China’s Workers Boldly Mobilizing through Social Media

china factory workersChina’s laborers are equalizing the power dynamic between bosses and workers, aided by labor shortages and the new workforce’s technological savvy. Wages have gone up by 12% last year compared to 2012. This is an example of how power is democratizing, spurred on by the mobilizing capabilities of technology, even in one of the most top-down nations. From The New York Times:

Better educated than their parents and as nimble on a computer as they are on an assembly line, blue-collar workers have become well versed in labor law, less tolerant of onerous schedules and more willing to share complaints beyond their immediate circle of co-workers.

Perhaps most worrisome to Chinese authorities, during the Yue Yuen strike, workers and administrative staff joined together largely without the help of protest leaders, who can be easily neutralized by the police. Employees turned to social media and spread messages faster than censors could stop them. Their most effective weapon was the popular mobile messaging program Weixin, which has nearly 300 million users in China and is also known by its English name, WeChat.

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