||Independent Chinese workers’ organizations took a leading role in the 1989 Democracy Movement. They also suffered heavily for their political dissent in the crackdown that followed, but attempts to form independent trade unions have continued into the 1990s. Jackie Sheehan traces the background and development of workers’ clashes with the Chinese Communist Party through mass campaigns such as the 1956–7 Hundred Flowers movement, the Cultural Revolution, the April Fifth movement of 1976, Democracy Wall and the 1989 Democracy Movement. The author provides the most detailed and complete picture of workers’ protest in China to date and locates their position within the context of Chinese political history.
Chinese Workers demonstrates that the image of Chinese workers as politically conformist and reliable supporters of the Communist Party does not match the realities of industrial life in China. Recent outbreaks of protest by workers are less of a departure from the past than is generally realized.