The article ‘Intern Labor in China’, authored by Dr. Jenny Chan, describes the increasing importance of student interns as a source of labor in the Chinese labor market. These internships are unpaid or underpaid and do not lead to careers, like the students hope for. Read the full article here.
Internships have become integral to the development of vocational education in China. This article looks into the quasi-employment arrangements of student interns, who occupy an ambiguous space between being a student and being a worker at the point of production. Some employers recruit interns on their own, while others secure a supply of student labor through coordinated support of provincial and lower-level governments that prioritize investments, as well as through subcontracting services of private labor agencies. The incorporation of teachers into corporate management can strengthen control over students during their internships. While interns are required to do the same work as other employees, their unpaid or underpaid working experiences testify that intern labor is devalued. Exposés of abuses, such as using child labor in the guise of interns, have pressured the Chinese state and companies to eventually take remedial action. Reclaiming student workers’ educational and labor rights in the growing intern economy, however, remains contested.”