Belabored: Labor Solidarity in China, with Tobita Chow and Kevin Lin

Belabored: Labor Solidarity in China, with Tobita Chow and Kevin Lin

A conversation about what rising U.S.-China tensions mean for workers and the labor movement in both countries.

Shipping containers from China in the Port of Los Angeles (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Over the course of the Trump era, China became a favorite target of the right, on issues ranging from trade policy to human rights to COVID-19, with some dangerous implications in terms of anti-Asian violence and xenophobia in the United States. But what does this mean for workers and for the labor movement both here and in China? In addition to being a massive authoritarian capitalist state, China is also home to arguably the world’s biggest working class. And for all the talk about so-called American jobs being offshored to China, where do the plights of workers in both countries intersect? Is global labor solidarity possible? To figure out how labor and the left should be thinking about China, we talked to Tobita Chow, director of Justice is Global, and Kevin Lin, a Hong Kong based labor activist and researcher.

In other news, we spoke with Harvard Law Professor Benjamin Sachs on a recent Supreme Court ruling that puts property rights above farmworkers’ rights and Elizabeth Lalasz about the Chicago nurses strike last week. And we discuss Black TikTok withholding their labor and a bill to protect workers from ageism, with recommended reading on a radical union on the high seas and socialism at Buffalo’s grassroots.

Thank you for listening to our 225th episode! If you like the show, you can support us on Patreon with a monthly contribution, at the level that best suits you.

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Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Rules Against Union Recruiting on California FarmsNew York Times

Ross Slaughter, Property Owners Win Big in Cedar Point Nursery v. HassidOnLabor

Carmen Reinicke, House of Representatives passes bill to protect older Americans in the workplace, CNBC

Sarah Jaffe, Belabored Stories: What If Nurses Ran the Healthcare System?Dissent

Jeff Schuhrke, Chicago Nurses Are Going on Strike—And Management Is Bringing in Scabs Through a Text BlastIn These Times

Kari Paul, ‘They can’t do it without us’: Black TikTokers strike to protest dance appropriationGuardian

Taylor Hatmaker, On TikTok, Black creators’ dance strike calls out creative exploitation, TechCrunch



Tobita Chow, director of Justice Is Global

Kevin Lin, labor activist and researcher on China, editorial board of Made In China Journal

Kevin Lin and Ashley Smith, China and the United States: A New Cold War, New Politics

Tobita Chow and Jake Werner, Trump Is Trying to Put Us on War Footing with China. It’s Up to the Left to Stop It, In These Times

Tobita Chow, How China Threat Narratives Feed Anti-Asian Racism and How to Fight Back, Justice Is Global

Michelle Chen, Hong Kong Protesters and Militant Chinese Workers Point the Way to a New Kind of InternationalismIn These Times

Michelle Chen, China’s Workers Aren’t Fighting a Trade War—They’re Fighting a Labor War, The Nation


Argh, I wish I’d written that!