Labour Regulation in East Asia: China

Centre Member: Sean Cooney
Centre Associates: Ying Zhu and Sarah Biddulph

This project is a development of earlier ARC-funded research conducted by S. Cooney, J. Murray and R. Mitchell on 'Rethinking International Labour Standards in the Asia-Pacific'. A major issue that emerged from the work was the enforcement of domestic and international labour law in developing countries such as China. Many developing countries have labour laws that on paper are comprehensive and reflect international standards (with exceptions in the area of freedom of association). However, it is notorious that these laws are widely ignored. This project investigates systematically the reasons for implementation failures. It examines the scope for greater coordination and systematisation of domestic enforcement measures. In 2006 Sean Cooney was awarded a Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council for further work in this area, together with Dr Sarah Biddulph of the Asian Law Centre (Melbourne Law School) and Centre Associate Ying Zhu. Field work on the project was carried out in 2007 and 2008 with visits to officials, firms and academics in Beijing, Nanjing, Shenzhen and Shantou.