Spring 2022 - LBST 330 D100

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (3)

Labour in China

Class Number: 7903

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 1325, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    Xinying Hu
    Office: HCC 2140
    Office Hours: Tues 12:30pm-2pm via Zoom or in-person
  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly Recommended: LBST 101 and/or 301.



Selected topics in areas not currently offered within the undergraduate course offerings. Students may take more than one offering of LBST Selected Topics courses for credit, as long as the topic for each offering is different.


This course explores labour issues in reform-era China. In relation to China’s integration and growing influence in the global market, this course examines the impacts of China's economic and social transition on labour in both urban and rural areas. It will focus on how state policy changes under a market-oriented economy affect the distinct experiences of male and female labour in different sectors and geographical areas.

The course will focus on labour issues related to different groups of workers, such as urban-based workers, unemployed workers, rural migrant workers, and agricultural workers. Throughout the course both gender and class will form the basis of an analysis to understand the transition and economic development policies in various historical periods. In so doing, we will question assumptions about the nature of social reproduction in each era, and analyze current economic development paths in China. By using labour economic theories and feminist perspectives, this course will come to an interdisciplinary understanding of the course themes.


By the end of the course, students will be able to understand how economic reforms have affected labour and labour relations, the changing structure and conditions of work and employment, as well as labour activism toward inequalities at work in contemporary China.


  • Attendance and Participation 15%
  • Presentation 10%
  • Mid-term Test (take-home, 4-5 pages) 20%
  • Creative Project (group) 15%
  • Research Paper (2500 words) 40%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Labour Studies Program follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Estlund, C. (2017). A New Deal for China’s Workers? Harvard University Press.

This title is available online through the SFU Library here.

Hui, E. S. (2018). Hegemonic Transformation: The State, Laws, and Labour Relations in Post-Socialist China. Palgrave Macmillan.

This title is available online through the SFU Library here.

Additional required readings will be available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or online as noted.


Chan, A. (2015). Chinese Workers in Comparative Perspective. Cornell University Press.

This title is available online through the SFU Library here.

Gallagher, M. E. (2017). Authoritarian Legality in China: Law, Workers, and the State. Cambridge University Press.

This title is available online through the SFU Library here.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.