In 2002, a consortium that included the National Committee, The Asia Foundation, and Worldwide Strategies, Inc. was awarded a multi-year contract by the U.S. Department of Labor to run a set of programs to improve Chinese labor laws. The overall goals were to help strengthen the Chinese government's capacity to develop laws and regulations to implement internationally recognized standards of workers' rights, to promote greater awareness of labor law among Chinese workers and employers, to strengthen industrial relations, and to improve legal aid services to women and migrant workers. The National Committee's mandate was to work on legislative and labor inspection issues.

On the legislative front, the Committee focused on two important pieces of legislation: the Regulations on Labor and Social Security Inspection and the Labor Contract Law. The Committee organized a series of workshops at different stages of the drafting process of these two laws, bringing together senior legislative drafters and Chinese and international labor law experts. These were supplemented by study tours to the United States for legislative drafters and other senior labor officials and by labor legislative internships for mid-level labor officials. These information exchanges and technical assistance activities had a timely, positive influence and became part of the process of moving Chinese legislation forward.

On the labor inspection front, the Committee focused its efforts on curriculum and training. Workshops, study tours, curriculum development, and training-of-trainers (ToT) programs updated and upgraded the professional skills and training methodology of labor inspectors from a majority of China's provinces, strengthening the enforcement capacity of labor authorities.

The consortium worked with the Chinese Ministry of Labor and Social Security and others at the provincial and municipal levels, representative from non-governmental and educational organizations, employer and worker groups, as well as with international experts to implement education, training, and technical assistance activities. The project was designed to build an infrastructure based on best practices that are nationally replicable and sustainable and will be of practical and immediate benefit.


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