China’s Supreme Court targets “996” work culture against technology groups

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China politics and policy updates

The Beijing Supreme Court issued a warning on the excessively long working hours of Chinese companies, which is the latest move by the authorities to conduct a full-scale regulatory crackdown on China’s largest technology conglomerate.

The Supreme People’s Court of China and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly issued a new set of “model” cases on Friday that will guide the courts on how to deal with workers’ rights in labor disputes and warn companies not to abuse them.

The strengthening of labor rights followed Years of dissent Among the workers in the technical department in the so-called 996 labor system, employees are expected to work 6 days a week, from 9 am to 9 pm.

An anti-996 campaign against Internet groups such as Alibaba, JD.com, Pinduoduo, ByteDance, etc. Death attributed to overwork.

The latest legal guidelines are also issued in the context of increasing pressure on Chinese technology companies.

The widespread crackdown began in November pause Billionaire Jack Ma’s fintech company Ant Group plans to conduct a US$37 billion initial public offering, including Record antitrust fines For Jack Ma’s Alibaba Safety probe In the ride-hailing app Didi Travel, devastating restrictions on private individuals Tutoring industry And call for Wealth redistribution.

Ernan Cui, a Chinese consumer analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, said the pressure on the technology industry is long-term Reform focus Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the pursuit of “common prosperity” includes eliminating inequality and social division.

The suppression “will not be a one-off exercise to relax in a few months. On the contrary, a new regulatory environment is being created that will impose more restrictions on the growth and profitability of Internet companies and strengthen state control”, Cui Zaiyi Writes in the research report.

She added: “Regulatory measures driven by shared prosperity may also increase operating costs. The Department of Labor is now imposing higher standards on gig economy workers such as delivery drivers.”

Susan Finder, a prominent scholar of the Chinese judicial system at Peking University’s Shenzhen School of Transnational Law, said Friday’s statement also illustrates how the Supreme People’s Court is increasingly issuing model cases to guide lower court decisions.

China’s legal system is based on statutory law rather than precedent.But there is a trendDriven by rapid socio-economic changes, supplemented by precedents, with the Supreme People’s Court’s judicial interpretation as the goal, we strive to improve the consistency of thousands of lower court decisions.

These cases are also aimed at coordinating the views of labor arbitration commissions and courts on these issues. She said that although the model cases are not original court decisions, they have been disseminated to warn employers, clarify workers’ rights and regulate labor arbitration and litigation procedures.

“These are model or model cases-not as binding as the’guiding cases’-but they will provide guidance to the courts and labor arbitration committees in a timely manner,” Fender said.

Additional report by Sherry Fei Ju in Beijing

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