This article explores the changes in organisation around labour and women’s issues in China. It is argued that whilst the two fields of organisation share common features, they have also evolved in distinct ways, reflecting the relative salience of gender and labour issues and the approach of non-governmental women’s and labour groups towards the Party-state. This focus on women’s and labour groups provides more general insights into the emergence of civil societies, public spheres and corporatism in China. In particular, the contradictory implications of the divergent evolutionary paths of labour and women’s groups underline the need to think in terms of increasingly complex and fluid processes of interest intermediation.

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