Promoting Labor Rights in China
Earl V. Brown, Asia Regional Labor Law Counsel, American Center for International Labor Solidarity; Timothy J. Ryan, Program Director, Asia Region, American Center for International Labor Solidarity.
Two legal experts, Earl V. Brown and Timothy J. Ryan, visited the Woodrow Wilson Center on January 15 and had a luncheon meeting with Center staff and fellows, including Vinod Aggarwal from the University of California at Berkeley, Ching Kwan Lee from the University of Michigan, and Ming Xia from the City University of New York. Ryan first gave a brief introduction of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, which was established by the AFL-CIO in 1997 to provide a wide range of education, training, research, legal support, organizing assistance, and other resources to help build strong and effective trade unions and promote labor rights overseas. Brown, who has conducted training with legal practitioners in China, explained that it is very important for Chinese legal practitioners to understand how to "advocate" (argue) their cases in the courts without running afoul of formal or informal government restrictions. According to Brown, the Chinese government realizes that the cost of developing the rule of law in China as well as opening up to the world is that Beijing must allow people to engage in legal discourse and practice, but it is unlikely that Americans can recreate the U.S. legal system in China. Because Beijing is very skillful in keeping power through political propaganda and control, China is far from reaching the goal of the rule of law, Brown concluded.
Drafted by Gang Lin, Asia Program Associate