Spring 2021 - LBST 330 D100

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (3)

Labour in China

Class Number: 3147

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 11 – Apr 16, 2021: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2021
    Wed, 9:30–9:30 a.m.

  • Instructor:

    Xinying Hu
    Office Hours: We 13:00-14:30 via Zoom and SFU email
  • 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 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 China. In so doing, we will question assumptions about the nature of social reproduction in each era, and analyze current economic development paths in China. Through feminist perspectives and labour economic theories, this course will come to an interdisciplinary understanding of the course themes.


By the end of the course, students will gain an understanding of how economic reforms in China has affected labour and labour markets, as well as the changing structure and conditions of labour in contemporary China.


  • Attendance and participation 15%
  • Reading reflection 15%
  • Midterm test 20%
  • Short video (5 min.) 20%
  • Final exam (take-home) 30%


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 Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Labour Studies Program follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct 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.



All required weekly readings will be accessible via SFU library, Canvas or public websites.

Elaine Sio-ieng Hui, Hegemonic Transformation: The State, Laws, and Labour Relations in Post-Socialist China. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Online access through SFU computing ID)

Cynthia Estlund, A New Deal for China’s Workers? (Harvard University Press, 2017. Online access through SFU computing ID)


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

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

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 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).