Sep 11, 2021 08:12 AM

China Orders Top Internet Platforms to Protect Workers’ Rights

What’s new: Four Chinese regulators told the country’s 10 top internet giants including Alibaba Group, Tencent, Meituan and Didi to better protect labor rights in a joint guidance order issued Friday, toughing regulations on new forms of employment in the internet economy.

The regulators ordered the online platform operators to take the lead in safeguarding workers’ rights and interests. The employers should improve income distribution, ensure rest periods, clarify working hours and optimize the health and safety systems for workers, the guidance said. They should also optimize algorithms while setting reasonable evaluation and review systems.

Under current laws and rules, it’s difficult to identify the labor status of gig workers with the platforms, which usually deny responsible for occupational injuries, said Hao Zhengxin, a lawyer who has been offering legal consultation to gig workers.

Background: A State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang in July vowed to improve protections for flexibly employed workers. Eight government agencies that month issued guidelines laying out 19 measures to safeguard the rights and interests of such delivery workers and ride-hailing drivers, including regulating employment status.

The rights of gig workers become an urgent issue in China as platforms tended to outsource insurance and safety protections to third-party vendors, usually lacking oversight. The new forms of employment played an important role in the rapid development of China’s sprawling platform economy.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact editors Han Wei ( and Bob Simison (

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