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Citing rights groups, VOA News stated that beginning August 2023, labour protests in China have rapidly increased.

The founder and executive director of China Labour Watch, Li Qiang, stressed that the rise in labour demonstrations is being influenced not only by China’s economic recession but also by factors like the “implosion” of the real estate sector and a decline in manufacturing.

According to the China Dissent Monitor, a project of the international rights organisation Freedom House, which is based in New York and follows protests in China, labour protests more than tripled in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Analysts claim that China’s persistent economic problems and subpar working conditions are the causes of the unrest.

Between September and December 2023, there were 777 labour demonstrations in China according to the China Dissent Monitor, compared to 245

China worker Watch founder and executive director Li Qiang, of New York, said in an email to VOA News that “China’s high-level economic problems ultimately set the foundation of the increase in labour protests this year.” He continued, “Due to the decrease of manufacturing orders, among other things, a lot of companies face financial challenges that trickle down to workers.”

According to Slaten, protests by construction workers are particularly likely given the significant challenges the Chinese real estate industry is facing, most notably the bankruptcy of major property developer Evergrande Group.

Slaten said, “China’s relative economic slowdown and particularly an ongoing crisis in the property sector and its impact on construction workers is contributing to this surge in labour dissent.”

China State Councillor Shen Yiqin in 2023

“During that period, I had no living expenses for several months, and my boss wouldn’t lend me any money,” Ma recalled in an interview with VOA Mandarin. Ma continued, “I didn’t even have money to buy basic daily necessities such as toilet paper and toothpaste.”

Li claimed that the lack of funds in local governments prevents them from helping migrant workers. Li noted that “In the past, the Chinese government has been investing capital annually to alleviate companies’ liquidity pressure and reduce the overall number of wage arrears towards the end of the year,” according to VOA News.

Furthermore, they would bolster the execution of their surveillance system in order to counter labor-related conflicts. However, things have changed this year as the Chinese government, particularly at the local level, challenges

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