The year 2016 was very difficult for labour rights in China. In order to support investments during a serious economic slowdown, local authorities in several areas froze minimum wages and reduced the percentages of social security contributions shouldered by companies. At the same time, officials in the highest echelons of the Party-state repeatedly criticised the existing labour legislation, in particular the 2008 Labour Contract Law 劳动合同法, for harming the flexibility of the labour market and constraining productivity. All of this has translated into increased control over those Chinese labour activists who try to promote the cause of workers’ rights, as well as the foreign donors who support their activities. This has been achieved through several state bodies, including the State Security guobao 国保 — a secretive branch of the Public Security apparatus charged with protecting the country from domestic political threats.