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Title: Interns or workers? China’s student labor regime
Authors: Chan, J 
Pun, N 
Selden, M
Keywords: Student labor
State capitalism
Vocational school
Foxconn Technology Group
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2015
Publisher: Japan Focus
Source: Asia-Pacific journal : Japan focus, 31 Aug. 2015, v. 13, no. 36 How to cite?
Journal: Asia-Pacific journal : Japan focus 
Abstract: In the summer of 2010, Taiwanese-based Foxconn Technology Group- the world's largest electronics manufacturer- utilized the labor of 150,000 student interns from vocational schools at its facilities all over China. Foxconn is one of many global firms utilizing student intern labor. Far from being freely chosen, student internships are organized by the local state working with enterprises and schools, frequently in violation of the rights of student interns and in violation of Chinese law. Foxconn, through direct deals with government departments, has outsourced recruitment to vocational schools to obtain a new source of student workers at below minimum wages. The goals and timing of internships are set not by student educational or training priorities but by the demand for products dictated by companies. Based on fieldwork in Sichuan and Guangdong between 2011 and 2012 and follow-up interviews in 2014, as well as analysis of the Henan government's policies on internships, we find that the student labor regime has become integral to the capital-state relationship as a means to assure a lower cost and flexible labor supply for Foxconn and others. This is one dimension of the emerging face of Chinese state capitalism.
Description: This article is jointly published by The Asia-Pacific Journal and Asian Studies (Official Journal of the Hong Kong Asian Studies Association).
Full text of Chan, J., Ngai, P., & Selden, M. (2015). Interns or Workers? China’s Student Labor Regime. Asian Studies, Sept. 2015, v. 1, no. 1, p. 69-98 is available at Airiti Library, Airiti Press,
Full text of Chan, J., Ngai, P., & Selden, M. (2015). Interns or Workers? China’s Student Labor Regime. Asia-Pacific journal : Japan focus, 31 Aug. 2015, v. 13, no. 36 is available at
EISSN: 1557-4660
Rights: Articles at The Asia-Pacific Journal are published under a Creative Commons license ( Permission is granted to forward electronically to others and to post Asia-Pacific Journal texts for non-commercial purposes following Creative Commons guidelines, provided they are reproduced intact and the source indicated and linked. To publish Asia-Pacific Journal texts in electronic, printed or other forms, including course use, contact
The article: Chan, J., Ngai, P., & Selden, M. (2015). Interns or Workers? China’s Student Labor Regime. The Asia-Pacific Journal| Japan Focus Volume, 13(36) is available at
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