Workers’ Rights Still Big News
China and India continue to command the attention of the international media, as the world watches these two emerging superpowers grow, develop and contend with increasing notions of democratization in all of its manifestations. India’s latest concern is whether or not to allow international companies to operate on native soil, vying for consumers’ money along with homegrown brands. China too, is still feeling the pangs of international pressure at what a new generation of Chinese proletariat are able and expected to earn – wages that must compete in a Western context.
The latter country’s case has been bandied around in the press ad nauseam, and for good reason. Taiwan-based Foxconn, the maker of most of the world’s leading electronic brands components, has been criticized for unfair treatment of workers – overlong hours and some suicide cases that have alarmed many. What’s interesting is that, as with the Arab Spring uprisings, this story unlike most news, refuses to die. The latest incidents find workers at a northern plant in China embroiled in a brawl (hundreds involved) and companies like Apple and the Chinese government itself wringing their hands – probably just wanting the kerfuffle to stop, I’m sure, and have ‘the drones’ get back to work. Not that easy, this is a new age of revolution, folks.
It’s a fascinating time to see once-tethered nations demand rights equal to those in ‘free’ countries. The Chinese public has also recently staged large, vocal demonstrations renouncing a revisionist view of the country’s history being taught at school – the days of Tiananmen Square and Chairman Mao are dead –and unless the government wants Syrian-style mutinies on their hands, they will listen and concede with the . Clearly, there is no going back to the ‘old ways’ and the police state mentality has been irrevocably changed an inverted – this is globalization in its best, most crystalline form.