Lu and Perry_the_changing_chinese_workplace_in_historical_and_comparative_perspective

Lu and Perry_the_changing_chinese_workplace_in_historical_and_comparative_perspective

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Unformatted text preview: 6I . £21 r77 ' ' ' Introduction. .7. ' ,‘The'. C-h‘afi'gin-g‘Chines'e ‘ a Workplace in Iffistggical and I. : CQmp'arafiVePers'pecfive . Xiabbb‘iaand-s-Iigobeth I. Pen? the find my: Maoist period. in: superior living etanderd round in Chinese cities we: iarz‘GI-y due to the danweisys’iem,. a bumpy“ state-owned workpiece hoite.(_s__,ehoois. factories, 'hospilnist govemgnent agencies. ind the-like) yfioaezempioyeu were guyntnteed - 1; variety oi'pefguis'itesyénied-té.fieasahfi in the eo,finti‘yside: teem jobs. niTord- able Housinmnsexpetisiv'e medical care, a ofitibsidies for evemhin'g from . tmnsfiofiation to 'nutrition. end}me fetit‘ehientyeo'sionsi Along-with {these economic benefits went poiiticii controls; the perry b'nnch at the-work-unit closely ifionitqred .lts‘;etfipioyees"pub[iE-nnd fieanal activities, wieiding an lstoflmeht onewuds ahd eviction:- to eneoghge‘poiiticiiiy acceptable behav. ior. Suctiinee'ntives, in turn, contributed 'to n nietive‘iy bigh' ievei oi‘uitun' sociai cider. Moréovu',’ when po‘puiu proteet; dig e'fupft; they'wereusuaiiy delimited by , theconfines-oflhe danwrf. . .1," ' '. a: ' -‘ ~ ‘ 2 ' ‘ .‘I'iie"\i{ork unit we: once go-egsentieiito daily-life in urbn'n China that peopie would 'say one ‘could 'be with'dut'n Job. "but notwithotit Ii lanwef. Unless one gained- the approvai'oi‘ one'n 'a’q'nwel, 1 pump eodtgi notn-eeix transfer to a - ' different unit..Un‘tii recently, one'cj0uid no t bum airiihe ticket or cheek into a' OZ ‘ impressive studies of industrial, medical, and 4 DANWEI ' I hotel without-a written letter of introduction from his or’ her work .unit. The danwe/ was the,.center of social activities, An individual belonged to a danwel. which was rcsponsibic for the politicaiand social well-being of its members. ' The significance of the Chinese work unit has attracted attention from jour- nalists and scholars alike. 'Thus‘fotmer New York 77m: correspondent Fox Butterfield as well as sociologists Martin Whyte and William Parish constructed their.influen‘tial descriptions of-urbari Chins around a discussion ofthe danwet'; technical units_are also readily. available.’ I 4 Despite widespread recognition of the importance ofthe danwel system. how- ever. there remain several unanswered questions. First is the issue of origins; _ Where did the danwei come from? Previous accounts assumed thatthe donwaf was either the product of Soviet inspiration in the [950s or a continuation of ‘ long-standing Chinese practice as exemplified in theoco'jia‘houschold registra- . tion~_ system of imperial days.’ .Yet until recently, little research. was actually directed at tracing the roots of this~key i'nstittttiom Part lofthisvolume. based upon new explorations into-the historicalantecede'nts of the dermal, presents V three different answers to the intriguing question 'ofon’gins. Sec’ond is th'e‘matter ofop'erations:_ What functions has the danwel actually served in China, and how do these replicate or differ from the role ofworkunits in other socialist and East Asian countries? Part liofthis volume puts the danwei in comparative perspec: tive through explicit comparisons with the soviet Union and Japan. Thirdis the. question‘ofchange: How is the donwel faring under the contemporary reforms?~ Are__ive witnessing the decline, maintenance. or transformation of this critical institution? Part iii addresses'the issue ofcontinuity and change with particular attention to economic functions. housing provisions, and labor mobility. I . As an integral part of the state socialist system in China, thegdrmwe! is not merely a subject for scholariy‘inquiry: it is also the target ofpractical reform policies. The state enterprise reform currently under way touchcs'on a host of issues relating to the danwel system: for example, property rights, social welfare, unemployment insurance, and labor mobility. Reforming the socialist work unit ' is deemed, by general consensus among Chinese officials and scholars alike, one of'thc most pressing tasks ot‘enterprise reform.’ ‘ . ‘. - ‘ Another significant component oft/admireme is targeted at nonenterpris'e'. administrative units. This type of dams! has been largely overlooked in the literature on the Chinese workplace. it is' by no means insignificant, hotvever. ' The sh'iye (nonproduction) or xirtgzheng (administrative) danwel comprises very | large sector ofCh'ina's political economy. Parallel to enterprise reform. but With less momentum and fanfare. an Overhaul ofthese units has also been 'launehed.‘. Heated debates over whether nonproduction units should be allowed to engage in/ economic activities have been raging for'some time, resulting in ambiguous and changing government policies. ~Following a wave of setting up profit-making 1 firms by ~stingzi-teng danwei. such registered firms numbered 487,000 by the end .t. ‘tmaooucno'u; THE cituicmo crmiaSa womataca“ s - - of 1992.111 increase of 88 percent 'ovsr the previous year. Most of the new firms were established'aficr an official call in June i992 to downsize administrative agencies by channeling more personnel into business.’ . ~ In short, an understanding of the dcnmi is essential not only in analyzing the ' foundations of Chinese socialism but also lri appraising the prospects for change. ~ As Perry and “Chen note inchapters‘ 2 and 4. labor unrest has escalated sincerthe announced industrial reforms ot‘the mid-l980s. Worker's'have registered unhap- pinessoverzthe threat to theirf'ironrieebowi" through covert resistance and overt protest, alike. Whether the Cliinese'leadenhlp pros/esable tolmplementits a. unbltiousrei‘ortns Will hinge upon a martial handlingoi labor'a concerns. With economic production, social wetthra, endpoliticai control'so thoroughly intertwined in the institution ofthe damve‘hchangaeni'alls unifiualiy~.c'omplicated challenges: " ' .What is the pantie” 5 Surprisingly, consideringng everyday-use", the concept of the danwel is not clearly defined in China. According to one o‘ttne most authoritative contempo- rary’Ch'incsc' dictionaries,’-Cihqi.:the word "dcnwef‘fhas two- basic meanings: Finn-it refers to a measurement unit; second, "it retersjto agencies, organizations. " or‘ dep'amnents within an agency or an organizatlon.,”.‘ Other dictionaries offer similar definitions] incommon parlance, hoivever, the word t’dcnwel" carries a much broader meaning. it refers not only to administrative units but also to other work units—including enterprisesretlil shops. hospitals. and schools. Because'ofthese broadconnotations. a practical problerhfor analysis arises! . Wh‘cnsomeone belongs. to afactorywith a hierarchy of shops and teams. which. level constitutes his or her danwenfl'he factory? The shop? Or the team? Obvi- ' ousiy size is not a good'crlterion; for'danweiVary' greatly in size”. A large danwei can have several thousand employees, encompassing a number of smaller units. . , More promising is a functiotialud'efinition. A dcnw'el. we suggesttis‘a work'unit- that exhibitsthe foliowing‘atuibutcst. ‘ ‘. '. ’ V i a ‘i. Personnel power—usualiyincluding 'the right to hire, fue, and arrange ‘ "transfers. A dame! controls the dossier: of its employees, which play. a key. role . - in personnehrelated matters. sometimes. however. eyen. when a lower unit eon- ' trois dossiers, important personnei'd‘ecislons are made by its superior unit. ' 2. Communal/belittle: (ofieni'in‘ the form‘of "a compound with living quarters physically separated from the outside by Wiley—including residential housing. _'dining hall. health'clinic, fleet ot‘cars. and other basic service facilities.‘ I l r 3‘. Independent account:- and budgets. 'Smail unlls within'a large dan'we! ye ' not generally regarded as‘domvel if. they do not .(légaily)‘ maintain “par-stay, - books. ' ' ‘ Mei, ex 't ' 4. Urban or noncgrtculnrral purview. A rurai commune «village was nevi‘rfo ' regarded as a dowel. On' iha other hand” state-owned industrial plant located in a mill area is considered a donut. 'r 3-“ '6 rm 'v‘f'..‘ll~‘lst:'. .. .memi ' ~ » -i-- IE 6 DANWEI ‘ 5.‘ Public sectar. The original meaning of the danwe! encompassed only work units that were govemrhent agencieis'jo‘romcial organizations. Later the term was extended to all types of units more public sector. Although the distinction became somewhat meaningless when-"private businesses virtually disappeared during the Maoist era, in the post-Mao reform period it is clear that some of the fimctions performed by traditional ddnwe! are not fulfilled-by private businesses. , '4 Taxonomy ot‘thebanmi ‘. China‘s workplaces are organized-ina- oat-her complex i'ashion. They form the most basic component of the alien cortittsing'stt‘aorioo (vertical) andkuoikuai (hori- zomai) relations‘i‘or which the‘Chinese'buaeauc'rncy ist‘amous.’ Their organizational = iiuldiry‘ (frequent mergers or elimi‘natidnot‘ounits, creation of new units. ete.),' has . » - prevmted‘thc compilation of accurate.330't‘ii'cial'statistics_ on the number ofworit units . in China. The government anhouncedthatjtthuld conduct‘the first comprehensive national survey oi'basic work units on 3 l, l996.’ ' -' The ambiguity surrounding the status offthe danwe! is heightened by sectoral . variation. For example, a l99l study -i‘ound'a'significant-correlation between ownership dil‘l‘eren‘ces in work units and employees' social status and material ' benefits. Resources varied substantially among state. collective, andprivate'see- _ i tors. while higher stems. and benefits Were ‘e‘hi'oyed by employeesat state admin- 4 ‘ istrative agencies.” ' . . I g ' I « Further confusing the position of the don-Wei isthe fact that all work units are assigned certain administrative ranks by higher authorities. The ranking co‘ni‘e'ra particular privileges and treatment. For example, access to government-or party circulars and internaidircetives is limited by such ranks. The factory manager of a lower-ranked enterprise is not permitted to‘ read circulars that are available to upper levels oi'the administrative hierarchy-Under the reforms. thisran'lting also affects the ability of various danwe! to compete successfully for markets; raw . materials, and low-interest loans from the state. Units that enjoy higher adminis- trative rank or are affiliated with a higher .govemment bureau generaliy‘fare a s better than thoseol‘ lower rank.“ To redress some of the- problems associated with administrative rank designations, it was'decldedin l995 temporarily to replace unit-based ranks with. personal ranks assigned to the unit's main leaders; eventually these are to be supplanted by functional classifications." ' in an effort to.lcut through. some ot‘th'ese ambiguities;.we propoae a cross- w ' cuttingtaxonomy of Chinese work units classifiedsiong lines of operation . and status in the administrative hierarchy. _. - " ‘ Operations- V _ l. Qi'ye donwei'. or enterprise units. This category covers all units engaged in ' production orvprofit-making. Factories. retail shops, trading firms. and so on I lar budgets from the state. mopuc'noru: moim‘cmrtass vwomtnca 7 .belongto this category. According toz'ane set oiot‘iieial. figures. there were ’316,875 units of this sort irL‘t99'D." At the endot‘ l'994._ the enterpn'se units . employedlliiJmiilion people.“ a -2. Slaiye danwei. or nonproduetion;nonproiit'fitits. This designation includes scientific‘researeh institutes, educational lnstltutlohs,‘ as well as government- sanction'ed social and professional organisations (e.g',, the Consumer Rights As- _'~ sectarian),-healttiiservices, cultural organisations; and athletic organizations. By . {official-figures, as of 1995, there'were mbre than'izli-‘miilion units in this eate- rgoryilh'i‘his remains the’iarg'est ot‘ ail'three main typesot‘unimcmploying more than‘24‘million'pe9ple." Before. the fiscal reforms ofthe i980s,,the budgets of these units Were allocated by the state (Ministry of Finance). Since the reforms, - however. the Ministryo'i'finance no longer provides budgetary hands to local sliiye danwei. This ia't‘hu's avzaector in flux'. it haa been 'ahrinking‘ because of the conversion of many shots-dame! into self-supporting, profit-generating entities no longer dependent upon..th‘e state budget or subsidies. Many banks, post of- i‘tee's, and railroads and'aorne_researeh institutions have been convened to qiye donwei‘in thisproceas. such 'ret'orms'have achieved mixed results. however. . ‘ f "While somenonproductionuunlts'wete able to eonVen fully to q'iye danwei, others haveeithershed. thelrprevlous" serviee wing "entirely or have been rele-. fitted to “tertiiryp'roduetion‘l (dlra'n chonye) still a'iiiliatedylthnhe mother unit ' ' -' in oneway or another, Despite these developments. the size of ail/ya densest functionaries h'a‘s‘ QUtpach'thje,growt.lt in-other types I ‘ _ of units. in Hanan province. for example; between‘l986 and 1991 the number of Stall" in the":ltiye danwei' incre'ase‘dvzm- percent whiiestati' in administrative units grew by 17.7 percent and nonproductionIatafi‘in'enterprise unitsinereased by only-3.2 percent.” 3 --3.-Xin’gsheng danwel, or administrative units. in 1990, there were 253,587 sueh'units." At the end or 1994. lo million people were employees of adminisg. Tuative units." This category'is' ohenjconhised with silly: doom! for an obvious -, reason: Administrative units .are also nonproduction and nonprofitentities. Sometimes they ate. pagardedas a subcategory of thesh'iye danwel. But because ' -.adr‘ninist:.‘ative units have’thelr-owncharweristics and involve state power. they should beitreatedas a'separate'type. included under this rubric are government agencies.massorganizatiOns '(e'.g-.. the Women’s Federation. Communist .Youth League, Federation of‘i‘rade‘ Unions). and other organizations that receive regu- " '~ ‘Hierarchicaisréttts ' ‘ Zlaongyangdanwe'l, or centra'i‘unltai Theae‘u'nits may be lo'utedin Beijing 'or in any province; What distinguishes them from local units'is' that their initial ~ investrnent came from the eentraigoa/emment (hence their revenues were remit- I ted' to the central government), and their operations are usuallyunder the super- . vision ofa certain ministry (or ministries) in Beijing. Although the "reforms have 38 8 DANWE/ changed some previ in l9-90. . - . 2. Dyeing dan'wel, or'iocai units. Unlike the centrally controlled units. these units were set up by and controlled by local governments. Before the reforms. the fiscal and financial treatment of‘lo.ca*l;:antil‘ central units were quite different.“ ' There were 276.758‘iocal production. unitse-‘B-‘Z’Or3‘7252 nonproduction units, and 25-l.293'administrative units in l9.9.0;’° ._ ~ _ I t 3. Jiceng'donwel. or basic units. Thi'sis a'gene'ric't'ennappiied to all unitsat the bottom' end of the command chainin'the-EGh’ines'c;politicalhierarchy. Grass- roots policy implementation and political. mobilization“ Were-carried out by these lower-level units (referred to. in the literature an'thbSOV'iet'lJnion as “cells"). Functions and Characteristics oi the Dantvei The danwe! is not merely a ot‘workplace;.bute'aa-long‘standing and multifac- eted institution that has served many purposesr-i‘oréthc regimeraecauseit is' so embedded in the larger sociopolitical-system any-c" stage" in its operations inevi- tably affects other aspects oi” the system. The-fun ions of thc‘ddnw'eifilan be h ‘e'setwo hinctio‘nsmay'be- characterized as "paternalistic" snd.“-mate'rn"'ali'rt c ‘ respectively. As in a tradi- divided into two main areas: political and tools children. while at the‘same_time serving as a materbil’providcr oi'carc and daily [ iional familypthc donwe! acts as at patriarch who-disciplines and sanctions his necessities.“ Political Funcrlons The danwei operates as a tool of the state for orgaiii-‘z‘inghand controllingttrban . society. it was through the dam: that the' state mobilized thclworking popula- tion for political participation. With the notable exceptioncf the CUil‘ut‘fli.R€YO-. lution. urban political campaigns have generally beengorganized and carried out at the unit level. Other public policies are a‘lsoimplemcnted. through work units. For example, the family planning program has operated most eiTectlvely at the unit level. Among people without a regulatdoriwci. by contrast, the program has proved difficult to enforce. . . ‘ ' The danwei-a‘llowcd the Maoist state to,tnonitot the pol-iticaLloyalty of its (citizens, particularly party members. Each unit was responsiblet‘or its members; the activities of members when outside their units were also reported back to the unit. in this way, the regime was able to inhibit (albeit not entirely prevent) large-scale organized opposition. Protest: in .China during the Maoist period: were mainly what David'Strand has termed '“ccllular protests," because. “the limited eonuet'seross unit boundaries.”- Qniy at a few"criticaljuncntrpsiegi, the Hundred Flowers campaign. the shunnilan phase of the Cultural Revolution. the "Campaign to Criticize Lin Biao and Confucius") dld cross-danwel collective ously existing arrangements”. "there were 52,058 such units - . t M'RODUQTQNE ma grandma cimma WORKPLACE. '9 actions pose a seriousthreatto the'mginie. For thcimost part. "cellular protests" demonstrated the key roieloi'the dcnwel system in structuring and restraining. mass t-hobli[ration]:I .HOWCVGX, ltls clear that recent market reforms have greatly reduced the effectiveness of such political controls by the damvel.“ , { Work units have also limited the mobility. oi'_thelr'ernployecs. Without proper P ermiss‘i‘on duly ‘noted in their dossiers (dong‘cn), employees, could only dream about a job-nanst‘er.-Tbe importance ot‘the personal dossier can hardly be; over- estimated, One report suggests :that there. are at least:i‘orty different kinds of _ activitiesf—fr'anging frontq’ulttingajob toopenl'ng one's own business to taking part in m"exunination7that,mquirefit‘erenceto one?) dossier.” Even alter the - market reformsbeig'an to take'holiona still needed "proof of resignation" front: one's previous employer. to obtain [license-to operate a priva'tei'buslness. Person-. nel powei remains one of the,._-n-to_s_t potent weapons in the Janwei‘s arsenal of political controls. Social Functions- ,' .The dam! a'lso servesjmportant socioeconomic needs by offering pcrma- nent employment and attendantsbeneflts. The'weiisre provisions-oi the dan- wei have becomesoeomprehenslv‘e over theyears tha’tlwork units operate as sell-sufficient and niultllttn,c‘tional,soc‘lal communities; Each danwei came - to constitute a_ “small society'! (siaouheitul) with little_need for intemnlt ex- changes. The daniyei-was instrumental in reducing the pressure ofut’oan unem- ployment by absorbing the ncwwo'rking-populatiOn lntemally.=lt-also provided ‘ benefits for retirecsi'lngeneral.‘ it helped to lighten the state's burden oi‘social 3 well‘are.and;entitlement'provislons. ~ Xiaobo irtlsnd Wen-hsin Yeh-in-chapteta'll and 3 in this'volumc trace the. development of communal welfa’rc functions back to the wartime period. ex- I. plaining it as a response toieconomicexigencies. Others. like Elizabeth Perry, stress the political considerations behind :the Chinese» Communist Party's (CCP's) effort in the l9_5,0s“to assume the welfare and insurance. functions of. - . traditional lsbor organizations and thereby displace their authority." Whatever the origins. it is clear;that-ihe welfare ninetions became increasingly systema--. tized after the establishmentoi the People's Republic of China (PRC) in i949, as . social services were gradually extricate'd tram-market" forces. _ . , The welfare htnctions of-work units are not-uniq'ueto China. As Anita Chan, Rudra Bill and Kenneth Straits point out in chapters 4. 5. and 6, analogues can be {Bond in Japanese and.Soviet enterprises. Barry Naugbton inchspter? proposes - ' that the provision oi" Welthre should'b‘c‘ seen .asa definingfeanti-eiot.‘ socialist 2 firms, which engage in a hodzonts'li"bundls of activities.” in contrast to market- oriented firms, which operate on the premise oiavcrtlcsl chain of activities. in . the socialist firm, a production organization is transformed 'into'a social commu- I nlty. But comparison. to the Soviet industrial units, which many Chinese enter- EZ ‘ lic",(gorrg) is regarded as anything that "isa l0 DANWEI prises were modei_e_d..ai’ter,valso res/"cc “some major differences. One area of divergence is _in'rea_l-estate property-rig stniike rinlhe Soviettinion. where urban housing was-controlled by municipal gov’emments, Chineseworkunits controlled 90 percmt‘of urban pub’ilczhou'siing—Ldespite the fact that before l978 most investment in urban housing‘caméifibm the state. In the Chinese case, only l0 percent ofurban public housing Waisim’ahi’a‘g'cd by local governments? Afier the reforms began; the. pressure for units allil'oc'ate‘firnds tobuild-xnew housing actually increased because of.a reduction tnfl'direct state 'appropria't‘i‘onsi‘for, this . purpose. Between 1979 and 1986, scifirai'sied funds 'by units to build housing' accounted for 60 percent. ot‘ the total-investment in new.hous_ing.".5lncethe” mid-i980s, units havefbecn even more pressed to come up with their own houa- ‘ .' ' ‘ lng funds. ‘ - l . I y . -. The housing-issue touches on'a longzstan'diri’g'prdblem in socialist China—the muddled distinction between the state’and outside the private domain (sn'of the individual or family'..'-l'he stat'e isnot distinguished from the public; it Is the. public.‘ However, the ,"mlnor public? of shards-ram! constituted a dilfi‘erent‘kind oi' - ‘ - ‘ ' gong,- which was in some ways" at odd»s-wit}h'thestatc. or'f‘greatcr public" The ‘ "minor public" is not simply lan'a'bst-ract': eoncept. lt‘is,possessed of both a: ' attgimejs referred to as ""small group- superstructurH “minor public mentali‘ ism,“ "depanmenta'iism,f‘~ ".unitism."'or i'.dispersioni_sm")—-vand an infias'tr'u‘c- ' I tu‘re—-assets and retained revenues. .' ~ , . I , . ‘ .‘ . _Ever since the l9503, the state has .launche. acontinuing series of inspections and investigations oithe revenues" retained by work units. “Small .eot'l‘ers." as ' they‘are called, continue to nourish, however. The actual control-of assets and revenues by the danwel is so extensive thatcne' might argue that the main .form of property rights in China has long.been “work unit ownershipf rather than state ownership. According to official statistics from the Bureau 'of State Erop- ' erty':Managcmeni. the assets controlled by admini‘str-ative'and‘nonproduction units that should actually belong to' the’ state amounted to 892 billion yuan by the endof 1993.29 Currently the government pushing fora clear accounting and - systematicreg‘istmtion of work unit assets.Jo i‘f-successfiri, this effort would mark the first time in PRC histot'ylthata legally defined distinction between state and .danwei assets in a public unit has been enforced? Because of its reliance on work units forboth political control and welfare, ‘ 'the state has to date been unable to control ihc'financcs ofwork units. The state's _ ' -' delegation ofpublic'goods provision to_the units-has proved bothfaciiitative and obstructive in the transition to a market economy. The relative autonomy ofihe ~dan'wel encouraged units to‘take theiinidative‘ in adapting to new market condi- . tions- and allowed the state to reduce drastically its budgetary supportfor many projects. At the same time. the lack of 'a‘ccritralized weli'ire system and dwin- '.dlin'g state financial support created bottlenecks, 'forcing the state to delayits much-publicized state-owned enterprise reform program and inclining~ Work e-danwei. 'in Chinese society, "pub— . . ' .rrmtooucnoN: ma wooio‘cnnrssa w‘oaxrmca 11 units to seek additional extra'budgetary revenues. Caught in between diminishing ' state fundingand pressure from an increasingly mobiie labor population (includ~ lng people ieaving their denim and n'on‘urban residents coming'to the city in search of work). municipaiau'thorities find themselves unable to provide needed ', social services. This has generatednew tensions-vbetween-urban dwellers and the . so-called r‘loatingpopul'a'tipn, aspo'roth'y Soiihgerindicates in chapter 8.. Perhaps the' most distinctive'ieamre 'ot‘ the dome! is its encapsulation as a. . , .‘fcomr‘nunity and socia'l'ceil. insome cases, the physical separation by brick walls sis matched by an invisiblesegregation as wall. As one geographer has noted, ; [Wihen anew dcnwe! is slatted, avail-building is the:frrst- step in construc- ., itibn, not the last as is common ln‘North Arneriea. Buildings-relating to it are ' faced inward rather than outward'either' by- making a,.repara_te wall or by arranging the individual parts to achievathe same effect. Such spatial arrange- ments create taprotec'ted area within, aboundary effect-{and a means ofexciud-‘ . ing outsider's._i-'_rpm the'ghlriese pointofvlew; the enclosure ofplace makes it proper and recurs—conduciw to effective social interaction and to organiza- tion oi‘actit‘itles-wlthih, ... it excludes those who are not members. while at the‘ nine 'iime it provides a basis for integratingthosa within it into an effective - social, economicgfiand-politlcal unit”: . - ‘ ' . ‘ " 1‘ 'Ti'be consequences lot“ such célluiarlzatlon of Chines‘e'aociety are both internal and external. inside. asAndrew. Wilder noted in-‘hls study of urban industrial units, members become dependent on thc'unit for both political and economic resources.” Externally. urban .unitsuare separated from one another and from mml-communitiEs..Because these enclosedentities.resemble traditional agricul- tural communities. urban danwei are sometimes referred to as “village's within a elty"—th,e title of: popu'i‘rrr-movie in the early l_980s.n ' ' ' “ in- the' "Ihird'_Frdnt" effort to relocate defense industry to the interior‘during the Cultural Revolution,” the basic character of the Janice! was not aitered by the rural sening.‘ Nor‘did these transplanted enterprises make much of an impact . on their‘new enviranmnr Consider the case of ,'a' large state-owned weapons ‘ factory with some'five thousand employees, which was first established in the remote mountains of Shaanxi province in 1968. m factory was-situated in a 1 poor agricultural area sun-bonded bytluceyilia‘ges, Under normal circumstances, ' a large industrialestablishm:nt'of this's‘ort would stimulate the total economy; HoweVer; in’ this case the'i'ietory was entirely seli‘nsufficient. Not only did it operate its 'oy’m entertainment facilities forlempioyees,‘ but 'it also ran its own '. _' dairy. retail shop, and'vegetsbie and pig'far'rnsricocai peasants were given no access to'these services..and ény co‘nta‘ct behveen‘the‘hvbaeparate 'comrriunities 'was confinedto con'iiictl’ - - ~ - The encysted character of the'daniv'ei has become sn‘aceepted feature of the-I system. People speak ofevents as occurring "out in society" (shehulshang), as if ' their oWn danwetrwcre entirely separate 'from the wider social environment. To ' VZ 12 DANWEI the working population, the dnnwei is s'een'moreiasa self-regenerating commth nal and welfare entity thanas an organizationthatprovides products and services . for society at. large. it is this somewhat unique simati‘oHifithe danivei hold- ing independent interests that sometimes con-flictlwith those ofthe ata'te, yet remainingoutside "unorganized" society-Jihat'pt‘omptsus to emphasizetheiam. . biguous status ofthe work unit vis-A-s'tis both state andsociety. Historical and. Comparative Perspectives. -- The chapters that follow examine theChinese-worle'unit in historical and-com- pa rative e’c‘ntext. Pan l. focusingon the question oforlglns..provides'thr_ee quite _ u ' different—yet complementary-*xplanations for the derivation of the donwel . system. - Xiaobo Ltl locates historical antecedents of the danwei in the free supply ' _ system and; related practices ofeconomle‘ self-reliance that"_ernergcd in the Com-l »' munist base. areas during the revolutionary-war years. Top'rovide 'for the liveli- hood of their members, administrative and. military -unit.'s were encouraged-to . engage in production and permitted to retain lairpro'p'ortl'on of their revenue! as collectiveassets'..This development createda realm'ofthe f‘smell public" that Lt: I sees as the “institutional foundation for units to pursue their own tangible.inte‘r-' ests. legitimatelyor illicitl'y."-Ld traces the continuation- of these practices into the post-1949'pcriod, when, especially during times ofeconomic duress. ddnwe! assumed major economic and welfare responSibilities. " . Wen-h‘sln Yeh, by contrast, highlights-the urban. nonecommunist-forerunners of the a’anwet. Through a case study ofShangh'ai’s Bank of China. Yeh details" the development in thc‘l'9305 of a. communal cofporateteultu're‘in vvb'ich limost'. boundaries between the private and the public, the person'a‘iand- the professionaii. I . were erased." At the bank, work'noutines were supplemented bys heavy: ached-r ulc of social activities, including reading clubs, group dinners, studylsocleties, and sports. A moral philosophy. that stressed paternal authority-endemphasized the character and behavior of employees, in lieu ofmateria‘l incentives, pervaded he banking organization. Unlike the free supply system,,o_t‘ the Communists- :tudic'd by Xiaobo LO. the Republican banking communities were concerned less vlth the provision of basic livelihood than'with the creation of _a new comrtwhity . w ulrure. Although the wartime experience politicized this process and discredited 1e authorityof the corporate patriarchs. it did not ,undennine;.the.besic moralisnt tat had come to infuse corporate life. This, a‘ccordihg to Yeh. “eased the transtg on into a sortof personalizcdgChin'eseacommunism thatcombined collective adershlp with institutionalized familiaiism." - ' . . .. - . . A third interpretation is offered by Elizabeth Perry. Like Ltl, Perry associates e origins of the danwe! with pro-i949 Communist acthtties. Like Yeh, how,- 'cr. she searches't‘or these.practices not ln‘the rural base areas but in the etties. nd unlike both Lil and Yeh‘. she highlights'the labor movement—specifically - . “pup-5.. -- . | 3:277 ‘.' ~53; sect-"21m lift" ‘ I I tions andchanging socioeconomic ‘conditions'in the two countries. '- .INRODUCTION: CHANGING WORKPLACE 13 that .w'ing of the: Shanghai labor movement domihated by skilled anisans and. Closely‘linked to the Communist Parry—{n giving rise to the danwei system. Leadersef this labor movement tom the 1920s on, most notably-Ll Lisan and Chen Yun,‘ pla'yed's-key rolc_ln. p‘ut‘tingftogetber defining components of the , danwel system_’,a'ner 1949. Yet, according to my. the institution of the dart- we‘i—like the laborlmovement ltseit'éwas divisive. creating ';'a' guli‘benveen the. " haves andhavelhota‘ofchlnesesocialism that basil'ltelecl major ‘ab‘ilte waves in -. . every decade ofChina's. historysince‘l939." I . ~ " ' .' Dissimilar‘as their explanations are, the. chapters dealing-with'origlns high-' I . light specifically Chinese roots of the deny/El. by contrast, the contributions in ' . Part II oftbis volume provide 'a' comparative context. The chapter by Anita Chan ‘ . examines the Japanese citpel‘lenee;.'wliile'.the chapter: by R'udra Si! and Kenneth I Sinus l'ool: ai the Soviet exemplar. .‘ A .' ' ' ‘3' f , r. ‘ . . - Ass“. notes, ceriaiin aspects of _the swat (e45; the ‘attempt to combine '- production ntnctlona with a patemallstlc-ionn‘of community) are commonly round in the isotory system of other 'late-indushjializing countries. Moreover,_. smo‘ng Communist nineties—where thestate enterprise ms nude responsible i ffor beth welfare provision andfpolltlcalcontrol-additional similarities. can be ' detected. Nevertheless; it“ clear'that aueb_'a‘mnltlea have evoIVed'fi-om the exigencies of industrial development rather‘thanftom Communist theory. The ' - writings.ot‘Me'rx,'Lenin'. Stalin‘and Mao offer fe'w guidesto thc'or'ganlzation of urban society. Both Soviet and Chinese practice emerged in improvisedfashlon, , w‘vlth similarities‘ahd'dii'l‘erencels reflecting the interaction of long-standing tradi- ,l RUdra Shasta-asses the'eanyover pints-a! collectiviat and egalitarian values in , ' . the factory social relations o'fprerevoiutionary Russia. Initially."aecording to Sill. -golshevlk lea.dcrs,hullt:upon:these nfot'ms'ln setting up factory councils and .- calling for an egalitarian wagepo'll‘e‘y'. Before l‘ongib‘otvever. economic difficul- ._ .ties convinced both Lenin'ahd Irolskyfol' the'needto stress factory discipline at V the expense‘of“worker"s cont’rol'f a‘nd‘ivsge egalitarisnism. Under Stalin, Soviet ._ " 'practice departed e'venrtimherg-t‘mrn cornr’nunltarian norms as power became‘ concentrated in the hands of'factory disectorslitnd differential wage‘ratesencour- ‘ f aged intnworlcercompetition. Such'deyelopments, Sil- argues. led to growing ' I alienation among the work fence.- ‘l'heiesson he for China is. thli't "before - replacing the" entire 'dtinwei systemsvith ftrmsmodeled alter those in "the West, Chineserei‘ormers should pay carenil attention to-the'legaci‘es they inherited, that is, the attintdes.'valucs.'and 'beh'avioral'nor'ms exhibited by ivorlters and their' supervisor‘sflI ' -"_ , a , . ,. ., . ' Kenneth'Stnus paints 'a‘somcwh'at‘ different portriit'of the soviet factory, emphasizing its role as provider oftbod. housing. recreational facilities. health. care, education. transportation, and so forth. Like Sil, Straits-notes that the Stalin; . . - is: factory wielded considerable, diselpllnuy powen'over its workforce. As a ' _‘ functionally specialized institution-it was a world apart from the traditional """‘tm-iiig‘di'hmpl’ifl‘udl-L'!v.1: tut . Imam-w ms. SZ 14 DANWE! peasant comniune. But Stratus-also notes that when managers succeededin ful- filling the basic socioeconomic needs of their workers, “the factory roalized its potential as a poivérfiti'uhiflihg social force. a ‘community organizer.‘ " As in the Chinese danwet. a' clear'distijn'jetion developed. between “insiders” (who en- Joy'ed the privileges.availablefonly to regular workers) and "outsiders" (e.g..' temporary laborers whorv'vere denied aceess‘to quality housing, food. and other provisions). Straus concludes that-among those workers who benefited from factory welfare we 'ftri'd‘not anomie but “the creation of new social solidaritics." l The difference 'in emphasis bet-ween Sii and Straus is surely attributable in pan to the par‘iicular feamres ofithe.‘_$dy.iet factory system on which they focus their central attention. Whereas. Silemphasizes the failure of Soviet managerial. elites to "capture" the work force throughhietarehieal control and differential- rewards, Straus se'elts tolprovidega-i’morc' nuanced appreciationof the Soviet .- factory by highlighting the..rol_e~of~we_lt-‘are provision in recreating'solidariry at _' .the'workplace.-.Whetherye.prefeerif's stress on managerial hierarchy and - worker alienation or Strausls somew'ha'i‘r'nore po'sitiyeassessmentof the Soviet factory as “community organizer}: we stl-ll'do not find in the Soviet, case theI degree‘ofcither control 'or cOmmunity- that ischaracteristic of the Chinese den-'- 5! wet. The differences.- flaughtonsuggem in chapter 7| have much to 66 ~ " with the distinctlv'a economic foundation's ofwork units in the two countries. Anita Chan points. ou_t..that_the Chinese dame! departs in important respects from both the “market-oriented“system,of most Western economics (in which skill is seen as a demand-driven asset adhering to individual workers who are; potentially mobile) and the "organization-oriented" Japanese model (in which firms compensate their workers according to criteria other than .sitiii, expecting in return a high degree of permanency and loyalty). As1in Japan. the.‘ Chinese work unit is'marked byjob security. low turnover, and wages ratEs pegged to the personal attributes of the worker rather-than to skill levels pet to. But; as Chan - notes, in China the system was-intended to facilitate identification with the state . Iratherthan with theenterpriso. - Thisstate-oriented_employmentsystemishearguesmtid deleterious-socialand. l . economic consequences that helped set the stage for recent reform efforts. As the II ' reforms wont to‘ extricate Chinese enterprises from the constraints of the corn. .. mand economy and the restraints ofparty control, Chan detectsthe possibility-of . . a growing convergence between the Chinese and Japanese models. I I Where is the danwe! system heading tinder the impact of the current industrial . reforms? Part Ill exploresthis question-{mm several different, yet overlapping, angles. While Ban-y 'N'aughton pro'vides-agenenti overview ofthe, changing: - , _. _. ' economic. functions of. the danwel, Yanjie Him and his coauthors focus on lhe' .' critical problem of-u'rb'an housing. and Dorothy Salinger highlights. the equiliy . important issue oflaborgm'obiiity'an'd'control.. .v' ' l. _ ._ ._ -. ‘ Despite the similarities betweenthe donwe! and'aspects of enterprise systems in the former Soviet' Union and VJapan, Barry Naughton emphasizes the unique- ‘ - . .. '. .ur ' H ...'t.. «.1212. , y .:',t .. w...»- u v . mooucnom memo cr-tmasa WORKPLACE ts I ness of the Chinese situation. in-explainiog the distinctive features of China's dame! system, as. it emerged fitll blown in the mid-l960s, Naughton points to three factorat,the‘virtu_al ‘absence of labor mobility, substantial surpluses at the ~ enterprise level. and a streamlined administrative command in which many types ' of decisions were made bythe donwe! icadership. When the post-Mao economic reforms were first.-lmplerriented starting in the moi. the danwel system was achra'iiy strengthened?“ retirees were replaced‘by their own children and work uniu assumed. greater responsibility for housing construction. Over time, how. " I. ever. increased labor mobility and pressure horn competing industrial firms has been forcing state-owned enterprises toreoont'tgure their activities. The central leadership is ,reiuctant'to abandon the danwe! altogether because of the difficul- ties in imposing political control, the problems in implementing a national pen- sion system” and the like. Yet. concludes Naughton. “the most powerful. more handarnentsi,:and-inost long-lasting forces are'those that tend to undermine the donwefand push-the system toward greater marketization.". Dorothy Solin‘ger. in examining the question or labor mobility and control. 3 -. I-presents‘a'complei‘picturelnfwhlcli"bureaucratic. market, and petsonalistic ' forces interact to create a “transitional hybridization oftho firm." in the matter of I ; V Job reeriltlunent.‘ the market still plays-little role in determining who is selected for, employment in either the state or'nonst'ate sector. instead, bureaucratic regu- ‘latidns andpersonaiconncctions remain the determining. factors. in the matter of wotlter welfare; however. Salinger. detects. an important difference between state-owned firms. which continue to provide major benefits t'o'th'eir workers and i r township and \fiiiage or foreign-owned enterprises that represent a “throwback to the totally unregulated iaissez-faire capitalism of the mid-nineteenth century.” ' Soiinger does not see the decline of the dome! as ushering in a benevolent form of-welfare state capitalism. instead. she suggests that the floating population may be contributing- to the developmen't-ofaa‘infomul economy oflhc sort delineated .“'-_'by'Matiuei Ponce for other areas or the world: “A new _‘ societybasedphdre relationship betWeen unrestrained capital and primary soeittl‘ fnetw‘orks." - ‘ ‘ " ' " ' -As'Naughton‘acltriowledges.one o'f.the areas in which the raforms have made , .little headwayis housing allocation. That issue is explored in detail in the paper - by'Yanjie Bianand his'c'pauthor'af‘Bascd‘on surveys of the housing situation in :. two m_alor'chinese cities. (Shanghai and-Tianjin), Bian etai. argue that work ' unitsj‘continue to'reward'thei'r employees through the provision of housing and that "titers is, little reason to expect the. commodiiieation of housing to disrupt _ ‘1 thlsaspect ofthe system‘s operation." Despite differences betwccn the two eit- . leek Blah-Indieoauthorsfind that the housing reforms hav'clnot reduced the overallputhdriybt‘théflanflt. On'the' contrary, “writ units necessarily inter- I'lvene decisinly- in determining who hat'jcc'essto 'what kind of housing. and at IwhatpriceJ-f ' .- ‘ - f ‘I I .v ' In tho“. China’s industrial refonns‘may be'ereating' e situation in which a ar\”‘ _....,~,., t-ngiir‘n‘r:'tittfltfhiifiwilv'$3" 3' - mm“. 98 16 omwsl unbridled capitalism end personal to fill the gaps” len By s 9,3221: Chinese work unit imder retreating dam: system. ‘Ase recent stir reform concludes. [Riei‘orm hes elesrly broughtwltl'rQ every type. for both iefiltlmete,nnd I Among contndlctlory'trends 'we em 5 mercieiizetion' ol‘g-s'm‘n’x! on the do " (mostly kinship-based) ties on the o . framework will be sufficient to contiiii is" -=Wiil the Chinesesituetlon evolve into-something resembling the's‘lspenese as Anita .Chen suggests? Or will itidevolve into’the “disenfranchise'g , “"eé‘on'omies. es Dorothy Salin- ger implies? it is too early to predict with e'onit-‘iic‘iiiinée-‘tiie outcome of the adhere: reform effort. Whatever the'end result; however, there is little doubt that the . distinctive features of the Chinese socialist work unit will shape this historic prototype. I ‘ ment" of labor characteristic of msnytfiird we? transition. . ' - ' . .1 - Notes 1. Fox Butterfield. Chine. Alive In the Bitter-Sedmew' York: Times Books. [982); ‘ Menin K. Whyte and William L‘, Perish. Urhonlife. lmfientemporary China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1954). See else legendbinds-Matthews. One Bllllonrsl China Chranlcle (New York: Random House. 159.83-);g~>8rlntiy Womselt. "Trsnsligured Communiry: New Treditioneiilm end Work Unit Socisi m in Chins,f’ Chine Quarterly, no. 126 (June _i99i): end Corinne-Ruben anéig“? in the Chinese Workplnce" (Ph;D. dissenstlbn. Col'umbis 2. See. for example. . _ . Authority In Chinese Industry (Berkeley; University of Gs'lti‘omis Press. l986): Lowell Dittmer end Xisobo L0. "Person-l Politics in the Chinese Denwei Under Reform.” Arlen . 1993). l 0 Z. ‘3 Survey (March 1996); Mtyl‘tir Ymg, "Between State end-Society; The Constr‘uction of Corporateness in I Chinese Soelsliit'l’ectory,"{lustre/lonlournel efClIlneee (whip. no. 22 (1989); Gail E. Henderson end Myron S. Cohen; IMTCItlnere Hospital: A SociclLrt Work Unit (New Haven: Ysie University Press. 1984); White. Micropollriu In Con/empqrab» China: 'A Cultural Revolution (Amonh'NY: M.E. Sherpe._l9,79). 3. See Fang Weizhong, ed.. Guanyu gapheo gums: qiye‘dodloaelioiinvestlgelion‘on improving the operdtion of title-owned enterprises] (Beijing: Zhengguo wenshl chuben'she. i995.intemsliyeireull'ted). ' ' " - 4. There have been some dis'eusslons those units in the medil end seedemic Joumtis. See. for example. Jingflrlb‘eo {Economic daily]. Jenuery—Msy i993. 5. See Shehul‘iSociel'Ylmo. t'(1994j. s . , - 6. See Clhol [Word oeun] (Shenghlkfihenghsl eiehu chubsnshe. l-979).-28H9. .~'7..See Hanyu do cedlon [A dictionary. of-,Chineee]'($hsnghsl: Hsnyu decedisn I .chubenshe. l989).voi; 3.417. ‘ - ‘ Liebenhel'md Devid M. meton. Burraue‘nry. Politic: and. , 8. See Kenneth te'stesisot‘int‘ortnslconnectlons of. I“ _ '. (onoutrighterimlnsi) activities. - ' the .eontmt between the‘com- thhi resurgence of-ptimordlel estion is whethertheessistlng ‘cero'ue proliferation”: - fl‘ xes of Power end Dependence Andrew G. Weider. Communist-Web-n-oe'frlonalirm: Work-and Marc J. Bieeher'end Gordon... 'Tecfin‘lcol Uni! During and Afle'rjrbe Ion reforming theopers'tlon end mnctio'ns'oi‘ I I ~u .— MODUCUOM ms CHANGING cram; womucs , t7 Dechian'oMaHnglnParlpyoo Chlo'g-(Bes‘héleyt'Uniyefiityi'ol' Csill'ornii Press. l992); end Kenneth .ieberthslsnd Micheipbeoberj, Polley Making in Chlno.‘ Leader's, Struc- j tum end'Froeesser (Princeton: liriliée_ten,.llnlv'erslry “(1988);- , 9. Re'nmln Hboo. MlthU. l996.'. . .. .. ' . ' to. Nets Lin-end'tienjie Slut, “Getting A.th tnumn Chine." American Journal of ' ’,sociolog...91.np.3movember19912657.". . . ll. See ZheoChenhs. "Jlejue-qiyemengzhenflibiehm tie gouxitng”.(ideu on . solving theprpbi'ernof edmlnisrntive uniting oi'v‘enterprii'eeii Deny/on yanflu nelson ‘I '[lnte‘rnsl‘rei’eren'eesonthlidlnflmo.“1993).; . ' ' . ‘ ' ' ' - .12. Renniln dbeo,'N6v'e'rnber8'. I995. ‘ .2 - . . . .3 -' * 13. Zhonx‘xvo loaders: tong/Inlay!” (199,0- [Chlnele iebor etntinlcs ynrbook].(Bei- I ' ling: Zhonmse leodong ehubenshe. 1991'); figures steltm 1990 end ell unitebeleng tof- the.publle_s_eetor.} . 4 .I - , _ .. .. - ' e -' l4. Ch’lnqedtertrilcell’éerbeok(l995)(8eljlnx:nonnuotondlehubmsh‘e.I995). . . l5. Rentals! rihoo.Novernhet.§.‘l995. : . , u.’ 4' ' . ._ . ., f i6. Chlnue'Stdmtleel 2?ch (1995): 'I _. . . ' _ i7. flange ztnpheng pen]! [Admlohts'sdon' sod mmegement in ChlnII-(luly - Imus-.33. .. . , -- ,.- . ., ' is; lbid. . ' ' l9. Chlnen flattened! Yeorjbook' (.i 995); .29.i§ld. U ' :, - ' . 2i. See Dire-net end Le. 'Penonei Politice'in the Chinese Denwei.” 22. stld Strand. “Protest in Beijing: Civii'Soeiety end mite Sphere in Chine," : 'Problen-u onggnmyndrmlMey—Jung [990)1'1-19. ' t 23. See. for exunrsie. so interesting mdy‘hy Sebude'n Hellmsnn. "lhe Soeisl Con- text ot‘Mobilizetion in Chins: Factions. Werk.Unlts.-tnd-Actlvltts During the 1976 April .Flith Movement: Chineliifiahnethn. nee. sutures, 1993-94). 24. See Dittmer and 2.0. “Personal Politics..in-tbe Chine-e mee‘i." 25. Gtiengrrilng r!be'o;‘Deeeerer 22. 1993. '. a . r‘ ' 26. For simiier ugumentsj'ree Kenneth'Lieberthel.’ Revolution on'dllhodltlon In" nenuln (SanfordzsmlerdUniyefiity Pressyi98’0); La Fengv'TheDsigim'md Forms-' 7 tion of the Unit.(Dsn‘wei) System! Chlnuesoeletx andlnrhropolog. 25, no.3 (1993). - .27. flangguo chenghljloruhe [lion/Ion (Yahoo!0! when development in Chins. . .i986—87] (Beijing:_Zhong'gfio]iit_isliu chubenshe. l9”). . ’ I ’ ‘ I ‘28. lbid.' " - - , , g ‘ . 29. Kenn-tin rib“. December‘ls, 1925.3; 30. ibid. , . " ' ‘ ' 3|. E.M._3}otitiundi'1he.penwelt So'clo-Spttlt‘l Cherieteristies or Work Units in' . Chins's um: Societyfiseonomlc‘ gummy; 62, no. i (1986). p.211 " -' - 32. Welder.CommunbrNIB-Mltlongllm, ‘. . i-'_. , 533. Yen: Zlitngqiso. “Lunflso'ng’gtto éheisgshl shehui'detezh'eng" [Chmcten’stlce ol- .Chlnese drivensociety].Tomeffitplorstlbn],'oes§ (l938).' I. . . 34. On the ‘lhird Front-see Berry Nittghten-“The‘ Third‘Front: Defenu'lndmtrielin- ' ' . lion in the Chinese interior," Chino Quarter!» no, -‘l l 5 (September )9“); end Neughton... "‘Industrlll Policy During the mmmtmtudev'ls NN-Pmeerlve: on Me‘Culrurol. . Revolution. ed. .Willilrn‘loseph-et el. (combs-id“; Hemrd UanersIty Press. l99l). ' - 35. Li Zonal. "We seem! de‘sheq'u'? me-eemrnuolmlilve lnj.$bo§ul. no. 2 (1-985): ‘ ' ' 220-23. . - ' '36. Dimermd torment isolltlee'lotherlnm Denwei." 1 ' ...
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Lu and Perry_the_changing_chinese_workplace_in_historical_and_comparative_perspective

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