China Seminar | 8 April 1998

Employment and Unemployment in China: Fact and Fancy

Weimin Chang Weimin Chang

China is determined to close thousands of state-owned factories in red ink and lay off millions of surplus workers to make the state industrial sector profitable within three years. This it hopes to accomplish against a background of a long cherished social stability. Due to that and accelerating sectoral shifts among industries and regions, unemployment has become the government’s number one problem and the people’s top concern. The increasing urban jobless and rural labor surplus are to test the country’s new leaders who are expected to usher the world’s most populous nation into the 21st century as a peaceful and growing economic force.

Weimin Chang is a senior reporter for the China Daily in Beijing. A native of Yinchuan, Chang has a master’s degree in journalism from the Graduate School of China, Academy of Social Sciences. He is currently a Freedom Forum Asia Fellow at the University of Hawaii where he is studying history and economics.