Jenny Chan

Jenny Chan
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | PolyU · Department of Applied Social Sciences

Certificate (Oxford) BSSc (CUHK) MPhil (HKU) PhD (London)
Vice President, Research Committee on Labour Movements, International Sociological Association (2018-2023)

About

83
Publications
96,349
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Introduction
Jenny Chan (陳慧玲) is an associate professor of sociology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her book, Dying for an iPhone, is co-authored with Mark Selden and Pun Ngai (2020; translated into Korean in 2021). She is the awardee of a Junior Research Fellowship of the University of Oxford's Kellogg College, a John Fell OUP Research Fund, a RGC Early Career Scheme grant, and an EIAC grant with the financial support of the CCK foundation and the AAS. For details: www.dyingforaniphone.com
Additional affiliations
July 2018 - present
International Sociological Association
Position
  • Vice President
September 2014 - August 2016
University of Oxford
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Lecturer of Contemporary China Studies and Sociology, University of Oxford; Junior Research Fellow, Kellogg College, University of Oxford (2015-2018)

Publications

Publications (83)
Article
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Internships have become integral to the development of vocational education in China. This article looks into the quasi-employment arrangements of student interns, who occupy an ambiguous space between being a student and being a worker at the point of production. Some employers recruit interns on their own, while others secure a supply of student...
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How did workers and students defend trade union rights at Jasic Technology based in Shenzhen beginning from summer 2018? When worker leaders faced managerial retaliation and police brutality, a group of young Maoists and Marxists composed primarily of Chinese university students and recent graduates, formed the Jasic Workers Support Group. As it ev...
Book
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What is the human cost of our digital future? Based on undercover research, Dying for an iPhone reveals the shocking conditions endured by workers employed by Foxconn, the world’s leading manufacturer of Apple products. Suicides, excessive overtime, hostility and violence on the factory floor in China. Drawing on vivid testimonies from rural migra...
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Jenny Chan. 2021. “Worker Organizing in China: Challenges and Opportunities.” Pp. 197-217 in Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives, edited by Robert Ovetz. London: Pluto Press. URL: https://www.plutobooks.com/9781786806451/workers-inquiry-and-global-class-struggle/
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How do food delivery platform firms, such as Meituan (operated by Tencent) and Ele.me (owned by Alibaba), manage couriers through service contracting rather than formal employment? How do couriers experience control and autonomy at work? Using observation and interviews, the author finds that a combination of data-driven surveillance systems and cu...
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Dorothy J. Solinger’s latest book, Poverty and Pacification: The Chinese State Abandons the Old Working Class (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022), is dedicated to ‘all of those whose lives were wrenched’ in globalising China. Solinger is passionate about working people, including rural migrants and laid-off urban workers, as reflected in her decades-long...
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With a workforce of more than one million in mainland China alone, the Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group is a major contractor for Apple and other leading multinational corporations. In 2010, when it was reported that eighteen workers had attempted suicide at company facilities in China, resulting in fourteen deaths, it made visible the conditions...
Book
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Ce livre propose une analyse du système Foxconn à partir des enquêtes de la sociologue Jenny Chan, complété par le témoignage de Yang, un étudiant et ouvrier de fabrication à Chongqing, et le parcours de Xu Lizhi, jeune travailleur migrant chinois à Shenzen, qui s’est suicidé en 2014 après avoir laissé des poèmes sur le travail à la chaîne, dans «...
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LA MACHINE EST TON SEIGNEUR ET TON MAÎTRE La vie des ouvriers et des ouvrières des usines chinoises du plus grand fabricant du monde dans le domaine de l’électronique [URL: https://www.ruedorion.ca/portfolio_page/la-machine-est-ton-seigneur/]
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We seek to tackle myriad problems of a global production system in which China is the world's largest producer and exporter of consumer electronics products. Dying for an iPhone simultaneously addresses the challenges facing Chinese workers while locating them within the global economy through an assessment of the relationship between Foxconn (the...
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Jenny Chan, with Robert Ovetz and Ivan Franceschini. 2021. “Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: A Conversation.” Made in China Journal: A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society, and Rights 6(3) (Sept – Dec): 170-77.
Book
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Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and the Lives of China’s Workers Jenny CHAN, Mark SELDEN and PUN Ngai © 2020 (Haymarket Books and Pluto Press) Book cover artwork (Korean edition 2021): Graphite replaces Space Gray as the iPhone Pro's darkest model in the lineup. Falling petals symbolize the loss of lives. Pluto Press (June 2020) Paperback I...
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LINKS: International Journal of Socialist Renewal (http://links.org.au/) In China, as in many countries, rights are enshrined by law in such a way that workers are expected to act as “firefighters” who self-enforce their rights by sounding the “fire alarm” at labor departments and courts to force senior officials to uphold labor standards. If worke...
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Tony Dundon and Jenny Chan. 2021. "HRM in China’s New Global Economy" (Case Study 1.1), pp. 17-18, full-text available online at SAGE (URL: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/contemporary-human-resource-management/book276615#preview)
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Mark Levinson and Julia Ott (Dissent, Spring 2021) China’s rapid economic growth has brought many people out of poverty. But there are deep fissures behind the impressive GDP figures. China’s rise is built on a factory system that relies on hundreds of millions of exploited workers who have migrated from China’s rural regions. After decades of wage...
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China Perspectives • N o. 2 0 2 1 / 1 (in English; translated in French) The spheres of democracy and livelihood are closely intertwined, not separate entities. How do we take back our future? With the passage of the National Security Law on 30 June 2020, prodemocracy political parties and activists similarly face greater struggles for survival in...
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China Perspectives (March 2021) perspectives chinoises • N° 2 0 2 1 / 1 (pp. 64-65). Boo review of LEE, Ching Kwan, et Ming SING (éds.), 2019, Take Back Our Future: An Eventful Sociology of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press). Reviewer: Jenny Chan est maîtresse de conférences à l’Université polytechnique de...
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Jenny Chan (Winter 2020) How long will Foxconn and the Chinese state be able to quell discontent and block the emergence of effective workers’ representation and the securing of fundamental worker rights? Should workers at Foxconn and elsewhere succeed in organizing and mobilizing effectively, they would inspire many more to strive to make a better...
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Jenny Chan 2020. “Employee Voice in China.” Pp. 524-38 in Handbook of Research on Employee Voice: Participation and Involvement in the Workplace, edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Jimmy Donaghey, Tony Dundon, and Richard B. Freeman. 2nd Edition. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
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Jenny Chan. 2020. “Labor Practices in Apple’s Supply Chains in China.” Pp. 266-71 in Case Studies in Work, Employment and Human Resource Management, edited by Tony Dundon and Adrian Wilkinson. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
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Precarization, in its form and consequences, varies across workers, sectors and geographies. The five articles in this special issue examine ways that workers have struggled with and against precarious labor in different contexts, from low-wage retail and service workers in Canada and the USA, to manufacturing and construction workers in India and...
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China's reintegration into global capitalism has greatly transformed migration patterns and labor relations since the late 1970s. This article focuses on worker activism in this transformation. It shows that the dynamic interactions between worker mobilization and government reaction have continued to shape the forms and outcomes of labor contentio...
Book
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Xu Lizhi (1990-2014) is a former Foxconn worker. Translated into Spanish.
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According to the law, a dispatch worker's employing entity is an agency rather than the company where they work.
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Taiwanese-owned Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer of Apple, used the labour of 150,000 student interns – 15 per cent of its entire million-strong workforce in China – during the summer of 2010. This Chapter looks into the quasi-employment arrangements of student interns, who occupy an ambiguous space be...
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In summer 2018 students and recent graduates from more than a dozen mainland Chinese universities turned out to provide solidarity support for workers of Jasic Technology. The activists included students from Peking University, Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, and Sun Yat-sen University. They wore T-shirts with the slogan "unity is power" p...
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The study of contemporary China constitutes a fascinating yet challenging area of scholarly inquiry. Recent decades have brought dramatic changes to China's economy, society and governance. Analyzing such changes in the context of multiple disciplinary perspectives offers opportunities as well as challenges for scholars in the field known as contem...
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This chapter focuses on the collective resistance of Chinese industrial workers in the contemporary context of the Party state-guided market reforms and capitalist globalization. It documents the major protests led by older socialist state workers, younger rural migrants, student interns, and dispatch workers in their respective struggles, resultin...
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Global Dialogue: Magazine of the International Sociological Association, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 1 April 2018.
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Jenny Chan and Mark Selden. 2017. “Apple and Foxconn in the Trump Era.” Pp. 118-22 in “China’s Goal: Hegemony or Global Partnership?” China’s World, Vol. 2, Issue 2. London: Huawen Institute. “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in the USA” — is a recent company slogan. But few Apple products have been assembled, still less built, in the U...
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Industrial robots are being put to work on a massive scale in China. Taking the case of electronics giant Foxconn, Jenny Chan considers what an automated future holds in store for human workers
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Outside the lab, there is no high-tech, only implementation of discipline. Execution is the integration of speed, accuracy, and precision. Value efficiency every minute, every second. Achieve goals or the sun will no longer rise. The devil is in the details. Growth, thy name is suffering. - Terry Gou, CEO of Foxconn
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Jenny Chan. 2017. “#iSLAVEat10.” “Chinese Labour in a Global Perspective,” Made in China: A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society, and Rights, Volume 2, Issue 3, July-September, pp. 20-23. http://www.chinoiresie.info/PDF/Made-in-China_3_2017.pdf
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Jenny Chan and Mark Selden. 2017. “The Labour Politics of China’s Rural Migrant Workers.” Pp. 81-93 in Chinese Labour in the Global Economy: Capitalist Exploitation and Strategies of Resistance, edited by Andreas Bieler and Chun-Yi Lee. Rethinking Globalizations Series. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Chinese-Labour-in-the-Gl...
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This article analyses the Chinese rural migrant workers’ collective struggles within a framework that highlights the deepening of contradictions among labour, capital, and the state. At times of labour crisis, aggrieved workers have taken legal and extra-legal actions to defend their rights and interests in the absence of leadership by trade unions...
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A Paris prosecutor recently called for the former CEO and six senior managers of telecoms provider, France Télécom, to face criminal charges for workplace harassment. The recommendation followed a lengthy inquiry into the suicides of a number of employees at the company between 2005 and 2009. The prosecutor accused management of deliberately "desta...
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To enrich the discussion of global labor, between 2010 and 2016, we studied Apple’s value chain, Foxconn’s mode of labor control, and Chinese workers’ struggles. Through our fieldwork in China we also examined Apple’s and Foxconn’s responses to the spate of worker suicides, workers’ resistance, the activism of scholar and student groups, and transn...
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Jan Drahokoupil (ETUI), Rutvica Andrijasevic (Univ Bristol, UK) and Devi Sacchetto (Univ. Padua, Italy) This book investigates restructuring in the electronics industry and in particular the impact of a ‘Chinese’ labour regime on work and employment practices in the electronics assembly in Europe. It studies Foxconn, the world largest electronics...
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Jenny Chan, Ngai Pun and Mark Selden. 2016. “Apple, Foxconn, and China’s New Working Class.” Pp. 173-89 in Achieving Workers’ Rights in the Global Economy, edited by Richard P. Appelbaum and Nelson Lichtenstein. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Article
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In the summer of 2010, Taiwanese-based Foxconn Technology Group—the world's largest electronics manufacturer—utilized the labor of 150,000 student interns from vocational schools at its facilities all over China. Foxconn is one of many global firms utilizing student intern labor. Far from being freely chosen, student internships are organized by th...
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Truthout (19 Feb 2015): Though Apple claims that 2014 was “a year of progress,” reports from labor rights groups and researchers reveal troubling labor and environmental violations continue unabated. URL: https://truthout.org/articles/despite-claims-of-progress-labor-violations-and-environmental-atrocities-continue-to-plague-apple-s-supply-chain/
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Based on interviews with students and teachers at one electronics company, we analyse the use of student interns to do regular manufacturing work in China. We argue that student workers need to be seen as a distinct category of constrained labour; part of a growing insecure workforce in China. We find that students enrolled in vocational schools ar...
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Jenny Chan, Ngai Pun and Mark Selden. 2015. “Apple’s iPad City: Subcontracting Exploitation to China.” Pp. 76-97 in Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production, edited by Kees van der Pijl. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Book
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Ngai PUN, Jenny CHAN and Mark SELDEN. 2015. Morire per un iPhone (Dying for an iPhone). Translated in Italian by Ferruccio Gambino and Giorgio Grappi; edited by Ferruccio Gambino and Devi Sacchetto. Milan: Jaca Books. 269 pages. ISBN: 978-88-16-41246-0
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潘毅 (PUN Ngai)、陳慧玲 (Jenny CHAN)、馬克.塞爾登 (Mark SELDEN)。2015。《蘋果背後的生與死──生產線上的富士康工人》。劉昕亭 譯。香港︰中華書局。xv, 238頁. ISBN: 978-988-8310-74-6
Book
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Translated in French by Celia Izoard. 110 pages. XU Lizhi (1990-2014) is a former Foxconn worker.
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The proletarianization of rural migrants is distinctive to contemporary China's development model, in which the state has fostered the growth of a “semi-proletariat” numbering more than 200 million to fuel labor-intensive industries and urbanization. Drawing on fieldwork in Guangdong and Sichuan provinces between 2010 and 2014, supplemented with sc...
Book
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Ngai PUN, Jenny CHAN and Mark SELDEN. 2014. Morir por un iPhone (Dying for an iPhone). Translated in Spanish by Florencia Olivera; edited by Andrés Ruggeri. Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina: Ediciones Continente S.R.L. 220 pages. ISBN: 978-950-754-501-6
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What are the implications for global public sociology and labor studies when more than a score of Foxconn workers jump to their death and when a wave of protests, riots and strikes occur in their wake? This article documents the formation of a cross-border sociological intervention project and illustrates how sociological research fueled regional c...
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Apple's commercial triumph rests in part on the outsourcing of its consumer electronics production to Asia. Drawing on extensive fieldwork at China's leading exporter—the Taiwanese-owned Foxconn—the power dynamics of the buyer-driven supply chain are analysed in the context of the national terrains that mediate or even accentuate global pressures....
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In 2010, 18 employees working for Foxconn in China attempted suicide. These shocking events focused the world's attention on the manufacturing supply chains of China's export industry and the experience of working within them. What had driven these young, migrant, assembly line workers to commit such a desperate act? This article provides a first-h...
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China's capitalist transformation offers us a non-Western perspective to understand the contradictions of transnational capital mobility, the working people's lives, and the changing role of the state. This economic and social transformation continues to require the acceleration of a specific proletarianization-successive generations of rural migra...
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In 2010, a startling 18 young migrant workers attempted suicide at Foxconn Technology Group production facilities in China. This article looks into the development of the Foxconn Corporation to understand the advent of capital expansion and its impact on frontline workers’ lives in China. It also provides an account of how the state facilitates Fox...
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Industrial democracy in China : with additional studies on Germany, South-Korea and Vietnam / Rudolf Traub-Merz and Kinglun Ngok (eds.) - Beijing : China Social Science Press, 2012 - 329, 275 S. = 10 MB, PDF-Files - ISBN 978-7-5161-06665-5 Electronic ed.: Shanghai ; Bonn : FES, 2012. - - Chinese and English script URL: http://library.fes.de/pdf-f...
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A startling 13 young workers attempted or committed suicide at the two Foxconn production facilities in southern China between January and May 2010. We can interpret their acts as protest against a global labor regime that is widely practiced in China. Their defiant deaths demand that society reflect upon the costs of a state-promoted development m...
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The financial crisis of 2008 brought many changes to the world economy with China seeming to stand out as one of the countries best able to weather the storm. There is a general belief that this is because China has a strong state which has reshaped the role of China in the new international division of labour and has the ability to resume its econ...
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The financial crisis of 2008 brought the world economy into a new stage. While the western capitalist countries suffered seriously, China seems to stand out as one of the few countries that could resist the economic tsunami. There is a general belief that this ability arises from China’s strong state which has reshaped the role of China in the new...
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On June 29, 2007, at the meeting of the 28th session of the 10th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, 145 attending party members voted unanimously in favor of the Labor Contract Law. Back in March 2006, when the government posted an initial draft of the law for comment on the Internet, officials received more than 190,000 responses...
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China's economic reforms since the late 1970s have brought about an unprecedented surge in internal rural to urban migration. Most transnational corporations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, the United States, and Europe, and their subcontractors, recruit millions of peasant migrants, in particular unmarried and young women, to work in exp...
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This 128-page publication published by the CCC International Secretariat includes feature articles on important themes relating to gender and labour rights and 17 profiles of women involved in different ways in the movement for garment workers' rights. This publication is part of a broader drive within the Clean Clothes Campaign to provide a gender...

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