My 20 Years with a State Enterprise

Written by Fan Wendong

Edited by Chen Jing

Translated by Eva To

Published by Globalization Monitor

June, 2012


Many writers have reported on the plight of SOEs workers and their struggles against privatization. What distinguishes this book from others, however, is that it is written entirely by a former SOE worker. He reports on how the leading cadres became the new bosses, and how mass organizations like the trade union serve the party rather than common workers.

The first chapter is about his 20 year working life in the distillery factory since 1986. He recounts how he felt proud of being an SOE worker because it meant a secure job, while on the other hand he increasingly became irritated by the bureaucratic privileges and more and more open corruption. In the period 1994-7, when his enterprise underwent reform, he witnessed the whole process of un-declared privatization. He reports on how the leading cadres became the new bosses, the tricks used to cheat workers to buy shares, and how in the end most of the workers were dismissed.

The second chapter is a cross sectional analysis of the institutional arrangement of his plant and how they functioned before and after the privatization. It shows how the leading organs work, from the Party committee to the director, the workshop managers, the security bureau etc; it also reports on how the trade union, the women association and the Staff and Workers Representative Congress (SWRC) functioned to serve the Party.

The third and fourth chapters consist of the author’s in-depth interview with men and women fellow workers, so as to allow their voices to be heard as well.

He remarked that “us workers must not let this page be filled only with the cheering for the victors”, and that he wanted to add his voice on this page of history as well.

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