The Beijing News reported on September 15 that China’s Supreme People’s Court had issued a judicial interpretation specifying conditions under which courts must hear labor lawsuits, including when workers seek due pay for overtime. According to the newspaper, the judicial interpretation puts the burden of proof for overtime pay on the employee, not on the employer. Responding online, many Chinese pointed out that this would put workers in the ridiculous position of having to keep busy during work time gathering evidence of their overtime – making audio recordings, taking photographs. And they asked whether evidence would really make a difference when workers were otherwise powerless, prevented from striking or holding demonstrations, and when unions were under the thumb of the government. In the following cartoon, posted by artist Cao Yi (曹一) to his QQ blog, a “court official” (right) and a “company boss” (left) show a confused employee the door. Beyond is a spurious green valley in which a large yuan symbol representing the worker’s overtime pay is tethered with a huge padlock. The court official dangles a key labeled “evidence” as the boss goads the employee on, saying “Go on now.”

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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