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China, Wages, and Wal-Mart24:43
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There are two big headlines out of China about Wal-Mart. First, the retail giant is on a billion-dollar expansion spree that will make it the biggest food and department store network in all of China. Astounding, but typical. Wal-Mart now selling turtle blood in Beijing.

The second headline? Not so typical. In fact it sounds extraordinary: Wal-Mart — the biggest private employer in America that has always barred the door to labor unions — is going union in China. What that means is a matter of debate — for China, for Chinese workers, for American workers, and maybe for workers in Bangladesh.

Hear about the inside story on cheap stuff, China, world wages, and Wal-Mart.

Quotes from the Show:

"There is a nationalist feeling [among the Chinese] that they don't want to be pushed around by foreign companies like WalMart." Anita Chan

"The Chinese government has stood up to Wal-Mart better than the American government." Thea Lee

"China is still egregiously out of compliance with its international obligations on labor rights." Thea Lee

"This [development] is hugely important for the American middle class." Thea Lee

"The policies of multinational companies are still driving the wages down in China." Anita Chan

Guests:

Joe Kahn, Beijing Bureau Chief for The New York Times.;
James Kynge. He is currently Chief Representative in China for Pearson Group, an international media company. He is author of "China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future — and the Challenge for America.";
Thea Lee, Policy Director and Chief International Economist at the AFL-CIO. She has testified before Congress on China, Worker's Rights, China's succession to the WTO, and Human Rights.;
Anita Chan. She is a Research Fellow at the Australian National University's Contemporary China Center. She is author of "China's Workers Under Assault: Exploitation and Abuse in a Globalizing Economy."

This program aired on October 26, 2006.

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