Thursday, June 22, 2006

Salon's "How the World Works"

China Law Blog beat me to it, but I've been meaning to mention Salon's Andrew Leonard, and his "How the World Works" column on globalization for some time now. Leonard studied Chinese and lived in Taiwan a while, and many of his pieces focus on China. This latest is a great example of Leonard's succinct yet informative style:
A comprehensive reform of China's labor laws is on its way to the Chinese People's Congress. It is not yet complete, but if enacted into anything close to its current form -- and enforced -- the bill would substantially increase worker's rights in China. For starters, under the new "Labor Contract Law" workers would be harder to fire and, if laid off, would receive greater severance pay. Safety and workplace inspections would be bolstered. Employers would be forced to consult with trade unions over proposed job cuts. Overtime pay would be increased, and a shorter work week enforced.

Such a law would be great news not just for China's laborers, but for workers everywhere. It could stand as an example to other developing nations. It could signal to the developed world that the global economy is not an inevitable race to the bottom. It would be a clear sign of progress for China.

So how did the Times (of London) present the news?

The headline: "Foreign investors may quit if China tightens up labor law."
Go read the rest; it's short and well-worth it.

Oh, and consider this a second plug for China Law Blog as well, which I find consistently informative.

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