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All-China Federation of Trade Unions

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU; simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Quánguó Zǒnggōng Huì) is the nationalised organisation federation of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest trade union in the world with 302 million members in 1,713,000 primary trade union organizations.[3] The ACFTU is divided into 31 regional federations and 10 national industrial unions.

ACFTU logo.jpg
Full nameAll-China Federation of Trade Unions
Native name中华全国总工会
FoundedMay 1, 1925

280 million.(2013)
250 million (2012)

193 million in 2008[2]
134 million in 2005[3]
Key peopleWang Dongming, chairman
Office locationBeijing, China
CountryPeople's Republic of China
The ACFTU building in Beijing



Officially founded on 1 May 1925, the Second National Labour Congress convened in Guangzhou with 277 delegates representing 540,000 workers and adopted the Constitution of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. Between 1922 and 1927, the organization flourished, as did the Communist Party of China’s control over the trade union movement. The labour movement had grown enormously, particularly in the three industrial and commercial centres of Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai, but it also had some organizational success in other cities, such as Wuhan.[4] The ACFTU was restricted in 1927 by the newly established rule of the Nationalist regime under Chiang Kai-shek[2] ordering the execution of thousands of CPC cadres and trade unionists. All CPC-led unions were banned and replaced with yellow unions loyal to him(e.g.Chinese Federation of Labour).[5]

By the rise of Mao Zedong in 1949, the ACFTU had been re-established as the sole trade union centre, but was again dissolved in 1966 in the wake of the Cultural Revolution to be replaced by revolutionary committees.[2] Following Mao's death in 1976, in October 1978 the ACFTU held its first congress since 1957. Since the early 1990s it has been regulated by the Trade Union Law of the People’s Republic of China.[citation needed]

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (now the International Trade Union Confederation) maintains the position that the ACFTU is not an independent trade union organisation, and states in its policy:

5. There are differing approaches among ICFTU affiliates and Global Union Federations concerning contacts with the ACFTU. They range from “no contacts” to “constructive dialogue”. The ICFTU, noting that the ACFTU is not an independent trade union organisation and, therefore, cannot be regarded as an authentic voice of Chinese workers, reaffirms its request to all affiliates and Global Union Federations having contacts with the Chinese authorities, including the ACFTU, to engage in critical dialogue. This includes raising violations of fundamental workers’ and trade union rights in any such meetings, especially concerning cases of detention of trade union and labour rights activists.[6]

However, activists within the ACFTU and the World Federation of Trade Unions dispute the claims of the rival trade union federation. ACFTU activist Guo Wencai said that democratic elections were a key standard to measure the effectiveness of a trade union and noted that the practice of company chiefs "appointing union leaders or assigning someone from their human resources department to act as union leader hampers a trade union's independence and its ability to protect workers' rights.[7]

Member organisationsEdit

List of ChairmenEdit

  • 1st (1922.5 – 1925.5)
  • 2nd (1925.5 – 1926.5)
  • 3rd (1926.5 – 1927.6)
  • 4th (1927.6 – 1929.11)
    • Su Zhaozheng
  • 5th (1929.11 – 1948.8)
  • 6th (1948.8 – 1953.5)
  • 7th (1953.5 – 1957.12)
  • 8th (1957.12 – 1966.12)
    • Lai Ruoyu (1957.12 – 1958.5)
    • Liu Ningyi (1958.8 – 1966.12)
  • 9th (1978.10 – 1983.10)
  • 10th (1983.10 – 1988.10)
    • Ni Zhifu
  • 11th (1988.10 – 1993.10)
    • Ni Zhifu
  • 12th (1993.10 – 1998.10)
  • 13th (1998.10 – 2003.9)
    • Wei Jianxing (1998.10 – 2002.12)
    • Wang Zhaoguo (2002.12 – 2003.10)
  • 14th (2003.10–2008.10)
    • Wang Zhaoguo
  • 15th (2008.10–2012.10)
    • Wang Zhaoguo (-2013.3)
    • Li Jianguo (2013.3–2013.10)
  • 16th (2013.10–)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Membership required:Trade unions in China, The Economist, Jul 31st 2008
  3. ^ a b ICTUR et al.,, ed. (2005). Trade Unions of the World (6th ed.). London, UK: John Harper Publishing. ISBN 0-9543811-5-7.
  4. ^ Lee, Lao To (1986): Trade Unions in China 1949 to the Present. Singapore University Press
  5. ^ Traub-Merz, Rudolf (2011): All China Federation of Trade Unions: Structure, Functions and the Challenge of Collective Bargaining. International Labour Office
  6. ^ "ICFTU China policy". ICFTU. Retrieved 2007-05-29.
  7. ^

External linksEdit