Bringing Class Struggles Back: A Marxian Analysis of the State and Class Relations in China

Chris King Chi Chan, Elaine Sio Ieng Hui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This article finds both the ‘weakening-state’ hypothesis of neo-liberalism and the ‘state as autonomous actor’ approach adopted by many current China studies dissatisfying towards an understanding of the Chinese state. The authors have therefore conducted a Marxian investigation of the Chinese state. We argue that the state is socially embedded; it is the field and condensation of class struggle. The gulf separating global capital and internal migrant workers on interests such as wage standards, pensions, and other labour regulations in China is a major form of class struggle, which continues to shape the state’s policies and behaviours. The attack on Chinese workers by global capital after the global economic crisis in 2008 precipitated a new wave of migrant worker protests and contributed to their articulation of worker demands on the Chinese state. To substantiate these arguments, we examine the (global) capital and (migrant) labour relations during and after the global economic crisis in 2008, with detailed analysis of the Honda strike and Yue Yuen strike, which took place in 2010 and 2014, respectively. The central theme is that the Chinese state’s development and labour policies can be fully comprehended only by bringing class struggle back into the analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-244
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 23 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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