The Chinese Trade Union Goes Abroad: Evidence from Cambodia

Ivan Franceschini

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In recent years, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), the only trade union legally allowed in China, has become increasingly assertive on the international stage. Successive amendments to its constitution demand that the ACFTU not only assist the Chinese authorities in pushing forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but also reshape the current order of the international labour movement. Through the testimonies of local trade unionists, this paper examines how the ACFTU is attempting to achieve these goals in Cambodia, a country with large inflows of Chinese investment. The article will show that the Chinese trade union in Cambodia consistently engages with local Cambodian government-aligned actors that are usually neglected by the international labour movement, providing them with material assistance and opportunities to travel abroad. It argues that the impact of these activities should not be dismissed, as their alignment with the illiberal agenda of the Cambodian authorities and the priorities of employers has the potential to drastically change the landscape of trade unionism in Cambodia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-37
    JournalChina Perspectives
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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