Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Review: China, Sweatshop of the World

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The new book, ‘China, Sweatshop of the World – The Coming Revolt’, is a vital resource for all socialists and trade unionists.

It is co-authored by Vincent Kolo and Chen Lizhi who are lead writers for the China Worker website (, a site run by supporters of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI). The Socialist Party is the Australian affiliate of the CWI. The book covers economic, political and social events in China.

The book (like the website) is jam-packed full of facts and figures that every activist should know about a country that is central to the future of Australia and the world.

The first chapter concentrates on the 260 million strong Chinese working class. It has been the cheap labour of the Chinese working class that has been a key driver in the international economic boom that has just ended.

Apart from the usual examples of horrendous conditions these workers face, Kolo and Lizhi clearly explain the apartheid-style hukou system that restricts the flow and the rights of migrant workers to the benefit of business. The importance of this system to big business in China is possibly not appreciated or understood by many workers outside the country.

The chapters ‘China at a Crossroads’, ‘The Rural Time bomb’ and ‘5th generation leaders unveiled’ offer a Marxist perspective on the political challenges facing both the ‘Communist Party’ leadership and the embryonic independent working class movement in China.

There are also single issue chapters on the Beijing Olympics, the Tibet and Xinjiang national questions and on Hong Kong.

The final chapter concentrates on the impacts of a slowdown in China on the world economy and the possibilities of a future explosion in internal working class struggle. The books’ central point is the importance of building a socialist voice inside China to pull together and organise the coming revolt.

Reviewed by Stephen Jolly

China, Sweatshop of the World – The Coming Revolt
By Vincent Kolo and Chen Lizhi, 2008
Published by, Hong Kong
$16AUD, available from the Socialist Party National Office


The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of the problems with capitalism. The Socialist strives to explain the systemic causes of this crisis, and reports about the issues that are important to working people. We also help to organise struggles against the powers that be.

We don’t receive a cent from big business or governments. Our work is fully funded by our supporters. Even if half the people who read our website every month donated a few dollars each we would raise thousands to help our work!

We need organisations of struggle now more than ever, so if you support what we do please consider making a donation.

One-off or regular donations can be made securely HERE.