Suicide as Protest for the New Generation of Chinese Migrant Workers


 

To die is the only way to testify that we ever lived
Perhaps for the Foxconn employees and employees like us 
– we who are called nongmingong, rural migrant workers, in China —
the use of death is simply to testify that we were ever alive at all, 
and that while we lived, we had only despair.
– a worker blog (after the 12th jump at Foxconn)

 
Introduction

Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, better known by its trade name Foxconn, is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, meaning that it makes most of its money as a made-to-order manufacturer, not by selling its own brand products. The company is poised to take in over 50 percent of global electronics manufacturing service industry revenue by 2011. Under the leadership of founder and CEO Terry Gou, Foxconn declares itself “the most trusted and preferred partner in all aspects of global electronics outsourcing to help customers de-risk their business.” Tragically, in the first five months of 2010, 13 young workers attempted or committed suicide at the two Foxconn production facilities in Shenzhen City in southeastern China, bringing a public relations crisis, and a crisis of corporate responsibility, to Foxconn’s image-conscious customers, including Apple, HP, Dell, IBM, Samsung, Nokia, Hitachi and other electronic giants. Ten Chinese migrant workers died, while three survived their injuries. All were between 17 and 25 years old — in the prime of youth. Their loss should awaken Chinese and international society to reflect upon the costs of a development model that sacrifices dignity for economic growth and profit.

Foxconn’s success testifies to the export-led dynamism of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone under China’s open policy. In the over twenty years since its initial investment in 1988, Foxconn has become China’s largest exporter. The electronics maker has a 900,000-strong workforce in the country, 85 percent of whom are young people from rural areas. We may say that Foxconn is a microcosm of the conditions that dominate the lives of Chinese migrant workers. When Time magazine nominated workers in China as the runners-up in the 2009 Person of the Year, the editor commented that Chinese workers have brightened the future of humanity by “leading the world to economic recovery.” The new generation of Chinese migrant workers, however, perceive themselves as losing their futures. The Foxconn tragedy has been dubbed the “suicide express” by Chinese media.

We can interpret Foxconn employees as having killed themselves to protest a global labor regime in which China provides the cutting edge. Under the reform and open-door policy, Asian-invested enterprises and domestic manufacturers have risen quickly to become contractors and sub-contractors to Western multinationals, based on the exploitation of low-paid migrant workers. On the factory floor, work stress associated with the just-in-time production mode is intense. Suicide is merely the extreme manifestation of what migrant workers in their hundreds of millions experience. Some suicides may have been triggered by personal troubles, as Foxconn management would like to claim. But there is a broader social context shared by its workers and many others that underlies these desperate individual actions.

This article reviews the recent Foxconn suicides as a means to probe the working lives of the new generation of Chinese migrant workers. We share the vision of the Chinese and international scholars who signed an unprecedented letter of concern about the Foxconn victims in June 2010 calling for implementation of humane labor standards at Foxconn and other global workplaces. We draw on worker interviews from our off-site investigations at Foxconn facilities in southern and eastern China that began in May 2010 in order to learn about their conditions. We have also gained insights from industry and government sources about the characteristics and changing worldviews of younger workers from their predecessors. By providing an inside look at the global labor regime, through empirical study of the Foxconn labor system in China, we highlight the urgent need for progressive reforms.

The Foxconn human tragedy raises profound concerns about the sustainability of Chinese development and global production. At the heart of the bigger problem is that workers in China do not have a functioning labor union to make their voices heard and defend their rights. On the bottom rung of the international commodity supply chain, millions of Chinese migrant workers are permanently deprived of decent wages and benefits. Young workers with rural origins (hukou, official household registration), like their parents, are marginalized citizens. These better-educated-youths long for a life attuned to the times, and the city is where everything is happening. The higher their aspirations for a better future, the more obvious the contrast to their harsh reality becomes. Through various forms of protest, of which suicide is the most desperate expression, they are trying to reclaim their rights and dignity.

Global Labor Regime

At a communal setting in a workers’ dormitory in Shenzhen, China’s fastest growing city with a 2008 population officially estimated at 14 million, we were surrounded by Foxconn workers who were chatting and watching a TV soap opera at the grocery store in the summer of 2010. It was an open area where young rural migrant workers, most without a family, spent their limited leisure. The factory compound was gated and inside the gate, more than ten dormitory buildings were situated to the south of the company’s production facilities. Outside, more than 50,000 workers have occupied every single village house, turning them into collective dormitories. The newly industrialized towns and cities in China feature numerous collective dormitories where a five-storey building can house several hundred workers. On windy nights, the clothes of the workers in the dormitory corridors flew like colorful multinational flags. These were the flags of the new Chinese working class, symbolizing the borderless flow of capital and the wretched of the socialist earth.

Chinese wages

China’s wage competitiveness is both the attraction for international and domestic capital and the outcome of government policies. Between the mid-1980s and 2004, laborers from remote rural areas left for more prosperous coastal towns and cities to find work through historic native-place networks. Meanwhile, local governments encouraged rural labor to move to urban-industrial districts, further draining better-educated and able-bodied young people. Under this dichotomized rural and urban social structure, Chinese industrial wages have remained very low, and it was not until 2005-06 that any significant increase occurred. Chinese migrant workers have been incorporated within a global industrial labor regime.

Based on government statistics, the labor income share of China’s GDP declined from 56.5 percent in 1983 to 36.7 percent in 2005; by contrast, many OECD countries maintained the ratio of labor returns to GDP at 60 percent or more for the comparable period. If wages, particularly wages of rural migrants have remained low, corporate profits in China have increased rapidly, growing by 20 percent between 1978 and 2005, the sole exception being the recession accompanying the 1997-1998 Asian financial and currency crisis. 

The government of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao has enacted several relief measures targeting the peasantry and rural migrant labor. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security implemented the Provisions on the Minimum Wage on 1 March 2004 in an attempt to strengthen the protection offered to workers. In June 2007, the government promulgated the Labor Contract Law to protect workers’ legitimate right to wages, benefits, welfare, and employment security. Scholars have called the law the most significant piece of Chinese labor legislation in more than a decade. This year, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council jointly issued the “No.1 Central Document” calling for better coordination of rural and urban reforms, which highlighted the needs of the new generation of migrant workers. These rebalancing efforts across different government levels, coupled with workers’ spontaneous protests, have had some impact on both rural incomes and migrant wages.

But the global financial crisis, resulting in the failure of tens of thousands of factories in late 2008 and early 2009, hit migrant workers particularly hard. The vulnerability of a Chinese economic model that remains heavily dependent on exports was starkly revealed. China and its trading partners are trapped in the vicissitudes of unstable international markets.

New-generation of Chinese migrant workers

Rural migrant workers are the mainstay of China’s industrial workforce. The number of migrant workers reached nearly 230 million in 2009, up 1.9 percent from the previous year. A subgroup of 145 million migrant workers had employment outside their home villages and towns, up 3.5 percent year-on-year. Of this migrant group, a majority (61.6 percent) is between 16 and 30 years of age, with 42 percent under age 25. Most of the 100 million new-generations of Chinese migrant workers — aged 23 on average — are unmarried; and, with financial and social difficulties, these younger migrants have serious problems in getting married, raising children, building homes in the city, and supporting their village families.

Young rural migrant workers are facing a huge discrepancy between their expectations and reality, and between the returns to their labor and the gains made by better paid urban workers, professionals, and government employees. The Shenzhen Municipal Trade Union and Shenzhen University, drawing on a survey of 5,000 young migrant workers in Shenzhen city during April and June 2010, found that the respondents’ average monthly wage was only 1,839 yuan (US$267) — less than half (47 percent) the amount Shenzhen resident employees get. This sum, including a basic wage and hard-earned overtime premiums, scarcely covers minimal, “extra” expenses for study or leisure. As holders of rural household registration status, young migrants share deep anxieties over employment and frustrations about their future that are a product of being permanently locked into minimum wage jobs with few benefits or rights.

Between March and May 2010, the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) investigated the social and economic conditions of young migrant workers in 10 cities in Guangdong, Fujian, Shandong, Liaoning, and Sichuan provinces. Their report concluded that “the post-80s generation” is different from their parents or the older working migrants with regard to their demand for decent working conditions. These children of the reform era have grown up. They came from rural areas with aspirations of living the Chinese dream in the city. Some young people were raised in urban settings when they followed their families on the move during childhood, that is, they are second generation urban dwellers, yet their formal residence remains in the village. A larger number left their villages or towns immediately after finishing school to seek urban jobs.

Nationally, the 2009 official data showed that 65.1 percent of the rural migrant population was male. While gender segmentation in the labor market is persistent, young single women and increasingly men are recruited in export factories where demand for unskilled, low-cost laborers grows. The ACFTU researchers found that the new generation of migrant workers is becoming more concerned about the overall working environment — wages and benefits as well as opportunities for self-development.

Young migrants are increasingly aware of equality and rights, and have higher expectations of getting fair work opportunities, labor and social welfare, and other basic public services. This is partly explained by their higher educational qualifications. Of the 145.33 million migrant workers, based on the 2009 data, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) of those between 21 and 25 years of age hold high school diplomas or degrees.  A 2007 China Youth and Children Research Center report, based on a survey of 4,673 young migrant workers employed in four sectors — construction in Beijing City, mining in Tangshan City, manufacturing in Shandong Province, and services in Chengdu City — reflected the respondents’ wish to equip themselves with specialized knowledge and skills (69.7 percent), legal training (54.7 percent), and cultural learning (47.8 percent).

Those classified as migrant workers, including second generations living and working in cities, are categorically treated as part of the rural population, even though they work and live in the urban areas, some for many years. Their legitimate rights are not effectively protected: the ACFTU study found that only 34.8 percent are provided with basic medical care, 21.3 percent pension insurance, and just 8.5 percent are eligible for unemployment benefits. Factory owners, often protected by local labor authorities and judicial departments, frequently neglect legal responsibilities for employees. Chinese Labor Law, often honored in the breach, requires not only 100 percent full coverage on all three types of social insurance but also mandatory protection and benefits for work injuries, occupational diseases, and child-birth (Article 73). Collaboration between the local state and factory management, however, allows many companies to evade their legal responsibilities to labor.

The global labor regime is rooted in the deprivation of migrant workers’ labor and citizenship rights.

Foxconn: “The Electronics Workshop of the World”

From the early 1990s, Foxconn set up more than 40 manufacturing facilities and R&D centers in Asia, Russia, Europe, and the Americas. Since 2003, the Taiwan-based company has been China’s biggest exporter. Despite the sharp contraction of American and European demand for consumer electronics during the recent economic downturn, Foxconn generated US$59.3 billion in revenue in 2009, a slight drop in sales of 4.1 percent from the previous year. By the end of the first six months in 2010, Foxconn’s sales had jumped 48 percent from a year earlier to NT$1.2 trillion (US$37.43 billion) and net income increased 22 percent to NT$34.7 billion (US$1.08 billion). 

Foxconn possesses a large team of engineers and marketing managers to serve its worldwide client base. The company ranked 112th by annual revenue in the Fortune Global 500 in 2010 — larger than some of the companies for which it manufactures products such as Microsoft, Nokia, Dell, Apple, Cisco Systems, Intel, or Motorola. 

The growth in earnings of Foxconn, however, is not comparable to that of leading brands such as Apple. Based on market capitalization, in May 2010 Apple (at US$237 billion) overtook Microsoft (at US$221 billion) as the global number one in the technology industry. 

Foxconn production in China

Foxconn has taken advantage of China’s macroeconomic policies to expand. The company operates facilities in four strategic geographic regions across the country: the Pearl River Delta (including Shenzhen), the Yangtze River Delta (including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Nanjing,), the Bohai Gulf area of North China (including Beijing, Tianjin, Taiyuan and Shenyang), and central and western cities (including Chongqing, Chengdu and Wuhan). 

While the Chinese government froze minimum wages throughout 2009 in response to the economic crisis, since early 2010, a number of cities and provinces have raised minimum wages from 10 to 30 percent. Rather than a national minimum wage, there is a checkerboard of city and provincial minimum wages. Interestingly, Beijing and Tianjin retain minimum wages well under those for Shenzhen and Shanghai, while inland cities such as Chengdu, Zhengzhou and Chongqing bid for investment with minimum wages that are far lower. Migrant labor shortage in the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta has spurred higher wages as the area competes for labor. Investors like Foxconn find inland cities increasingly attractive as they offer cheaper land and improved infrastructure with lower wages and social insurance costs than the coastal regions that initially led export-oriented growth.

Effective 1 July 2010, Foxconn’s adjusted base pay is only 9 percent higher than the legal minimum level of 1,100 yuan in Shenzhen city. Still, this meager pay raise for its 450,000 employees — half of the company’s workforce — led cost-sensitive Foxconn corporate directors and shareholders to accelerate the pace of factory relocation. At the same time, facing growing consumer and public outcry, Foxconn announced a second pay raise for “qualified” workers up to 2,000 yuan (US$293) a month, effective 1 October. Senior management, however, has refused to disclose the details of the three-month review which could allow some workers to earn higher pay. As yet there is no indication of how many workers will eventually benefit from the wage policy.  What is clear is that Foxconn is rapidly moving production to inland cities and to the north to save on costs and to tap new business opportunities.

Young Workers: Struggling Inside “Foxconn City”

By the end of May, 12 Foxconn workers had jumped or fallen to their deaths and the 13th jumper, a 25-year-old worker, slit his wrists after being stopped from jumping from a dormitory. Given recent events, the term used to refer to employees, “the people of Foxconn” or fu kang ren, rings with dark irony as the Chinese, literally translated, means “wealthy” and “healthy” people.

Foxconn publicized visits by psychologists with the dismissive suggestion that the number of suicides at its two Shenzhen workplaces is below the national level, in an insensitive attempt both to evade responsibility and to hide the problem. No genuine scientific study would base itself on such a comparison which leaves out of consideration that the Foxconn suicides were of young people employed in the city. Nor would it consider it the “norm” that Chinese workers commit suicide to fight terrible working conditions.

Outsourcing, Apple profits, and low wages

From the perspective of supply chain purchasing power, leading international brands have tremendous influence over their contractors. Thus far, however, we find that Apple and other global companies are squeezing suppliers worldwide with little concern for the effects of their actions on the people who produce their products. Apple has reportedly expanded and diversified its Asian manufacturing investment. Industry analysts estimate that the operating profit margins among major electronics suppliers were at best 4 to 5 percent on average in 2007. By product segment, competition for orders is expected to further lower notebook makers’ gross margins in 2011 from the already low level of 4 percent in 2010.

Foxconn assembles best-selling hand-held mobile devices for Apple like iPods, the iPhone 4, and iPads. According to market research firm iSuppli, the part-and-component cost of a 16Gbyte version iPhone 4 is US$187.5, less than one-third (31.3 percent) of the selling price of US$599. It is estimated that Apple commands gross margins in the range of 50 percent on the iPhone, compared to 20 percent to 40 percent for competitor products.

Apple rides high-margin hardware to market supremacy, taking the lion’s share of the profit. The iPad went on sale on 3 April 2010. In June, Apple announced that it had sold 3 million iPads in the 80 days after its introduction in the United States. iSuppli analyzed that the manufacturing cost of an Apple iPad is only US$9, or 1.8 percent of the lowest-priced US$499 iPad, and that the cost of materials is estimated at US$250.6, or 50.2 percent of the retail price. With less than 2 percent of the cost of the cheapest iPad per unit going to a manufacturer, Foxconn production workers get even less.

In outsourcing production, Apple is the most profitable of the top technology firms. For its fiscal 2010 third quarter, Apple posted all-time record revenues of US$15.7 billion, with a fat gross margin at 39.1 percent.

Apple is now trying to get its white models of iPhone 4 out to the market without delay, while keeping up with the availability of black models. This drive for productivity and quality leads to constant pressure on Foxconn workers. To secure contracts, Foxconn minimizes costs, and transfers the pressure of low profit margins to frontline workers.

Foxconn employees experience long hours of repetitive work for very low income. They submit to management scrutiny on the job, and their low income and limited free time restricts their options outside of work. The result is a community of people under intense stress with few resources.

Foxconn’s military culture

“A leader,” says Terry Gou, must have the decisive courage to be “a dictator for the common good.” Under his leadership, the 300,000-person Foxconn Longhua flagship plant has constructed its own “city” within Shenzhen City, where company managers and security officers retain supra-governmental control over employees. An extreme example is that Foxconn workers who made emergency calls to the police through in-factory telephones were automatically transferred to Foxconn’s own private security department! There seems no alternate avenue for workers to seek help and support.

Management has hired more than 1,000 security guards to keep internal order in the Foxconn Longhua plant (no littering, no jay-walking, and so on) and prevent unauthorized persons from entering sensitive areas. Workers wear uniforms color-coded by their department. Every factory building and dormitory has security checkpoints with guards standing by 24 hours a day.

All employees, whether going to the toilet or going to eat, must be checked. Workers swipe electronic staff cards at the gates, while outsiders such as truck drivers leave their fingerprints on recognition scanners. To thwart industrial espionage, the company bars employees from bringing music players or mobile phones onto the shop floor. Body searches are not uncommon. Men reportedly must take off belts with metal buckles and women their wired bras before they can pass the electronic security systems.

The “Foxconn Empire” is infamous for its heavy-handed security. In the name of keeping strict confidentiality for its buyers, Foxconn retains a veritable army of private security officers. In this way, global technology multinationals have transmitted extreme pressure all the way to the Chinese shop floor. Foxconn workers are watched on or off the production line.

Despair and loss of hope

The post-80s and post-90s new generation of migrant workers have higher expectations of life than their elders, and feel greater disappointment and resentment at their failures. After 19-year-old Li Hai climbed the fence on the 5th floor of the company training center to jump to his death on 25 May 2010 (dubbed the “11th jumper”), police found a suicide note apologizing to his family. Li wrote: “My expectations of what I could do at work and for my family far outweighed what could be achieved.”

Li was born in 1991 in a poverty-stricken village in Hunan province. His family of four had contracted a tiny farm of only three-mu, just half an acre. His cousin told him that he could make money by working at Foxconn. Selling a motorbike for 300 yuan to buy a train ticket, he traveled to the southern metropolis. At the Shenzhen Guanlan plant, during the 42 work days, he was allegedly scolded by his line supervisor almost every day. His suicide note continues:
 

"I like drawing, like the girl Xiao Ye, but really dislike … [fushikang (Foxconn)]."

 
Li, a fresh school graduate, found fitting into the robotic assembling process, at high speed and to a precision measured down to the second, most difficult. Feeling unable to go back home, he ended his life in the early morning. Shenzhen city did not turn out to be his dreamland of opportunities.

Lu Xin, another Hunan native, jumped from the 6th floor at Foxconn’s Shenzhen Longhua apartment on 6 May 2010 (dubbed the “7th jumper”). Like Li Hai, Lu needed money to improve his rural family’s living conditions. As a university graduate, Lu, got a starting base pay rate of 2,000 yuan, more than double that of line workers. During eight months of work, he managed to remit home more than 13,000 yuan, all by doing heavy overtime work. His blog post dated 26 October 2009, cited by China Central Television (CCTV), reads: “I came to this company for money. [But then I realized], this is a waste of my life and my future. In the first step of my adult life, I took the wrong path. I’m lost.”

Lu was assigned to the production department, not his preferred research and development unit. In April 2010, he was working every day until 9 p.m. According to Chinese law, normal working hours should not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week (Article 3 of State Council Rules on Working Hours) and overtime should not exceed 3 hours a day (Article 41 of Labor Law). Lu saw no hope for himself or prospects for the future. Another online post dated 14 March 2010 reads:
 

"If I really could, I’d write music every day. I don’t have money [to buy] music hardware equipment. I don’t even want to spend money on a computer. I can’t find a record company either. Youth flies away. The 24 years old of me, can I still do it?"


Lu loved music and wanted to be a professional singer. He even took part in the company singing contest and won second prize. But in reality he was responsible for monotonous tasks in the assembly workshop. By early May he was on the verge of a breakdown. He reportedly showed symptoms of delusions like “being followed and threatened by someone who wants to kill him.” On that sleepless night, his university classmate and co-worker recalled Lu’s final words:
 

"He said he was going to look at the scenery and right after he finished his sentence, he quickly opened the window and jumped onto the balcony, then jumped off from the balcony. He never hesitated. I tried to grab him, but only pulled the clothes on his left arm, he threw my hand off."


Lu’s job was quality control. If he failed to monitor the high quality of finished products, every worker in the same production department and he himself would be punished. As a result, he was very nervous about the passing rates of products, fearing punishment or that the bonus would be cut.

The younger generation of better-educated migrant workers wants a new life but they see no prospect in toiling day and night on the assembly line. They face a huge discrepancy between soaring expectations and the harsh reality of factory lives. Only a few days after the suicide of Lu Xin, 24-year-old Henan worker Zhu Chenming jumped off the roof of an apartment to her death (dubbed the “8th jumper”). A friend told of her big dreams of success as a super model: “She’s 1.74-meter tall. [Before entering Foxconn] she learned about modeling. Her aspiration was to travel abroad to study.”

In the evening on 11 May 2010, Zhu’s dead body was found lying on the ground. All the glamour had dissipated from her young life.

The pressure of being away from home, and with little care and fairness from society, was among the major factors behind the employee suicides. Millions of migrant workers like Foxconn employees are thrown into a state of deep contradiction. They reject the regimented hardships their predecessors endured as cheap labor and second-class citizens. They rebel against their marginalized status and meaningless life. “So their only option was a very human one,” a labor researcher commented, “to throw away or destroy their own bodies as a gesture of frustration — and of defiance.” In their defiant deaths they call on the Chinese nation — and international society — to wake up before more lives are sacrificed.

Conclusion

China’s emergence as a global economic power rests on the painstaking efforts of the older and younger generations of migrant workers. The Foxconn suicides have received much media attention, yet many other workers toil under equally terrible conditions. The labor and human rights issues raised by this human tragedy go far beyond the specific conditions at Foxconn, and demand wide-ranging changes at both the industry and governmental levels.

The suppression of wages to jump-start export-processing industries in the 1980s brought about a large influx of foreign investments to China. Accelerated in the 1990s, transnational companies and Taiwanese contractors have outsourced low-value-added production to Chinese manufacturers. Millions of export-oriented factories are subject to order specifications of Western and Asian multinationals. Profit margins in labor processing remain small. Producers from Vietnam, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh and other developing countries are pitted against China in a battle to become sub-tier suppliers further down the global commodity supply chain. On factory floors, workers bear the brunt of cost cutting.

Young rural migrant workers, the backbone of China’s urban export industry, are underpaid and heavily squeezed. Image-sensitive global buyers and their suppliers sometimes express concern for the workers’ treatment. But often this seems simply business-as-usual rhetoric of corporate social responsibility.

Foxconn’s strategy of low-cost, suppressed-labor-rights competitiveness is neither economically sustainable nor morally supportable. To prevent similar tragedies from happening at Foxconn and elsewhere it is critical, first and foremost, to assure workers’ rights to democratic union organization and collective bargaining. Strengthening the participation of workers in enterprise management will help improve working conditions. We encourage independent NGOs and union leaders to offer participatory training in workers’ rights at the workplace level. Further, we advocate joint monitoring of company grievance mechanisms by local governments and external parties, excluding those who are linked to corporate interests.

We are concerned about the role of the local and national states in the protection of the new working class. The use of a large pool of young migrant labor to fuel China’s export-driven economy comes at too high a human cost. Migrant workers’ basic needs for housing, social security, and education for their children are not protected by either corporations or the local government. As long as these real problems are not solved, their mental or psychological problems will grow. Workers’ participation in social and labor reform can build the community resources to reduce suicides. Overall, a more balanced urban-rural development model is key to social and economic stability.

Amid new cases of worker suicides, Foxconn organized a morale-boosting rally for its young employees at a stadium in the Shenzhen Longhua plant on 18 August 2010. Some workers dressed in company-provided, pink t-shirts with big red words “I love Foxconn.” Others, in cheerleader costumes, held up huge posters of CEO Terry Gou that say “Love me, love you, love Terry.” All 20,000 Foxconn participants stood up and chanted slogans, orchestrated by company organizers. A high-level manager loudly exhorted the young people: “Treasure your life, love your family!” Most importantly, he shouted: “Let us care for each other to build a wonderful future.”

Without stronger protection of workers’ fundamental rights to strive for decent work, however, whatever the corporate hype, it seems almost certain that we will witness a growing roll call of deaths.

This is an abbreviation of the original article from The Asia-Pacific Journal at http://japanfocus.org/-Jenny-Chan/3408. We would like to express our gratitude to Mark Selden for editorial assistance.

Jenny Chanis a doctoral candidate at University of London Royal Holloway and a volunteer at Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM). Ngai Pun is deputy director of Peking University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University Social Service Research Center and associate professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

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