|China: Labor Movement Enabled by Technology|
The Chinese workers who have been striking around China posted detailed accounts of the walkout online, spreading word not only among themselves but also to restive and striking workers elsewhere in China. The workers fired off cellphone text messages urging colleagues to resist pressure from factory bosses. They logged onto a state-controlled Web site and uploaded video of Honda’s security guards roughing up employees. The disgruntled workers took cues from earlier groups of Web-literate strikers who set up Internet forums and made online bulletin board postings about their battle with Honda. They also tapped into a broader communications web enabling the working class throughout China to share grievances and strategies.
“In China, Labor Movement Enabled by Technology,” New York Times, 6/16/2010; http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/business/global/17strike.html?scp=23&sq=china&st=cse
It was the Chinese government’s concerted effort in the last decade to eliminate the digital divide which led to the lowered cost of mobile phones and Internet service in China mading this type of communication possible. Now the government is cracking down on strike-related Web sites and deleting blog posts about the strikes. However, the new generation of Chinese workers are less willing to accept the wages and working conditions of their predecessors and are also the first generation to be digitally literate.