Human Rights Principles and Role of the ILO in Relation to China


Discuss the Human Rights Principles and Role of the ILO in Relation to China.


1.0 Introduction

Human rights principles protect the fundamental freedoms and rights of the human beings, which belongs to everyone in the world. International Labor Organization (ILO) deals with the wide range of labor issues. ILO conventions define the international treaties, which are subject to ratification by the ILO member states towards improving the employment condition of the workers ( 2017). It protects the fundamental human rights of the workers in their organizations. The developing country was chosen for this study in China. Moreover, the study will demonstrate the human rights principles of China and role of ILO towards protecting the human rights of the workers in China.

2.0 Human Rights Principles and Role of the ILO to China

2.1 Freedom of Association and Effectual Recognition Right to Collective Bargaining

Freedom of association implies the deference for the rights of all employees towards voluntarily and liberally establishing and joining groups regarding promotion and securing their occupational interest. According to Baccini and Koenig-Archibugi (2014), freedom of association gives the employees adequate right to negotiate with their employers in terms of employment terms and conditions. It makes effort for reaching an agreement and carrying out genuine and constructive negotiation between employers and employees. On the other hand, Yao and Zhong (2013) opined that International Labor Organization (ILO) ensures the existence of legal and institutional framework and function properly. It also allows rights to the trade unions for making a space between the employers and employees towards the effective negotiation of their employment agreement.

In case of China, China enterprise confederation and All-China Federation Industry have developed tripartite consultation system between representatives of Government, employers, and workers. In the earlier days, the Government of China used to limit the rights of the employees towards negotiating with the employers and government in regards to an employment agreement. However, full participation of ILO has indicated that China has prepared itself for accepting the ideologies of freedom of association and collective bargaining (Boris 2014). Relationship of China's Government with the ILO has ensured freedom of association of the employees for effective collective bargaining between the employers and employees ( Elfstrom and Kuruvilla 2014). Moreover, the labors and employees of China are now free to negotiate their wage rate, working hours, bonuses and other employment condition with their employers for coming to an agreed employment term.

2.2 Elimination of Forced and Compulsory Labor

The ILO convention No. 29 defines "forced and compulsory labor as all service and work, which are exacted from any person under the menace of penalty and for which said a person has offered himself voluntarily". According to Kai and Brown (2013), ILO has ensured effective measures for securing the abrupt and absolute elimination of forced labor. Moreover, as per this organization, no employee or labor should be forced to work under the employment condition. ILO has framed proper labor condition, which limits the right of the employers towards forcing the labors to work. Moreover, it ensures voluntary participation of the labors and employees in the work.

In case of normal workers of China, the Labor Law ensures that a worker may notify his employer to dissolve his labor contract, if the employer compels him to work by the means of force or threats. Furthermore, Gallagher (2014) opined that under ILO terms, the person, who is directly responsible for the offense of forced labor, will be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of three years and fine. On the other hand, Xu and Schmalz (2017) opined that ILO initiated Re-education through Labor (RTL) system, where the accused persons of forced labor are punished by police and not by judicial system.

2.3 Effective Abolition of Child Labor

Child labor is an extremely important issue in China, where the Chinese organizations are forcing children under 18 years to work for longer hours. ILO Convention No. 138 has established some general instruments towards abolishing the child labor. Moreover, it aims to proper elimination of child labor and to enhance gradually the minimum age of admittance to employment. According to Standing (2014), ILO has set minimum age of 15 for the employment and occupation in any occupation. However, the age of the workers should the at least 18 years old for some risky working condition. Furthermore, the ILO has framed proper Labor Law and Compulsory Education Law for establishing the minimum age of employment and development for proper education among the children. Furthermore, Xu and Schmalz (2017) opined that the human rights principles of ILO under child labor protection have promoted universal, free and compulsory education in China. It ensures the obligation of the children towards receiving education properly. Such obligations protect the children of China from child labor employment and properly develop their physical and psychological well-being.

2.4 Elimination of Discrimination in Employment

Discrimination in employment is a big employment issue, where female employees are paid less wages and salaries as compared to male employees. As per ILO Convention No. 100, male and female workers are liable to get equivalent remuneration for their works that are of equal value. Later on, the ILO convention 111 further requires the member states to eliminate any discrimination among the employees based on religion race, sex, color, social origin, political opinion and others. According to Gallagher (2014), China has ratified the ILO convention 100, but the country is still incapable of fully ratifying with the 111 ILO conventions. Moreover, Chinese Labor Law has properly emphasized that women enjoy equal rights of employment like men. Furthermore, such ILO convention also ensures special protection for the female workers in Chinese organizations. However, while compared with aforementioned ILO convention, the Labor Law of China still keeps silent with the discrimination issues in terms of color, social origin and political opinion.

3.0 Conclusion

While concluding the study, International Labor Organization protects the human rights principle in terms of employment. The convention of ILO has ensured freedom and association in China for effective collective bargaining. Moreover, the workers of China are now free to negotiate with their employer for their employment condition. On the other hand, ILO convention has also protected the human rights through elimination of forced labor in the employment. China Labor Law is also influenced by ILO convention for elimination of Child Labor. Moreover, ILO has set minimum working age for the children for joining in any kind of employment. Chinese Lab our Law ensures equal right for male and female employees in terms of employment. However, the country does not ensure the ILO convention for discrimination in terms of race, color, political opinion and social origin.

Reference List

Baccini, L. and Koenig-Archibugi, M., 2014. Why do states commit to international labor standards? Interdependent ratification of core ILO conventions, 1948–2009. World Politics, 66(3), pp.446-490.

Boris, E., 2014. Mothers, household managers, and productive workers: The International Labor Organization and Women in Development. Global Social Policy, 14(2), pp.189-208.

Elfstrom, M. and Kuruvilla, S., 2014. The changing nature of labor unrest in China. ILR Review, 67(2), pp.453-480. 2017. International Labour Organization. [online] Available at:–en/index.htm [Accessed 28 Dec. 2017].

Kai, C. and Brown, W., 2013. The transition from individual to collective labor relations in China. Industrial Relations Journal, 44(2), pp.102-121.

Standing, G., 2014. Understanding the precariat through labor and work. Development and change, 45(5), pp.963-980.

Xu, H. and Schmalz, S., 2017. Socializing Labour Protest: New Forms of Coalition Building in South China. Development and Change, 48(5), pp.1031-1051.

Yao, Y. and Zhong, N., 2013. Unions and workers’ welfare in Chinese firms. Journal of Labor Economics, 31(3), pp.633-667.

Role that MNCs play in comparative approaches

Multinational Corporation is a corporate organization that performs the business activities in two or more than two countries. Human resource and all related activities are managed by the HR team in MNCs. Operations of the HRM include the managerial functions that help the companies in identifying the certain practices which include rewards, the flow of human resource, selection and training, and development. HRM practices and policies along with the strategies are considered as a paradigm. MNCs play a vital role in comparative paradigms approaches.

A conceptual paradigm is used by many MNCs as the HRM is conceptualized in various ways across different countries. The HRM team hires the candidates from different countries across the world. Most of the MNCs like Amazon, IBM, Microsoft Company make use of this theory (Collings, and Wood, 2009). These companies operate its business in different countries that are imbibed with different cultures which shows that organization believes that talent is not bounded by cultural values. Therefore, these companies hire the suitable candidates from diverse cultures. By doing so the companies are taking maximum benefits and trying to acquire talented and skilled employees.

Another paradigm is interpretative paradigms. This paradigm is also used by the MNCs with the purpose of action research, observations, interviews, and the questionnaires. These companies conduct research to identify the number of employees required in the organization along with the required skills and capabilities. HR department of the companies makes use of this approach to identify the statistics (Strohmeier, 2014). According to the research and observations, the HR team of the company conducts the interviews and the questionnaires for the candidates. This questionnaire includes various questions that help in identifying the motive, objective and skills of employees. This is used by the organization in determining the opinion or views of the candidate towards culture and environment of the organization. Most of the MNCs are becoming perfect in analyzing the attitude of candidates towards work with the help of interview, which is an essential part of interpretative paradigms approach ( Bjorkman,, 2017).

The functionalistic paradigm is associated with the universalistic approach as it shows the functional activities of the MNCs. This paradigm is one of the most important paradigms for the company. Most of the HRM practice theories are based on this approach of paradigms such as selection, training, and promotion. The HRM of the MNCs makes use of this approach for examining the skills and knowledge which employees possess (Edwards,, 2016). But this approach neglects the personalities, perceptions and the instincts of the candidate. Besides the fact that personalities, perceptions and the instincts of the candidate are important for the multinational company. This approach helps the managers of the companies to select the candidates suitable for the business projects. Some of the MNCs get the benefit of this approach but some MNCs don’t get the best result with the implementation of this approach.


Bjorkman, I., Ehrnrooth, M., Mäkelä, K., Smale, A. and Sumelius, J., 2017. Talent management in multinational corporations. The Oxford Handbook of Talent Management, p.461.

Collings, D.G. and Wood, G. eds., 2009. Human resource management: A critical approach. Routledge.

Edwards, T., Sánchez-Mangas, R., Jalette, P., Lavelle, J. and Minbaeva, D., 2016. Global standardization or national differentiation of HRM practices in multinational companies? A comparison of multinationals in five countries. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(8), pp.997-1021.

Strohmeier, S., 2014. Research approaches in e-HRM: categorization and analysis. In Handbook of Strategic e-Business Management (pp. 605-632). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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