Distributor:  dGenerate Films
Length:  174 minutes
Date:  2017
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; Mandarin / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Color
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We the Workers

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Follows Chinese labor activists as they find common ground with workers, helping them negotiate with local officials and factory owners over wages and working conditions.

We the Workers

Shot over a six-year period (2009-2015) in the industrial heartland of south China, a major hub in the global supply chain, WE THE WORKERS follows labor activists as they find common ground with workers, helping them negotiate with local officials and factory owners over wages and working conditions. Threats, attacks, detention and boredom become part of their daily lives as they struggle to strengthen worker solidarity in the face of threats and pressures from the police and their employers. In the process, we see in their words and actions the emergence of a nascent working class consciousness and labor movement in China.

'One of the most important Chinese language documentaries of recent years.' - Chinese Visual Festival

'On the front lines of China's record-level labor unrest, Wen's film offers rare insight into how such collectibe action is planned and organized, and how hard NGO employees try to stay within the moving goalposts of what activism is permissible in China.' - CNN

'Reveals and supports the birth of collective action stripped of an ideology that long stifled it.' - Cinema du Reel

'Takes the viewer to the front line of labour relations in China.' - The Times (UK)

'Shot with long takes and a fly-on-the-wall feel, the film deals with workers' attempts to stand up to employers.' - Hong Kong Free Press

'Detailed, intimate and at times terrifying.' - South China Morning Post

'A detailed depiction on labour activists' fighting for rights on wages and working conditions... a 'must-see'.' - Eastern Kicks

'Captures the vital elements of labour organizing...delivers a new form of partisan filmmaking.' - V Cinema

'This extraordinary film transports the audience to the world of labor organizing in China. It rightly puts the protection of workers' rights back in the hands of workers and the labor non-profits that support them. It should be required viewing for anyone wishing to gain an insight into China's emerging labor movement.' - Dr. Tim Pringle, Senior Lecturer in Labour, Social Movements and Development, SOAS, University of London


** World Premiere, International Film Festival Rotterdam
** Cinema du Reel Film Festival
** San Diego Asian Film Festival
** Chinese Visual Festival UK
** Buenos Aires International Film Festival (BAFICI)


Main credits

Wen, Hai (film director)
Zeng, Jinyan (film producer)

Other credits

Editor, photographer, Jack Huang; music, Robert Ellis Geiger.

Distributor credits

A film by Wen Hai
Produced by Zeng Jinyan

Docuseek2 subjects

Asian History
Labor Economics
Trade Unions
Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
dGenerate Films Collection - Documentaries


workers; "We the Workers"; dGenerate Films; China; labor; unions; organizing

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