• Ambivalence and Activism: Employment Discrimination in China

      Webster, Timothy (2010-08-01)
      Chinese courts have not vigorously enforced many human rights, but a recent string of employment discrimination lawsuits suggests that, given the appropriate conditions, advocacy strategies, and rights at issue, victims can vindicate constitutional and statutory rights to equality in court. Specifically, carriers of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) have used the 2007 Employment Promotion Law to bring legal challenges against employers who have discriminated against them in hiring. Plaintiffs’ relatively high success rate suggests official support for making one prevalent form of discrimination illegal. Central to these lawsuits is a broad network of lawyers, activists and scholars who actively support plaintiffs, suggesting a limited role for civil society in the world of Chinese law. While many problems remain with employment discrimination, China has made concrete steps toward repealing a legal edifice of discrimination stretching back decades, and reshaping both policies and attitudes to eradicate discrimination in the workplace.