The current restructuring in the People's Republic of China including the emergence of capitalist social relations of production is of phenomenal importance to the global economy. In China, millions of workers are added to the global workforce alone. The Chinese economy, for decades isolated from the world market, is increasingly becoming integrated into the global economy. This is reflected in China's membership of the WTO in 2001, where it completed the transition to full market economy status on 31 December 2008. Chinese production has become integrated in the international division of labour with many products being assembled in China for sale in the European and North American markets. At the same time, the Chinese state still maintains a tight control of political and economic developments within the country. This project aims at analysing the role of Chinese labour within these structural changes at the production, national and international level. In particular, it will be investigated to what extent civil society organisations of labour, trade unions and NGOs, have been able to protect the interests of Chinese workers within the Chinese form of state as well as through co-operation with international labour organisations.
Chun-Yi Lee's constant involvement in research testifies to her enthusiasm for and commitment to the field of Chinese Studies, International Relations and Political Economy. Her PhD study was funded by a studentship awarded by The University of Nottingham; it addresses the changing pattern of interaction between Taiwanese businessmen and the Chinese government. This research mainly asserts that although central and local governments fulfill different roles in attracting Taiwanese businesses; their interests are complementary, and these complementary interests influenced the Chinese government's interaction with Taiwanese businesses. After receiving her PhD in 2008, Chun-Yi was working at Leiden University, Modern East Asia Research Center (MEARC) in 2009 as a writing-up grant scholar. This grant facilitated Chun-Yi's book to be published by Routledge in 2011: Taiwanese Business or Chinese Security Asset. The book is under Leiden Series in Modern East Asia History and Politics. In 2010, Chun-Yi worked at university of Duisburg-Essen in Germany as a post-doc. Building on her PhD, currently Chun-Yi's research interest aims to investigate the influence of different foreign investors on Chinese workers and local governments. Chun-Yi applied from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) with Prof. Andreas Bieler on the project, 'Globalisation, national transformation and workers' rights: An analysis of Chinese labour within the global economy' in 2010. This project successfully received the funding from the ESRC and started to operate from October 2011. Using interviews, participant observation and cases studies, Chun-Yi aims to examine the emergence of civil society in this dynamic interaction among the state, foreign capital, and labour in China and Taiwan. In June 2012, Chun-Yi joined the School of Contemporary Chinese studies at The University of Nottingham as a lecturer.