Aaron Halegua

Aaron Halegua. Marianas Variety. "The Need for Meaningful Oversight"

Aaron Halegua. Marianas Variety. "The Need for Meaningful Oversight"

We are individuals and groups concerned by the labor abuses that transpired at the Imperial Pacific construction site.

The confiscation of worker passports, failure to pay workers the minimum wage, high rates of injury and even deaths, and retaliation against complaining workers have all been well-documented. In order to prevent future exploitation, we support the proposal to establish an independent and transparent monitoring mechanism in which the voice of workers and their representatives plays a crucial role.

Aaron Halegua. Open Democracy. "Sexual harassment at Walmart’s stores and suppliers in China"

Aaron Halegua. Open Democracy. "Sexual harassment at Walmart’s stores and suppliers in China"

A coalition of labor groups, including Global Labor Justice and the Asian Floor Wage Alliance, issued a report last month documenting extensive sexual violence and harassment at Walmart apparel supplier factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Indonesia. In the study, ‘Gender Based Violence in the Walmart Garment Supply Chain’, women also reported retaliation when they refused sexual advances or complained about the mistreatment. The findings are based on interviews with 250 workers in 60 factories over a six year period.

Aaron Halegua & Yizhi Huang. ChinaFile. "What Is the Significance of China’s #MeToo Movement?"

As the #MeToo movement has swept America, it has also made waves in greater China. On the mainland, the most widely publicized incident involved Luo Xixi’s allegation in a January 2018 Weibo post that her professor at Beihang University, Chen Xiaowu, sexually harassed her over a decade ago. The allegation lead to Chen’s dismissal. Since then, Chinese women have organized at least 70 open letters to universities and have posted some of their stories of sexual harassment on social media, with the #MeToo hashtag attracting over 4.5 million hits on Weibo. The government has tried to suppress some of this, blocking the #MeToo hashtag and deleting posts, and China’s social media movement has had difficulty moving “offline,” as it has outside of China. Nonetheless, some Chinese officials have acknowledged that sexual harassment is a problem and are discussing how universities and government agencies should respond. Hong Kong women have similarly been taking to social media to air their grievances.

The following conversation, organized by Aaron Halegua, a lawyer and research fellow at NYU School of Law, addresses the significance of the #MeToo movement from a variety of perspectives, including its impact on sexual harassment litigation and worker protections; implications for youth, feminist, and LGBTQ movements; the role of public interest lawyers in social movements; and the push for gender equality in Hong Kong. —The Editors

Read Aaron Halegua and Yizhi Huang's Comments here: http://www.chinafile.com/conversation/what-significance-of-chinas-metoo-movement

Aaron Halegua Publishes New Report on Chinese Workers

In the past decade, China has made considerable progress in legislating new legal protections for workers, expanding their access to arbitration and courts, and paying for more lawyers to represent them. Nonetheless, in China, as elsewhere, labor violations persist and a substantial “representation gap” remains between legal needs and services.

Aaron Halegua. Employees in China should be allowed to protest against work conditions without fear of reprisals. SCMP (South China Morning Post)

China issued a new regulation to better protect whistle-blowers who report work-related crimes. Among the provisions are several articles that not only prohibit retaliation, but also, for the first time, describe the many forms it can take and provide greater detail on how the government should prevent and address reprisals. 

Eli Friedman, Aaron Halegua and Jerome A. Cohen. Cruel irony: China’s Communists are stamping out labor activism. Washington Post

They came for the feminists in the spring. In the summer, they came for the rights-defense lawyers. And on Dec. 3, the eve of China’s Constitution Day, Chinese authorities initiated a widespread crackdown on labor activists in the industrial powerhouse of Guangdong province.

Aaron Halegua. China’s restrictions on barefoot lawyers could backfire. SCMP (South China Morning Post)

n April 2005, the blind activist Chen Guangcheng led a group of families to a courthouse in rural China. After suffering unlawful detentions and forced sterilisations under the government’s one-child policy campaign, they planned to sue the township mayor. A judge initially refused to accept the case. But Chen and the villagers argued there was no legal basis to reject it and insisted it be accepted. The judge relented and the lawsuit proceeded

Aaron Halegua. China’s new collective bargaining rule is too weak to ease labour conflicts. SCMP (South China Morning Post)

Strikes in China are on the rise: 2014 witnessed over 1,378, double the number in 2013. This surge intensified in the run-up to the Lunar New Year. Guangdong is the hub of both export manufacturing and labour unrest. The strikes there have been increasingly well coordinated and growing in size – nearly 40,000 workers at a Nike footwear supplier last year, another 3,000 workers at a Hewlett-Packard subsidiary last month.