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Fourth International, July-August 1953


Labor in Revolutionary China

A First-Hand Report


From Fourth International, Vol.14 No.4, July-August 1953, pp.88-94.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


This is the concluding section of a first-hand account on the conditions of the working class in New China. The period covered is from the victory over the Kuomintang regime in 1949 up to the end of 1951 when the article was written. The author is a leading Trotskyist with many years experience in the Chinese labor movement.

* * *

The Trade Unions

Prior to liberation, the already weak forces of the Communist Parly in the unions were annihilated by the Kuomintang, whose control was then absolute. Subsequently, the Chinese CP did not recognize these unions, and set up other organizations for workers’ representation. The CP was then very weak in the large cities. In Kwantung province the regional union had very few cadres of natives of the cities.

The situation in Shanghai was better, but it was only a quantitative difference, not a qualitative one. Few workers’ cadres followed the army of liberation when it entered a city. In general, these cadres consisted of workers who had left the city between 1947 and 1949 in order to get to the liberated regions, but there were very few such in the south of China. These old members now have fine positions in the army or the administration, but they do not do rank and file work. Since the CP occupied many cities in a short space of time, it lacked worker cadres. The question was all the more serious since it did not have the confidence of the masses on the basis of which it could form new cadres.

To remedy this, the CP selected from among the most intelligent of its members those who had been trained in the army and sent them into the factories to take leadership in the workers’ organizations. But these leaders did not have the remotest conception of a worker’s life and of the proletariat’s mode of thought. They were accustomed to the army and the giving or receiving of orders, without any knowledge of how to deal with workers or how to represent their interests.

In his speech of August 1950, Dun Tse-hwei brings up these facts. He concedes that the union cadres had had a “bureaucratic and commanding attitude” and that they were never able to adopt “a life of mass work.” He added:

“The slogans and resolutions of the unions were not adapted to the workers’ interests. The principal reason for this is that the resolutions were drawn up not as a function of the concrete situation and the real demands of the workers but solely on the basis of the personal opinions of the comrades. Certain among them defend the opinion that among the workers some elements cannot be convinced and that they can only be given orders ... They considered themselves heroes whom the masses must follow blindly, they lacked confidence in the working class masses and did not allow them to select their representatives; they exercised a real dictatorship. They did not approve the opinions which the workers would express.

“Some of them would say: ‘I have worked for the revolution for ten years. Today I have acquired this position, but the union members are rising so swiftly that in a few years they will outstrip me.’

“The directors consider themselves as conquerors, as proud lords who do not have to take the trouble of studying. They rest on their laurels, completely ignorant of the complexity of present problems. What is most serious is that these, who despise the workers, do not want to work with them. The director, the heads, are solely pre-occupied with comparing their salaries, position and advantages with those of other members of the administration, and refuse to work with other members of the union.” (Workers Daily, Aug. 6, 1960)

This bureaucratism, tied to the policy of “assistance to the capitalists,” which had compelled the workers to “voluntarily” sacrifice their wages, lost the unions the masses and best cadres. Six months or a year after their establishment, certain unions no longer had more than a few members or did not even have a single one. The reason for this must be sought in the disgust of the workers for the cadres who had thought them too backward to be permitted to participate actively in trade union life.

In this period the union was really nothing but an official “bureau” whose directors were named by the goverment, the funds distributed by it, and the work organized and controlled by it. In this way the organization became alienated from the masses.

The Trade Union Law

At the end of June 1950, the People’s Government published a “Trade Union Law” covering workers in all enterprises, functionaries, teachers and workers of every kind. They received the right to form unions, on condition of recognizing the superior authority of the Central National Trade Union. In the State enterprises, the unions could represent the workers in the control of production. In the private enterprises, they could conclude collective contracts within the framework of the negotiating committee between employers and workers. The unions from then on were assigned the task of “education and organization of the workers and carrying out the policy of the People’s Government. A new attitude toward work must be adopted, its order must be respected, competitions in production must be organized. In the State enterprises, a struggle must be conducted against corruption, waste and bureaucratism, and against sabotage; in the private enterprises, the prime task is to develop production, respect for the interests of the employers and the workers must be maintained, everything interfering with governmental action, especially sabotage, must be annihilated.”

The State, the various enterprises, and the schools are required to place some of their meeting places at the disposal of the unions, so they can there set up olfices, halls for meetings, for education and organization of workers’ leisure. Other services (postal, telegraph, telephone, electricity, water, etc.) are also free for the unions. Whoever belongs to the union receives his entire wage if laid off. The union also takes care of quickly securing a new job for him. Before hiring or firing a worker, the union must be advised by the employer and has a veto right. If use of the veto provokes a struggle, mediation is under the jurisdiction of the Labor Bureau or the courts. The “administrations” and the employers must set aside as reserve 2% of all wages for the trade unions. 1.5% is earmarked for the education and culture of the workers, 0.5% is left at the free disposal of the union, whose members also pay dues.

The General Trade Union also anticipates setting up auxiliary commissions for productivity, bureaus for workers’ study and inventions, for education and culture; commissions for working women, for the worker’s family, etc? These, sub-commissions still remain to be set up and their work organized.

One month after publication of this trade union law, at the beginning of August, the unions launched a movement for intensive reform, bearing on two points:

  1. Defining the veto right of the unions.
  2. Struggle against bureaucratism and authoritarianism.

Starting with this date we note an outburst of articles in the papers and periodicals condemning those “who are losing their class position,” against bureaucratism, etc.

To determine the role of the unions, it is sufficient to return to the previously quoted speech of Dun Tse-hwei. He is at present the spokesman of the new trend. In another portion of his speech, he deals with methods of work, wherein he insists that “members must demonstrate patience towards the workers so as to convince them more readily. Patience is the only method for educating the working class.”

What is to be done if the working class cannot be convinced? Can authoritarian methods be used? Dun Tse-hwei gives the reply:

“No, absolutely no. We must wait for the attainment of consciousness by the working class.” And he continues: “if the opinion of the mass is opposed to that of the leadership, what can be done? Can it be overcome by the use of authority? No, absolutely no. The comrades in the unions must respect the opinion of the majority ... In this case, we can try to convince them and to modify their decisions. On the other hand, summarizing our point of view, it is by following this policy that the workers will understand their mistakes and will regain their confidence (in us).”

The Chinese CP has now learned the ABC of revolutionary work.

It is undeniable that there has been a cleansing of the unions and that the new policy on wages has raised the standard of living of the working class. As a result there has been a marked increase in the number of members and in the degree of activity of the unions.

We even find an expression of regret by the CP that only 80% of the total number of workers is represented in the unions.

We can state that in the spring and summer of 1950, the unions were a capitalist instrument in the hands of the government. Today they represent the organization of the working class. We must now admit that, if not from the standpoint of its immediate interests, at least from that of its long-term interest, the unions are the protective organization of the proletariat.

Labor Time, Wages and Labor Protection

The State-ized enterprises all belong to big industry, to heavy industry especially. Prior to liberation, a large section of these enterprises had already adopted the 8-hour day. After liberation, the CP did not extend the labor time; it limited itself to insisting that the workers “educate” themselves during their leisure.

In the period immediately following liberation, the State enterprises maintained wages and acquired benefits in principle, but in isolated cases real wages were reduced in certain enterprises in various ways during a very brief interval. However, there were few cases of layoffs among the workers in State enterprises. Consequently, during the first period after liberation, the discontent of the workers in State enterprises with the CP was not based on unemployment or wages, as was the case in the private enterprises. In cities like Shanghai or Tientsin, the workers demonstrated relatively greater activity. They tried to profit from liberation in order to improve their living conditions and liquidate certain elements. Their attempts, however, were halted by the CP. In other cities, Canton for example, the workers remained completely passive, they adopted a spectator’s attitude regarding liberation and viewed the CP as a stranger, saying to themselves: “Let’s wait and see!” In the course of the chaotic events which marked the first social period, the bureaucratic and commanding attitude adopted by the CP cadres toward the workers, the “voluntary” contribution – an obligatory levy on wages – reduction of the annual bonus by the purchase of treasury bonds at the end of 1949 (a purchase ordered by the government) – all these factors naturally engendered discontent among the workers in the State enterprises.

Following the change in policy of the government toward the workers in the autumn of 1950, living conditions of the workers in the State enterprises improved slightly. Beginning with 1951 (especially in the Northeast) the government began to orient its policy in the State enterprises towards a wage reform. At the present time, the system of 8 wage categories is applied in the entire Northeast as well as in some factories in the rest of the country. It appears that in the USSR the categories in the system of 8 are set up as follows:




















(Of course, the salaries of bureaucrats start at levels 5 to 10 times the minimum wage for workers.)

In the scale of categories applied in China, the highest index is 3. In other terms, “the highest wage that a skilled worker can obtain is three times the minimum wage.” But in the Northeast, “The wage of the better technician is 5 or 15 times more than the lowest wage.” The CP is extremely slow and prudent in its reform of the wage system. In the course of the reform, the total amount of wages has not decreased. The number of workers whose wages have decreased because of the reform does not exceed 10% of the total number of workers, and in general, they have the right to other forms of subsidy as recompense. The CP has guaranteed that the system as recompense. (The CP has guaranteed that the system of piece-work wages will be universally adopted in the future.)

Present Standards

At present the wages of skilled workers in the State-ized factories have in general attained a level above – or at least equal to – that reached prior to liberation. An ordinary fitter can make about 8 to 9 hundred thousand yuans a month. If the author of this article were still working in his old plant, he would obtain an identical, salary. Prior to liberation I had a wage slightly above that of workers in other plants: in my enterprise, we were actually paid not in Kuomintang money but in rice. At that time I earned 540 cattys of rice a month; today, with 800,000 yuans (about 206 Hong Kong dollars) one can buy 560 cattys of rice. At Hong Kong, if I worked in a big enterprise – the docks of Tai-Kou, for example – I would get a real wage of 156 HK dollars (without pay for Sunday) which would be worth only 200 cattys of rice; their purchasing power in industrial products would probably be greater than on the continent. But as is known, Chinese workers (including those in Hong Kong) still work today primarily to provide for food and lodging; consequently we can say that wages on the continent are relatively higher than in Hong Kong. Also, on the continent, the workers receive advantages in addition to their wages which are completely lacking in Hong Kong.

The imperative needs of the leaders of industrialization, and the wide prevalence of plant accidents, on the other hand, compel the government to give special attention to safety equipment and to sanitary conditions of the workers. I have no knowledge whatever of existing conditions in the plants of Europe; as regards the old Chinese plants, especially the smallest ones, they were as close to hell as possible. Often 15 minutes were needed to go from the workshop to the toilet (in factories where piece work existed, management had nothing to lose by such a state of affairs), many workers took their meal alongside cesspools; the dormitories (when there were any) were regular stables; if it was management that supplied the food, flies on the plates were normal. In the factory where I formerly worked, the north wind penetrated the shop during the winter and people shivered from cold while working. Under Japanese occupation, a stove was installed but management had it taken away after the return of the Kuomintang. The Minister of Labor has now promulgated hygienic and safety rules. After having read them and compared them with the treatment which we received in the past, I could not refrain from saying: “What a great change!” Canteens must be set up in the factories with stoves for re-heating food (for workers who bring their meal to the factory); it is obligatory to ventilate the workshop and furnish individual lighting – for example, the lamp utilized by a lathe operator must be of opaque glass to prevent eye injury. Toilet facilities must be constructed proportionate to the number of workers; cooked food must not be kept more than one day in the kitchen, and the cook must be dressed in white, etc.

In the State enterprises they have already planned or begun the building of dormitories for the workers. The equipment of these dormitories is considerably better than before. According to the reports of those who have visited the plants on the continent, workers who have a family can obtain two rooms – which seems like a miracle to Chinese workers, to those of Hong Kong particularly, for it is the rule for them to be packed in with their wife and their children into an eight-foot square room, in which they sleep, eat, rest and receive their visitors.

Social Insurance

Besides this, what contributed most to the welfare of the workers was the promulgation and application of the laws on social insurance which the Department of the Interior adopted in February 1951. These laws are effective only in private or State-ized enterprises (plants, mines, railroads, transport, postal services, and electric works) of over 100 workers. All workers except those “who are deprived of their political rights,” are entitled to their benefits. But in enterprises which the government recognizes as being “in extremely difficult financial conditions, and even unable to maintain proper operation,” application of the law can be temporarily postponed.

The costs of socia1 insurance fail entirely upon capital. There are two kinds of payment: direct payment, and payment to the union of social insurance funds. Each month capital supplies a contribution equal to 3% of the total amount of wages. This contribution, deposited in State banks, constitutes the social insurance fund at the disposition of the unions.

To workers and clerks who have an accident during working hours, capital underwrites the necessary medical expenses, while paying their usual wages. Injured workers have the right to a compensatory pension (60 to 74% of their wages) which is paid them each month up to their death by the social insurance fund; those who can continue working but with reduced working power, can receive a supplementary allowance (5 to 20% of their daily wage) up to their old age, retirement or death.

In the case of sickness or accident outside of the workplace, all necessary medical expenses, except for expensive medicines, costs of transportation to and stay at the hospital, which the worker must pay, are borne by capital. When the length of treatment at the hospital does not exceed three months, capital must pay a wage varying between 50 and 100% of the usual salary, according to length of employment; after three months, the social insurance fund pays from 30 to 50% of the original wage, depending on the case. When the length of care exceeds six months, the case is considered as similar to retirement caused by work injury; in other words the social insurance fund pays a monthly pension (20 to 30% of the wage, based on length of service) up to recovery of the capacity to work or to death. In the case of illness of a member of the worker’s family, the medical visit is completely free, and a reduction of 50% is made on the price of regular medications; expensive medicines as well as various other expenses are borne by the worker.

In case of death caused by accident at work, capital pays two months wages as a death allowance; in addition a condolence pension (of 25 to 50% of the wage, according to the number of members in the family directly related to the deceased) is paid out each month by the social insurance fund until the conditions justifying such a pension no longer exist. In case of death occurring separate and apart from work, a death allowance equal to a month’s wage is paid by the special insurance fund, and the family receives a compensatory pension of 3 to 12 months wages, according to length of employment. Upon the death of a member of the worker’s family who is directly related, the social insurance fund pays a sum varying between 1/4 and 1/3 of the monthly wage as a death allowance.

Old Age Pensions

An employee reaching 60, after having worked 25 years generally and 10 years in the same enterprise, has the right to an old-age pension (35 to 60% of his monthly wage, in accordance with the length of his employment in the enterprise) payable up to his death. If he is to continue working, he receives a monthly supplementary allowance (10 to 20% of his total monthly wage). A worker reaching the age of 50 who can show 20 years of work, 10 of them in the same enterprise, has a right to the old-age pension which we have just mentioned; moreover, in determining his work time, a year is equivalent to a year and three months, and in certain enterprises, even a year and a half.

A woman worker has the right to 56 days vacation before and after childbirth; to 15 days for a miscarriage occurring in the first three months of pregnancy; to 30 days for a miscarriage occurring between the third and seventh month. In all these cases, wages continue to be paid during the vacation.

The insured has the right to benefits from the collective facilities of social insurance. Under the direction of the Central National Federation of the Trade Unions (GFTO), the social security fund sets up collective institutions: sanatariums, homes for the disabled, old-age homes, orphanages, convalescent homes, etc.

Workers who are not unionized have full rights to pensions for accidents at work, to childbirth leave, to free medical care resulting from accidents occurring away from work; but they can secure only half of the other advantages.

Only one of the major benefits can be claimed, even if the conditions of a case appear to apply to several.

Labor heroes or former military heroes have the right to greater benefits, and they have priority rights for admission into the collective institutions of social insurance.

The unions are the executive arm of social insurance, the Minister of Labor of the central government is the controlling arm.

Compared with the special benefits (medical care for example) which workers in some enterprises (in the branch of the Committee of Resources) enjoyed formerly, the social insurance benefits are relatively small. But if we consider the total number of workers and the sum total of the acquired benefits, we readily see that a historical reform has taken place. If we draw up the picture of all the things the Chinese workers have lacked in the past, we will understand how this event alone has brought the Chinese workers to speak of revolution, for even in their dreams they did not anticipate anything like this. But I must repeat: social insurance is in force only in plants of over 100 workers. Plants of over 100 workers make up only 14% of the total number of enterprises in Shanghai, but they employ 80% of the total number of workers. The exact figure is 333,400.

The “feudal bosses” of the enterprise (these were a kind of foreman), members of the Kuomintang and the heads of secret societies who oppressed the workers are now deprived of the right to social insurance. Among the workers, many revolutionists, as well as those whom the CP attacks for other reasons, are indiscriminately deprived of all or part of their rights to these benefits. The wife of a militant Trotskyist finds herself disqualified for the simple reason that her husband is engaged in revolutionary work. In general, in order to deprive workers of the rights to social insurance the CP hides behind “the will of the masses.”

Movement For Democratic Reforms

In the Chinese enterprises, the mines and ports especially, there used to exist many indirect forms of exploitation by intermediaries, personal persecutions (the CP gave them the name of feudal exploitation and oppression). The “feudal bosses,” intermediaries between capital and the workers, voluntary agents of the employing class, reduced the wages of workers from 10 to 50%; hiring of workers was in their hands; for their birthdays or on New Year, the workers had to bring them gifts; wives and daughters of workers were often kidnapped or humiliated by them. Elsewhere, in certain enterprises – in light industry notably – the foremen were particularly arrogant, delighting in subjecting the workers, especially female workers, to indignities. These lackeys, whose masters were often big capitalists or persons connected with the government, sank their claws into various strata of society, and in order to divide the workers, they organized by force or bribery a large number of workers as a following.

When the power of the new regime was relatively stabilized, a “movement for democratic reforms” was launched in the various zones. The proclaimed objective of this movement was the liquidation of all the various forms’ of exploitation and oppression which we have mentioned. This movement subsided a long time ago in the Northeast and the North of China; it started last year in the Eastern zone and reached the Central-Southern zone at the end of 1951; it is now approaching its final stage.

In March 1950, the first representative conference of the National Union of Transport Workers made a “proposal” to the Department of Administration, which the latter accepted, adopted and gave the force of a law. This law abolished in transportation the feudal system of the “boss” and suppressed, primarily in the ports, the tyranny of recruiters, “bosses,” heads of secret societies, head porters, etc. The local /people’s governments are to set up offices of transportation, in order to unify the shipping operations of enterprises, institutions, local associations – private or State-ized – and the army. The representatives of the government and delegates of the trade unions formed a joint Transportation Company which named the director sent by the government as its president. The transportation company levied 10 to 20% of the costs of transportation earned by the carriers as a single charge covering taxes, port construction, development of the company’s business, and for the welfare of the workers. To this last category, about 30 to 50% of the total revenue of the company must be dedicated. The former evil recruiters, “bosses,” etc., were brought to justice and sentenced when complaints and accusations were lodged against them; the properties of the most important criminals were confiscated and turned over to the funds ear-marked for workers’ welfare.

In the ports, the coolies launched a campaign against the “bosses,” who were called to public judgment and executed. Today the carriers and the coolies of the big cities are all organized into transportation companies.

In the factories, the system of personal examinations has already been abolished.

Three Stages

In enterprises other than transportation, the movement for democratic reforms has brought about varying degrees of improvement. In the mines it has been most marked. Viewing the developments in the Central-Southern zone, three stages can be distinguished in this movement: stages of “democratic struggle,” of “democratic solidarity,” of “democratic construction.”

In the first stage, the union cadres used all sorts of methods for drawing the workers into the struggle against bad foremen, “bosses,” leaders of secret societies, etc. The form generally adopted was that of sharpness in ‘ speech which was called the “democratic struggle.” When the bad elements were “felled” and had acknowledged their submission to the workers, those who were not accused of great damage were authorized to remain working in the plant under the “control” of the workers; the big, criminals were brought to the courts for judgment.

After this stage came “democratic solidarity,” which aimed at solving all the problems which had arisen during the first stage (conflicts between functionaries and workers, between leaders and the masses, between older workers and new ones, skilled and unskilled workers, or even among the provincial cliques, etc.), in order to fit all the cogs together.

The third stage aims at promoting “political consciousness,” at “installing a new attitude toward work,” at “coordinating the union organizations” – its principal aim is to increase production. In some private enterprises, the problems of workers’ welfare.are raised – the problem of improving living conditions of the workers, for example.

In the private enterprises, the capitalists in the beginning were frightened by this movement; but the CP emphasized unceasingly that it was solely a struggle “against feudal-elements, not against capital.” At the same time, it separated the movement for democratic reforms from the campaign to suppress counter-revolutionaries. It considered the reform movement as dealing only with internal problems of the working class. Consequently this movement rarely had sufficient sweep to engender bloodshed.

The movement was marked by numerous “deviations.” For example, in some plants the CP cadres felt that all the workers were subject to suspicion and demanded a written autobiography from each one of them. Those whose “story was unclear” became objects of struggle. This provoked universal indignation and fear among the workers. And during this time, the CP was compelled once again to “correct deviations”

The principal objective of the movement of democratic reforms, that is, the elimination of bad elements who had oppressed the workers, favored the workers and found enthusiastic support among them. But the CP limited its scope in advance and rigorously controlled the course of its development. The most detestable aspect is that the CP uses this movement to “fell” active elements in the working class who are expressing their discontent with the CP from the left.

Management of Production

On May 1, 1949, before the central People’s Government was set up, the first conference of worker and office worker, delegates of North China adopted a document in accordance with the principles laid down by the Sixth National Congress of Labor: “Regulations for setting up committees for the control of enterprises and conferences of workers’ and office workers’ delegates in private and State-ized enterprises.” These regulations promulgated and put into effect by the People’s Government of North China explained that constitution of control committees and delegates’ conferences tends “to promote among workers the feeling of being the masters of the country; to encourage the activity and creative power of the masses in such a way that they consciously and voluntarily participate in improving business and increasing production in an organized and disciplined way; and finally, to develop the capacity of workers for the management of production.”

The management committee “is formed by those responsible for production and by an equal number of office workers and workers. The manager or director, the assistant director of the factory, the chief engineer and the president of the trade union are officers of the committee; the list of other executives of the factory who may participate in the management committee must be submitted by. the director of the enterprise to a superior body which will make a selection from it. The delegates of the office workers, and workers must be elected by the general assembly of the delegates’ conference of workers and office workers, an assembly convoked by the union.”

The management committee “is the only body for administrative direction” of the enterprise, under the direction of a superior body of enterprise control. Its tasks are: “to discuss and resolve all important problems concerning production and management, for example, production plans, trade operations, control system, organization of production, selection of personnel, the problems of wages and workers’ welfare, etc.; it must also make periodic reviews and draw conclusions from the work record.”

The director is president of this committee, whose decisions are applied under his orders. The director has veto power over the decisions of the committee; if the majority of the members disagree with him, he can make a report to his boss in order to secure advice.

An executive committee can be formed within the management committee. It consists of the director, the president of the union and of a member selected by the management committee. The director is its official president.

In a period of military control (as is the case in newly liberated zones) the military representative delegated to the plant is also an official member of the management committee and of its executive committee.

In plants of less than 200 workers, a general assembly of office workers and workers must be convoked. In places of more than 200 workers, a conference of delegates of office workers and workers must be set up, the delegates being elected by the rank-and-file organizations of the productive sections of the enterprise. Elections must take place once a year; delegates are subject to immediate recall. The two kinds of conference which we have just described must hold meetings once or twice a month.

These two kinds of conferences are authorized “to hear and discuss the report of the management committee, to check the management of the enterprise and its supervisory functions, to advance criticisms or suggestions.” Their resolutions “become effective only after ratification by the management committee and their promulgation upon instructions of the director. All their decisions concerning functioning of the union must be executed by the union of the enterprise.”

General Conclusions

The situation of the working class, as described, is not uniform throughout the country. The transfer of power did not take place on the basis of an adequate awakening of the working class, and this awakening has not occurred up to this day. The working class has still not become master of the country, it still has not achieved sufficient freedom. If we have a clear understanding of all of this, it will be possible for us to grasp that the heterogeneity of the situation of the class is a natural thing. We can state that conditions are better in the big cities than in the small ones, better in the big enterprises, better in the more prosperous ones, and the description we have given deals only with general conditions existing in the most privileged sections of the enterprises.

Regarding the governmental decrees which we have mentioned (Trade Union Policy, Law of Social Insurance, Policy covering Safety and Hygiene, Policy for the Management of Enterprises, etc.), the reader must not make the mistake of thinking that their application took place without difficulty, or even that they have been completely carried out in China. Things are not that simple. Just as with the law of agrarian reform, these laws can be applied only by means of a brutal struggle. Where the working class is more conscious and the GP cadres more tolerant in their attitude toward the masses, the application is better. But in some regions or enterprises, these laws have never been put into practice, or else only partially.

Nor must the reader make the mistake of thinking that the decrees of the CP are solely destined to harm the workers. This kind of thinking would be even more erroneous. The reports of many of our comrades, of many workers who have visited the plants on the continent, demonstrate that such is not the case. Moreover, the “Criticisms and Suggestions” often seen in the papers are precise appeals and accusations dealing with inadequacies occurring in certain enterprises concerning the application of the Policy on Hygiene and Safety, the Trade Union Policy, the social insurance laws, or “democratic management,” etc. The footnote added by the editorial staff is almost like a government decree. After 15 or 20 days, the criticized persons write to the editors saying: The inquiry is completed, the inadequacies corrected, and the aggrieved worker or workers have received compensation for their damages ...

A law is a reflection of the relationship of forces between different social classes. ‘The relationship of forces changes daily, especially in a period of overturn, whereas iaw cannot change in the same way and always drags at the tail of reality. Consequently, in the intermediate period, between existing legislation and that of the following period, the following phenomenon takes place: the real forces of various social classes come into conflict with the existing legislation. Before the new legislation sees the light of day, the existing laws always undergo interpretations imposed by the relationship of forces, and are applied on the basis of these interpretations. This phenomenon is manifested everywhere in China of today. On many occasions, the lawmakers cannot avoid bowing before reality.

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