An interactive map of China's wildcat strikes


Originally published at:


The largest number is in Hong Kong? Or nearby? Either way, that city always seems to leak the most truth out of China, about China.


And I thought this would be a reporting on hit-and-run death of wild cats.



Maybe I’m just missing it, but I had trouble finding the link to the map in tge post. It seems to be


It’s also instructive to note that pretty much every “wildcat strike” is over “wage arrears”.


I read somewhere that China’s labour force is especially militant because there is an acute memory of taking all the communist ideological education seriously once. Chinese boomers don’t turn into Fox news, Trump loving reactionaries like Americans, they go Maoist apparently.


I read somewhere that America’s labour force is especially compliant when they don’t get paid because there is an acute memory of “wildcat” strikers being killed and beaten in the 20’s and 30’s. American boomers just take it in stride that it’s a normal part of capitalism to not get paid for your labor.

The thing I find most peculiar is the terminology: that the English phrase “wildcat strike” can be applied to situations where you stop working because your employer isn’t paying you. I wonder what that’s called in Chinese.


And I thought it was about oil!


The US does have an exceptionally compliant labour force compared to China’s, and it is a fair question why this is, when the US is a liberal democracy, and China is an authoritarian one party state. If anything, the problem is not that Americans remember their unusually bloody labour history, but that they have forgotten it.

Yeah, my explanation is a glib oversimplification, but labour militancy is tied higher levels of left wing political education, something Chinese workers would have more exposure to, even though differing material conditions play a big role in their strikes too.


I’m going to just leave this here, because it is sort of on topic. NSFW language though!


野猫罢工 - Yěmāo bàgōng

Which literally means “wild cat”, as in feral cat or non-domestic cat, “strike.” Presumably they translated the expression directly from English. (I think English is the original source for the term.)


I’ve read similar things, and if i’m not mistaken, the discontent about social policies extends beyond labor to health care and other issues where communist policies provided a social support system that has been compromised by a shift toward something more like capitalism.

Capitalism of course has no ideals beyond the almighty $, so for folks to look back on a way of life where real ideals held so much sway in society (even if some of those ideas were lethal to some members of society) seems natural enough to me, as I think for example of what FDR meant to my parents’ generation during the Depression.


My apologies to jetfx for a slightly too glib reply; and gratitude to jetfx for graciously addressing the underlying point thoughtfully anyway.


Note that CLB estimates their strike map captures only 5-10% of strikes in China’s-strike-map


Yeah, I was curious about what the Chinese called it as well, but I couldn’t find anything that didn’t simply translate the English name. Although I did discover the term is originally an American coinage from 19th century labour struggles.


Plus the capitalist period beginning around 1980 has seen way more social dislocation than even the Maoist industrialization period, as enormous amounts of Chinese moved from the countryside to cities, changing from farmers to factory workers.


My technique for this sort of thing is to go to Wikipedia, look up the appropriate article, and then switch to the Chinese article. (Or whatever other language is desired.) That’s how I came up with my answer.


That’ll almost always provide you with the commonly used term for the particular language. You can then break down the individual words/characters with a translation service to find what they really mean, if needed.

So, yeah, the Chinese really did simply translate the original English name. I imagine the US had these kinds of strikes before China, Chinese newspapers/journals reported on them and their colorful name, and then once China started having their own, the translated name was adopted.


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