Nascent protections in emerging giants: Struggles to judicialize labor rights in china and indonesia

William Hurst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Roughly 930 million people go to work each day across Indonesia and China. Like many middle-income counterparts, both countries share a history of repression of independent labor organizations and a general lack of respect of labor rights as generally defined in North America or Western Europe. Over the past decade, as China has sought to restore greater equity to its version of “market socialism” and Indonesia has felt its way toward democratization after half a century of military authoritarianism, both have enacted significant measures with an aim of judicializing labor rights and protections. Broadly speaking, Indonesia has created new institutions to facilitate the adjudication of labor rights, while China has laid down new rules to specify labor protections more clearly and forcefully. Indonesia and China have dramatically different political systems and different levels of per capita gross domestic product (China’s was nearly $1,500 higher than Indonesia’s in 2010, according to the World Bank). They are nevertheless comparable in that they are both large, middle-income countries (MICs) in Asia with developmentalist authoritarian legacies. Tracing the processes by which these two states have moved toward judicialization of labor rights over the past decade thus sheds light on a number of aspects of legal development and change in large MICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLaw and Development of Middle-Income Countries
Subtitle of host publicationAvoiding the Middle-Income Trap
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781139235730
ISBN (Print)9781107028159
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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