We The Workers: A limited documentary about labour rights groups in China
Publisher: World Socialist Web Site
Date Written: 14/01/2019
Year Published: 2019
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23273
A review of a documentary on labour conditions in China. The docementary was filmed at great risk but the motiviations and the end product are questionable.
We The Workers is a three-hour documentary about non-government labour organisations (LNGOs) operating in southern China's industrial heartland in defiance of the repressive Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime and its industrial police force, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), the country's only legal union body.
Workers in China have no legal right to strike or organise outside the ACFTU, which is an arm of the CCP regime. The official role of this massive union bureaucracy is to "maintain social stability" - i.e., collaborate with employers, the government and the police to defend the existing order. The ACFTU is actively involved in strike-breaking as well as the victimisation and frame-up of workers seeking to defend their jobs, working conditions and basic rights.
Huang Wenhai, 46, who now resides in Hong Kong, has been making films in China since 2003. He shot We The Workers secretly over a six-year period, from 2009 to 2015, and at considerable personal risk to himself and others involved in the production.