Anita Chan
BA (HKU), MA (York), MA (UOL), PhD (Sussex)

Anita Chan was born and educated in Hong Kong. She received her first degree at the University of Hong Kong and Masters degrees at York University (Toronto) and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In 1980 she was awarded a doctorate in Sociology by the University of Sussex.

In past years she had been associated in various capacities with the University of Kansas, University of Washington, University of California at Berkeley, Leiden University and Harvard University. Since 1987 she has been located at the Australian National University.

She publishes mainly in English. Some of her works have been translated into Chinese and published in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Research Interest

Anita Chan began her academic career with publications examining the political socialization of the Red Guard generation, Chinese rural society, mass protest movements, Chinese dissidents and human rights issues.

Her current research focuses on Chinese labor issues. She has published widely on Chinese workers’ conditions, the Chinese trade union and labor rights issues. She is committed to campaigning for labor rights to be recognized as human rights.

She is currently a Research Professor at the China Research Centre of the University of Technology, Sydney and a Visiting Fellow of the Political and Social Change Department, ANU.


Key Publications

  • Children of Mao: Personality Development and Political Activism in the Red Guard Generation (London: The MacMillan Press; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985), 254 pp.; two Chinese-language versions were published in China and in Taiwan.
  • Anita Chan, Richard Madsen, and Jonathan Unger, Chen Village Under Mao and Deng (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 346 pp. A Chinese-language version (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1996), 345 pp. A new edition, researched in 2006–07, is Chen Village: Revolution to Globalization (2009).
  • Zhu Xiaoyang and Anita Chan, Xiangzheng yu Anliu (Symbolism and Undercurrents: The 1989 Mass Movement), (Taipei: Daohe Press, 1994), 347 pp.
  • Anita Chan, China’s Workers Under Assault: The Exploitation of Labor in a Globalizing Economy (Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2001), 244 pp.


Researcher’s projects

  • Work conditions in China’s automotive industry under globalization
  • Chinese industrial relations
  • Foreign direct investment and labour conditions in China and in Vietnam
  • The changing nature of Chinese enterprise culture
  • Global production chain and corporate social responsibility


Career highlights

She was awarded by the Australia-China Council the Alice Tay Memorial Award (in the Area of Human Rights) for 2004.

In 1988 she was awarded a one-year Research Fellowship granted by the American Council of Learned Societies and the US Social Science Research Council.In 1993 she was awarded a five-year Australian Research Council Senior Fellowship, and in 1998 a five-year Australian Research Council Senior Fellowship. During 1993-2005 she was the co-editor of The China Journal, one of the two pre-eminent Western-language journals on modern China, and starting in 2014 she has taken up the responsibility again as in-coming editor. In 1992—99 she was also editor of Chinese Sociology and Anthropology. She currently sits on the board of a number of academic institutions and journals and also on several international labour NGOS around the world. She founded and edited China Labor News Translations (CLNT) from 2007-2011.