How many labour protests in 2015?

With no publicly available official data, here is what we know. China Labour Bulletin’s excellent Strike Map, the most widely cited source in news, logged 2,774 incidents for 2015, double the number of the previous year. Wickedonna, arguably the best informal source of protest of all kinds, recorded 10,425 cases of labour protests and demonstrations for 2015 – the largest category of protest, followed by those of property owners (6,625) and peasants (3,011). In addition, for reasons not specified, it separately counted protests by teachers, taxi drivers, public transport drivers and hospital employees – which accounted for another 800 labour protests. In a state media article in late 2015, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Security cited 11,007 incidents related to unpaid wages – still the single most frequent cause of labour dispute – just in the first nine months of 2015, a 34% jump from a year ago. Overall, we are looking at possibly up to 15,000 labour protests in 2015 (as possibly thousands more likely go unreported).

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