of its car audios—to name but a handful—are made in largely brandless factories.3

Both also acknowledge that foreign investment is central to the expansion of the Chinese economy, and Fishman in particular is good on the manifold contradictions that this poses for US companies. His focus is almost entirely on US-China relations, while Kynge’s book also covers China’s relations with Western Europe. Kynge also gives useful pictures of some of the costs of industrialisation, in particular environmental damage and the conditions of migrant workers

But while both are useful in focusing on the central dynamic of China’s growth, neither book places this in the context of the Chinese economy as a whole. Nor do they really try to explain why China has expanded so fast, beyond suggesting that the “innate” Chinese flair for entrepreneurialism inevitably flourished once state restrictions on private enterprise were lifted.

Interestingly, they do not really argue for Western governments and businesses to do anything in particular about the “threat”—because, they imply, nothing can be done. The books’ subtitles, The Rise of a Hungry Nation and The Relentless Rise of the Next Great Superpower, carry their essential message: China’s sheer size and energy mean that such growth can carry on indefinitely.

Will Hutton’s latest book, The Writing on the Wall (now out in paperback), is in part written as an explicit polemic against such a view. He gives a more rounded view of China’s recent growth than either Kynge or Fishman, in part through crediting three factors which they don’t really acknowledge.

The first is the continuing role of the central and local state. Much writing on China today wrongly assumes that the entire state sector is moribund, and growth only comes from private capital, whether Chinese or foreign. The village industries that powered economic growth through the 1980s, and whose success attracted most of the foreign capital invested in the 1990s, were almost all operated by one level or other of the local state. Privatisation played no part at all in China’s industrial growth before 1997 and is far less important today than usually assumed. Hutton cites a World Bank study from 2001 of enterprises listed on the stock exchange:

At first sight it seemed that the state had relinquished control of more than 90 percent. However, once the labyrinth of the share structure had been unravelled the opposite was the case: the state had de facto control of 84 percent of the listed companies.4

The second is the importance of economic development prior to Deng Xiaoping’s “modernisations”. As he notes, “Today’s China could not have started from nothing in 1978”.5 The economy was not a complete failure under Mao Zedong. There was substantial industrial growth, and both living standards and life expectancy rose substantially after 1949.6 In particular, the decentralisation of industry under Mao was crucial to the growth of village industries in the 1980s.

The third factor highlighted by Hutton is what he calls “a significant element of luck, which has then been cleverly exploited”.7 For instance, he cites the rise of “globalisation” and in particular the outsourcing of industrial production by Western countries, which happened just as China was recovering from the crisis of 1989 and actively seeking foreign investment. “Contingency” might be a better word, but there is no doubt that China’s rulers have been adept at taking their opportunities when they found them—in large part because they have been determinedly pragmatic about how to achieve industrial growth, rather than blinkered by neoliberal ideology. Another factor that Hutton might have mentioned was the ready availability of capital from the Chinese diaspora, both in Hong Kong and in South East Asia, which provided most of the foreign investment before 2002.

The limits to growth

The most valuable parts of Hutton’s book, though, are those where he confronts head-on the arguments about endless growth. It is worth quoting the central passage at some length:

If the current structure of growth continues, by 2020 Chinese exports would constitute nearly $5 trillion, or some 100 percent of its then GDP—and approaching half the likely merchandise exports of the world at that time. Since China’s export growth has mainly been driven by non-Chinese companies, to reach this total we have to suppose that there are sufficient non-Chinese companies with the capacity to transfer production on such a scale to China, and that Western markets have the capacity to absorb such enormous flows of imports… So far, some 400 of the Fortune 500 in the United States and a comparable number of European and Japanese producers have invested in China. In other words, most of those who could move production to China have done so already. Growth projections that extrapolate current trends have to suppose that over the next 15 years Western multinationals in China are going to be able to continue increasing Chinese production and exports at six or seven times the rate of growth of their domestic markets. This is both a mathematical and an economic impossibility.8

And he argues that the same is true for the American market, which simply cannot carry on absorbing Chinese exports at its current rate, because of consumer indebtedness and the size of the US trade deficit.9 This was written before the credit crunch of 2007, sparked by the crisis in the US “subprime” mortgage market, but Hutton’s central point is that saturation point would be reached even without an economic slowdown.

Any slowdown in China would have widespread repercussions across the rest of the world, and in particular South East Asia. The growth of processing and assembly industries has led to a huge rise in imports, as the domestic economy has not been able to supply the necessary parts or materials. So China runs a trade deficit with the rest of the world apart from the US.10 The scale of China’s trade with the US has drawn in many other countries across the region, which now trades as much with China as with the US.11

There is an additional reason why China’s growth cannot simply continue as it has, which Hutton does not really investigate. The export processing industries have operated on the assumption of a bottomless pool of cheap labour from the countryside, which may now be drying up. A 2006 survey by a government research institute found that in 74 percent of the villages surveyed there were “no longer any surplus labourers available to work in distant cities”.12 In the past couple of years seasonal shortages of migrant labourers have led to minimum wage increases in most of China’s coastal provinces, but it now seems as though the problem is a structural one. I will consider workers’ conditions and the possibility of a fightback below.

Unfortunately, Hutton’s book is only in part a polemic against the dominant view of China’s prospects. The useful sections are contained within a rather confusing structure—some chapters read like separate articles which have simply been dropped in—and an overarching polemic in favour of “Enlightenment values”. This leads him to adopt, at times, a simplistic Cold Warrior view of China as “a Communist authoritarian state… If China came shopping for companies and assets in the United States in a major way, the reaction would be ferocious. And, unless China changes, such a reaction would be partly justified”.13

Essentially, the argument is that it was the victory of “Enlightenment values” that led to Western capitalism spreading across the globe in the 19th and 20th centuries. China’s half-turn to the market has allowed it to develop only so far, but state control of the economy now blocks further development. Only if China abolishes Communist Party rule and becomes a genuine democracy can it develop any further.

The argument about the divergent paths of European and Chinese history lies outside the scope of this review, though I will note that Giovanni Arrighi’s recent Adam Smith in Beijing offers a much richer and more stimulating view of this debate than in Hutton’s sketch.14 The argument that China needs to open up politics and society in order to stimulate further economic development is an old one, and fairly definitively refuted by China’s economic progress over the past 30 years. Chinese society has evolved considerably in this period, away from the all-pervasive control and repression of the Maoist era, to allow a considerable degree of economic and social freedom (including, in practice, the right to strike), while keeping political power firmly in the hands of the Communist Party. The model has been the “authoritarian market states” of East Asia, such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, all of which grew rapidly through the 1950s and 1960s by combining state direction of the economy, a dictatorial political regime and lax economic controls on petty capitalism.15 The subsequent arrival of parliamentary democracy in South Korea and Taiwan had far more to do with social movements than any perceived economic bottlenecks, and the state remains a powerful player in both economies.

Indeed, Western capitalism has no intrinsic interest in increasing social and political freedom in China. As Fishman notes, “China is not home to the cheapest workforce in the world… China is the world’s workshop because it sits in a relatively stable part of the globe and offers the world’s manufacturers a reliable, docile and capable industrial workforce, groomed by government enforced discipline”.16 As an illustration of this, when the government first proposed a new labour law giving workers some minimal rights (which came into force on 1 January 2008), it was actively opposed by practically every US company investing in China.17

China’s internal market

When the Chinese economy first opened up to the world market in the early 1980s, the expectation was that this would primarily benefit Western capitalism by opening up a huge consumer market. When this did not happen, the explanation given was “excessive state controls” imposed by the Chinese government. China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001 removed most import restrictions, and an import boom was again anticipated. It is now fairly obvious that the WTO accession made almost no difference to the prospects for Western businesses in China. The books referred to so far make only passing reference to the WTO, but do not really ask where the elusive “Chinese market” went.

One fairly obvious answer is that it was never there. In late 2007 the World Bank announced a new estimate for the size of China’s economy that was 40 percent smaller than previous estimates.18 This was not the first such re-evaluation—in 1998 the World Bank made a similarly huge adjustment.19 In both cases, this was because the World Bank had used a method called “purchasing power parity” (PPP) to work out the size of China’s economy. Essentially, this is an attempt to work out the relative size of national economies by looking at what a unit of the national currency will actually buy, rather than translating local prices into dollars. As such, it has its uses in trying to estimate real wages, but at the scale of a national economy there are far too many variables for it to be any more than computer aided guesswork.20

It is often forgotten that China in 1978 was desperately poor, and part of the reason for the stunning percentage growth figures is precisely that very low starting point. But those growth figures have not been matched by a corresponding increase in the living standards of the mass of Chinese people. Elizabeth Croll, who died tragically young last year, was a sociologist who wrote a number of insightful books about the impact of the economic reforms on everyday life. Her last book, China’s New Consumers is an invaluable, highly detailed study of living standards, showing that the key trait of the past 30 years has been a huge rise in inequality. She quotes a government survey from 2005 showing that the richest 10 percent of China’s population owned 45 percent of the country’s personal wealth, while the poorest 10 percent had just 1.4 percent.21 As she points out:

Chinese society is more accurately represented by an income or wealth pyramid showing a very small minority at the top, the majority at the base and a small and burgeoning middle class sandwiched between. Not only are those between fewer than commonly imagined, but many are more likely to be downwardly than upwardly mobile.22

The crucial gap is still between town and country. The early years of the economic reforms saw a dramatic rise in peasant incomes, but by the mid-1980s this had stalled, and in the 1990s many peasants experienced falling incomes. A 2003 study estimated that over 22 percent of peasants lived below the (very low) government poverty line, and Croll notes that a much greater number, possibly the majority, live only just above this.23 But she adds that there are also huge differences between different regions of China, with rural poverty concentrated in the most remote western provinces.

While urban areas are less poor than the countryside, the gap between rich and poor is greatest in the cities. Despite the emergence of a highly visible Westernised middle class, urban poverty has grown as state-owned industries have closed or shrunk. Croll quotes various estimates of between 9 and 12 percent of urban residents living below the poverty line.24 None of those estimates include the tens of millions of migrant workers. Since the mid-1990s urban incomes, apart from those of the very rich, have grown more slowly, and disposable income has grown slower if at all, as workers have had to meet greatly increased housing and medical costs because of privatisation.

Her conclusion is that “in 2005, it cannot be said that the mass of China’s population have become consumers in the accepted sense and it would be premature to speak of mass demand [or] mass consumption”.25 As the world economy slows down in 2008, more and more economists are looking to China’s growth to offset the start of recession in the West. But as this book suggests, any serious increase in Chinese consumption can only follow real and sustainable increases in workers’ and peasants’ incomes.

Peasant protests

Although most writing on the Chinese economy focuses on industry, there are still some 325 million peasants, and most Chinese still live in the countryside.26 Since the early 1990s there has been a huge upsurge in peasant protests unparalleled since the early 1950s.27 At the root of many of these is a double squeeze—on the one hand stagnant or shrinking incomes, as detailed above, and on the other local officials levying extra taxes and other charges essentially to boost their incomes.

Rightful Resistance in Rural China and Will the Boat Sink the Water? both give accounts of some of these protests, though in very different ways. The first is a mixture of a theoretical intervention into the field of “resistance studies”, pioneered by James C Scott’s Weapons of the Weak, and an account of specific types of peasant struggles. They define “rightful resistance” as villagers “struggling to defend rights they had already been granted, or rights they believed could be derived from the regime’s policies, laws, principles and legitimating ideology”.28 There are clear parallels here with EP Thompson’s concepts of “the moral economy” and “collective bargaining by riot”,29 though the authors exclude violent protests from their analysis.

One crucial point is that local taxes are mostly illegal. From the central government’s point of view, excessive taxes that just pay local officials’ wages are a drain on productive resources, and a disincentive to peasants to stay on the land. The central government’s dilemma in agriculture is that food production per head of population is declining, which adds to import bills and threatens greater inflation in the cities.30

Most of the anti-tax protests described here began with activists publicising central government policies to persuade villagers not to pay. This meant photocopying government documents and reading them out through loudspeakers, or in one case taking over a traditional dragon dance chanting anti-tax messages in rhymed verse as they paraded through the village!31

When this didn’t work (and it usually didn’t), some campaigns folded, but others turned to mobilising much larger numbers of people, either in the village or lobbying the next higher level of government. Numbers were crucial, the authors suggest, quoting a popular rhyme: “A big disturbance leads to a big solution, a small disturbance leads to a small solution, and no disturbance leads to no solution”.32

The idea that “the emperor is fair, but his officials are corrupt” has been around in China for more than 2,000 years, and its usefulness for the central government is obvious. But it’s double-edged—while it can deflect peasant anger, it does nothing to prevent the expressions of that anger. And there is a very interesting discussion of the extent to which activists actually believe it, as opposed to using it as a mobilising tool.

Near the end of the book the authors quote a Chinese researcher suggesting that “since 2001 the focus of rural activism has shifted from tax to land disputes and from central China to more developed coastal areas”.33 More recent protests have posed a greater threat to local officials, as they have often been larger and attracted much more publicity. One example was the 2005 riot in Huaxi, Zhejiang province, where some 20,000 peasants attacked police and local officials at the end of a long campaign against a polluting factory. The village then became a “tourist destination”, with tens of thousands of people coming from nearby towns to learn from the fightback.34 While the particular type of protest that the book focuses on may have waned, it will be both useful and thought provoking for understanding the dynamics of future peasant struggles.

Will the Boat Sink the Water? is utterly different. It is a gritty and often grim series of reports from Anhui province, one of the poorest in central China, which focuses on the greed of local officials and their repression of any opposition. It became an instant best seller when it was first published in China in late 2003, was banned a few months later, and went on to sell millions in pirated editions. It became so popular because of the sheer level of detail that the authors recorded about rural life. In one section, for instance, they try to list all the different taxes that peasants may be subjected to, in a list that goes on for four pages. These include five separate taxes on keeping pigs (which in some villages are charged to everyone, whether they actually own pigs or not), and an “attitude tax”, levied on those who “dare to challenge or resist the tax collector”.35

The level of detail about rural life may make it difficult going for Western readers—as indeed it did for many urban Chinese readers. But it is well worth reading, not least for the powerful sense it gives of why so many peasants leave the village to become migrant workers in the cities and export processing zones. While the numbers going may have peaked, there are still tens of millions of migrants, usually working in insecure and dangerous conditions. This recomposition of the working class is one of the most important developments of the past 20 years.

China’s new (and old) workers

Several hundred million rural dwellers have moved to the cities and the new industrial areas since the early 1990s, in what must be the biggest internal migration in human history, though for many this has been a temporary rather than permanent move. Hutton quotes a recent estimate of 150 million migrants in China’s cities (against an official figure of 112 million),36 but the real figure is unknowable. These migrants have become essential to the new export processing industries of the south eastern coastal provinces, working very long hours in atrocious conditions.37

At the same time, traditional state owned industries have been “restructured” in a process that has made at least 50 million workers (and possibly as many as 80 million) redundant since 1996.38 In large cities such as Beijing or Shanghai the impact of this was softened to some extent by family support and other job opportunities (though usually precarious self-employment). But in China’s hinterland, particularly in the north east where much traditional heavy industry was located, the devastation was much greater, with real unemployment rates of up to 80 percent.39

Both processes have given rise to the biggest upsurge in working class militancy since the 1920s, with some movements of laid-off workers becoming almost insurrectionary.40 Against the Law is, as far as I know, the first book length account of this upsurge. The author draws a clear distinction between two very different sorts of protests: “protests of desperation” in the “rustbelt” (the old industrial areas) and “protests of discrimination” in the “sunbelt” (the new export processing areas).41

In the old industrial areas workers essentially accepted factory closures—there are no recorded instances of factory occupations or work-ins. The protests were over the failure of management or local authorities to pay pensions or other benefits. For the most part, these were restricted to individual workplaces, though she details one important exception, when around 100,000 workers from workplaces across the city of Liaoyang demonstrated after a local politician went on national television to deny the existence of unemployment in the city.42 She concentrates here on protest movements in Liaoning province, though she has written elsewhere in more detail about similar protests elsewhere, which included a number of attempts to form independent unions.43

These protests essentially ended in 2001, in large part because they won substantial national reforms. As she records in another essay, “by 2001, nationwide, 98 percent of pensioners received their pension through the bank rather than through the employer”.44 Using a combination of repression and concessions, the government could (at some considerable cost) bring such movements to an end. They have far greater difficulty in holding down strikes and other forms of workers’ protests in the new industrial areas.

The crucial difference between the two forms of protests is not about defensive versus offensive struggles. The vast majority of struggles in the new industrial areas are defensive, triggered by things like employers’ failure to pay wages, violence against workers and layoffs. The author here concentrates on the city of Shenzhen, on the border with Hong Kong, but it is a reasonable assumption that Shenzhen is typical of other such areas.

As with the peasant struggles against illegal taxes, many workers’ movements start with simply demanding what the law entitles them to. One striker told the author about being drilled by management in advance of an inspection:

Workers were given model answers about the Labour Law and they had to memorise them so that when customers come and ask they will deliver the line, “Five-day work week, eight-hour day, Sunday off, two hours maximum overtime each day and not more than five nights per week. We are all very satisfied with our work schedule.” It’s the first time we learnt the details of the Labour Law and what we were not getting.45

Shenzhen’s development model was once described as one where “capitalism becomes barely distinguishable from piracy”,46 and the author details the many ways in which Shenzhen employers fail to meet even the minimal legal standards laid down by the government. This is not simply a matter of particular capitalists being nasty individuals, but rather a structural fault in the export processing industries. The law is designed to allow for the normal operation of capitalism, both by ensuring that workers receive sufficient wages to reproduce their labour power, and by ensuring that capitalists compete with each other on a level playing field. But because of systematic overproduction and cut-throat competition leading to very low profit rates,47 there is a pressure on all capitalists to lower costs to the absolute minimum.

But while the law promises better, it does not deliver. As the author puts it, “the law both empowers and disenchants migrant workers”,48 because when workers try to get what they see as “justice” through the legal system, they find it is systematically biased against them. She quotes one lawyer specialising in industry cases:

At the end of a court hearing, the judge said to me in public, “Lawyer Zhou, if the court adheres to all the laws and regulations of the provincial government, all these factories would move elsewhere and the local economy would collapse”.49

Strikes, demonstrations and riots usually explode after the legal route has proved to be a failure. Migrant workers have effectively won the right to fight such battles, provided that they are restricted to particular factories, and do not raise political demands or try to organise independent unions. There are some fascinating descriptions of such explosions, though there are only a few glimpses of how these are organised inside the workplaces—a greater focus on the mechanisms behind “spontaneous” outbursts would have sharpened her analysis.

Too many accounts of migrant workers see them as simply the victims of globalisation, and that is where this book is different. While the author is clear-sighted about the many obstacles to organisation, and the numerous divisions between different groups of workers, she balances these against the real victories that have been won, and the capacity of workers to transcend their divisions.

Conclusion

Over the past 15 years the exceptionally dynamic growth of the Chinese economy has tied both China and Eastern Asia into an excessive dependency on the American economy. But it has also tied the US and Western Europe into a very particular dependency on China. While cheap imports have helped both the US and Europe to sustain shallow growth, China’s boom has not stabilised world capitalism—quite the reverse. China’s arrival as a major economic power has only increased the volatility and unpredictability of the world economy.

Inside China, too, greater dynamism has led to greater instability. Worker and peasant protest movements have multiplied as the economy has grown, reflecting both greater confidence and the fact that promises of prosperity have not been kept. This is not an inevitable upward trend—strikes and protest movements are rooted in very specific grievances, are usually quite isolated and die away as they are either repressed or achieve partial victories. But the cumulative effect is important. Workers and peasants have won greater space to resist than at any time since the 1920s, and the spread of television, mobile phones and the internet means that millions of people can quickly learn about particular struggles. Globalisation cuts both ways.


Notes

1: Walder, 1996, p vii.

2: Fishman, 2006, pp12-13 (emphasis in original).

3: Kynge, 2007, p160.

4: Hutton, 2007, p146.

5: Hutton, 2007, p90.

6: Mackerras, 2001, pp203-205 and 222. Gittings, 2005, is the best general book to read on China under Mao, though see Hore, 2006, for a more critical perspective.

7: Hutton, 2007, p96.

8: Hutton, 2007, p31.

9: Hutton, 2007, pp335-342.

10: www.uschina.org/statistics/tradetable.html

11: Fishman, 2006, p190. See also Harman, 2006, for a very good summary of the faultlines in the Chinese and US economic relationship.

12: www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/IF19Cb01.html

13: Hutton, 2007, p232.

14: Arrighi, 2007.

15: See Harris, 1987.

16: Fishman, 2006, p7.

17: www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3824

18: “China, India economies ‘40% smaller’”, Financial Times, 18 December 2007, available from www.ft.com. My thanks to Chris Harman for this reference.

19: Studwell, 2003, p162.

20: Studwell, 2003, pp158-165, provides a cogent critique of this PPP methodology, though without proposing an alternative.

21: Croll, 2006, p314.

22: Croll, 2006, p22.

23: Croll, 2006, p137.

24: Croll, 2006, p123.

25: Croll, 2006, p317.

26: www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Key_Indicators/2007/pdf/PRC.pdf

27: For a longer description of these and further references see Hore, 2004.

28: O’Brien and Liangjiang Li, 2006, p xii.

29: For these, see Thompson, 1993, especially chapter 4.

30: In January 2008 the government was forced to revive price controls on basic foodstuffs to try to curb very high levels of inflation. See “Govt Intervenes To Curb Price Rises”, China Daily, 17 January 2008, available from www.chinadaily.com.cn

31: O’Brien and Liangjiang Li, 2006, p70.

32: O’Brien and Liangjiang Li, 2006, p62.

33: O’Brien and Liangjiang Li, 2006, p114.

34: http://zonaeuropa.com/20050601_1.htm and (for the tourists) http://zonaeuropa.com/20050416_2.htm. A report on thousands rioting in the south western province of Chongqing suggests this is not limited to the coastal provinces-see “Thousands Protest At Land Seizures”, the Standard, 6 July 2007, available from www.thestandard.com.hk

35: Chen and Wu, 2006, pp151-155.

36: Hutton, 2007, p116.

37: One excellent early account of the reality of such work is in Chan, 2001.

38: See Fishman, 2006, p74, and Croll, 2006, pp110-113.

39: Most accounts of China’s “economic miracle” simply ignore the north east. For a rare exception see Becker, 2000, pp138-148.

40: For previous coverage of these movements in this journal, see Hore, 2004, and Gilbert, 2005.

41: Ching Kwan Lee, 2007a, p9.

42: Ching Kwan Lee, 2007a, pp106-111.

43: See Ching Kwan Lee, 2003.

44: Ching Kwan Lee, 2007b, p21.

45: Ching Kwan Lee, 2007a, p170.

46: Becker, 2000, p74.

47: See Harman, 2006, for a discussion of this often overlooked facet of China’s new industrialisation.

48: Ching Kwan Lee, 2007a, p199.

49: Ching Kwan Lee, 2007a, p186.


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