China: Nationwide Teachers’ Strike

Since this October, teachers in Sichuan, Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Hunan, Hubei, Guangdong went on strike, demanding a salary raise.

According to local media report, the strike started from Sichuan Pi Region (陴縣) in Sep 23, teachers demanded local government to follow national law (such as Teachers Law) and raise the salary of teacher to the level of local civil servant. After 3 days of strike, local government gave in and promised to increase the teachers’ salary level. With this successful story, teachers from nearby provinces started similar action, but got repressed. By mid October, the collective action was spread to Chongqing with hundreds of teachers joining in. In Nov 5, the Sichuan strike was harmonized, however, it spreads quickly to other province.

A long strike list

Zol maps out this wave of teacher strikes across the country:

2008.10月 四川省成都市武侯区机投中学罢课

2008.12.09 Daxiang district, Shaoyang City, Hunan Province (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.09 Lianyuan City, Hunan Province (more than 2000 teachers join the strike)
2008.12.09 Geely district, Luoyang City, Henan (primary and secondary school teachers collective sick leave)
2008.12.09 Shuangpai county, Yongzhou city, Hunan (joint signature petition to local government)
2008.12.09 Zhijian, Hubei (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.08 Chenggu County, Hanzhong City, Shaanxi (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.05 XinShao, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.01 Shaodong County, Hunan (3000 teachers’ strike)
2008.12.01-3 Longhui County, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.27 Ningcheng County, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia (teachers strike)
2008.11.26 Hannan district, Wuhan City, Hubei (teachers strike)
2008.11.24 Ningqiang County, Shaanxi (Hundreds of teachers petition visit to higher authorities)
2008.11.24 Liangzi Lake district, Ezhou, Hubei (Teachers’ strike)
2008.11.20 Taixing, Taizhou, Jiangsu (some schools joined the strike)
2008.11.18 He Jiang County, Luzhou City, Sichuan (some schools joined the strike)
2008.11.17 Xinhua County, Loudi City, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.17 Qinzhou City, Guangxi autonomous region (a kindergarten school teacher strike)
2008.11.13 Yongchuan District, Chongqing (retired teachers petition visit)
2008.11.13 Lianshan districk, Huludao City, Liaoning (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.12 Louxing district, Loudi City, Hunan (500 teachers’ petition visit)
2008.11.12 Qianjian, Hubei (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.11 Qianjian, Hubei (a secondary school joined the strike)
2008.11.10 Yongchuan district, Chongqin (retired teachers’ visit petition)
2008.11.10 Huili County, Liangshan, Sichuan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.10 Ansai County, Shannxi (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.06 Xintian County, Yongzhou City, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.04 Yibin County, Yibin City, Sichuan (teachers’ strike) 
2008.11.03 Xixiang County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.03 Tiefeng district, Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang (hundreds of teachers petition visit)
2008.11.03 Donghai Island, Zhangjian City, Guangdong Province (teachers strike)
2008.11.01 Yongchuan district, Chongqing (retired teachers petition visit)
2008.11.01 Qijiang County, Chongqing (a thousand teacher signature campaign)
2008.10月 Wuhou District, Chengdu, Sichuan (a secondary school joined the strike)
2008.10 Qingyun office, Xintai City, Shandong (teachers’ strike) 
2008.10.28 Jianjin district, Chongqing (some schools joined the strike)
2008.10.28 Mabian Yi ethnic groups autonomous county, Sichuan (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.27 Rongchang County, Chongqing (small scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.27 Wanzhou district, Chongqing (some school joined in the strike)
2008.10.27 Nanping, Fujina (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.24 Jianjing district, Chongqing (retired teachers visit petition)
2008.10.23 Jianjing district, Chongqing (teachers strike)
2008.10.23 Dazu County, Chongqing, (Small scale strike)
2008.10.23 Bishan County, Chongqing (small scale strike)
2008.10.23 Jiang Yang district, Luzhou City, Sichuan (some school joined)
2008.10.22 Changshou district, Chongqing (teachers strike)
2008.10.21 Suining City, Daying county in Sichuan Province (teachers strike)
2008.10.21 Anji district, Suining City, Sichuan Province (a school joined in)
2008.10.17 Yongchuan district, Chongqing (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.15 Mianzhu of Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.13 Shifang, Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.13 Ying-hua, Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.09 Zizhong County, Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.09 Guangan, Sichuan Province (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.08 Tongliang County, Chongqin City (petition visit)
2008.10.07 Changxing Island in Dalian, Liaoning Province (teachers strike)
2008.10.06 Qiong Lai County in Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.09.23 Pi County in Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)

Forum and chatroom closed down, connection reset

With so many on-going strikes, there are so few information in the mainstream media and on the Internet. According to the report of New Tang Dynasty, since December 15, internet forums and QQ groups of the schools and teachers involved were forced to closed down. hwq917 noticed that teachers’ strike has become a sensitive words back in Nov:


In the past few days, if you enter “teachers strike” or “Sichuan teachers’ strike” in the Baidu search, even though you can find millions of entries, but you can only find in the cache some criticism against the teachers, while other opinions are missing.

In writing this post, search engines from major forums and blog hosting platform would reset my connection whenever I key in “teachers’ strike” (罢课)!

A case study: independent teacher union please

Greatsunrise's semi academic post luckily remains online and re-posted in other blogs. The blogger picks up a teachers’ strike in Hedong district, Baotou City Inner Mongolia in order to look into the problems teachers are facing. It seems that the poorer the district, teachers are in a more vulnerable position:

現在的社會發展壓力,導致了教師階層普遍成為一個弱勢群體,尤其是在落後地區,不但因為本身財政上無法增加為教育上的撥款,而且還要挪用教育上的撥款來填 補其他方面財政上的漏洞。東河區的GDP是包頭市區最低的,財政收入最少的。

The stress from development has pressed the teachers to become a vulnerable social group. In particular, in underdeveloped region, the local governments don't have the capacity to invest on education, instead they are using the education resources to fill up the holes in the local finance. Hedong district has the lowest GDP in Baotou City, and the government income is also lowest in the region.

According to the writer, back in 1996, the Hedong government has allocated the education funding to fill up the deficits and result in late payment and a big cut in teachers’ salary. As for the latest round of strike:


The teachers’ strike lasted for two days from 10-11 December 2008, it is a result of late payment, salary level is not according to national regulation, and forced donation. The problems have not been solved and the strike continues to spread.


The issue a stake is how to protect the teacher's rights. In foreign countries, they have teacher association and union to protect the teachers’ benefit. In mainland China, especially in poor districts, because of various limitations, teachers don't have independent organization. On the other hand, they have to be pressured by the government, students, parents and the society as a whole. The key to protect teacher's rights shouldn't come from the government's benevolent policy, but depends on law and the solidarity of teachers…


Teachers anger comes from various threats made by the district committee, officials from the government and education bureau. They would threaten the teachers with lay off, discontinuation of contract, etc. In front of teachers call for rights, the officials are indifferent and cold, this is a dangerous signal. Many teachers are afraid of prosecution after autumn, and they dare not come out to demand better treatment.

Netizens’ opinions

Since I failed to get information from the local search engines, I can only look into comment session of local mainstream report to get a sense of people's reaction towards the teachers’ strike. Below are two most popular opinions In the comment session of an investigation report on the Sichuan teachers's strike at

河北石家庄网友 2008-11-26 09:07:44


From Hebei Shijiazhoung 2008-11-26 09:07:44

School principals become aristocrat, too many leaders, teachers are slaves, students become your ancestors (or bosses), complicated interpersonal relation, working overtime days and nights, without compensation, tough evaluation and checking while salary is like that of a migrant workers, change is a myth.

上海卢湾网友 2008-11-26 09:30:59


From Luwan, Shanghai 2008-11-26 09:30:59

The salary of civil servant is too high and teachers are not happy, why not cut the salary of civil servant by 2/3, so it becomes the same with the teachers. Then teachers can be back to work. Please click support.


  • 杨佳

    The whole country has been turned into a madhouse! The CCP dictatorship’s taste has veered towards rock n’ roll!! It’s rocking itself to death…

  • Cecilia Teng

    The teachers chose striking to pretect theirs rights.that’s the progressive of the democracy

  • […] up social problems in the past has now faltered, social unrests erupt. Bus drivers, cabbies, and teachers have one after another launched strikes throughout the year and the country to argue for not only […]

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