Jack Linchuan Qiu is a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he serves as deputy director of the Centre for Chinese Media and Comparative Communication Research. Studying digital media, labor, and globalization, Jack writes bilingually in English and Chinese. His publications include Goodbye iSlave: A Manifesto for Digital Abolition (U of Illinois Press, 2016), World’s Factory in the Information Age (Guangxi Normal University Press, 2013), and Working-Class Network Society (MIT Press, 2009). His works have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Portugese, and Korean. Serving as Associate Editor for Journal of Communication and Asian Editor for Information, Communication & Society, Jack is on the editorial boards of ten international journals. Serving on the boards of several grassroots media and labor NGOs in China, Jack also provides consultancy services for international organizations.
Claps of Thunder Amidst Silence: Resisting and Reinventing the Gig Economy in Asia
Digital capitalism is global, but it is also regional and local, in its formation and transformation. This talk discusses observations from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam: how the working people join the gig economy under constraints of authoritarian capitalist platforms; how they resist, not only as individuals but in large networks of collective struggle; how they invent models of sharing and mutual support; with what implications for international solidarity in the Global South and beyond. In Asia as elsewhere, workers’ voices tend to be silenced. Yet as Lu Xun wrote in his poetry predicting a revolutionary future, we hear “claps of thunder amidst silence” — in traditional manufacture sectors as well as the New Economy in Asia today.