This essay focuses on the different discourses and practices of collective bargaining promoted by the official trade union and by some labour NGOs in the People's Republic of China, highlighting how in recent years this divergence has led to increased repression. The article is structured in four sections. The first part describes the Leninist nature of the Chinese trade union, explaining how this has translated into a form of â€œcollective negotiationâ€ highly inefficient in advancing the in.terests of the workers. The second part outlines the landscape of Chinese labour NGOs, with a particular focus on those organisations that in recent years have developed original grassroots practices of collective bargaining. The third part focuses on the relationship between Chinese union and civil society, analysing the latest shifts in the techniques of repression employed by the Party-state. Finally, the conclusion will offer some thoughts about the future of labour NGOs and collective bargaining in Chinese context.