China: A Chop for the Lunch Break

Article 43 of the Chinese constitution declares that every worker has the right to rest. The only problem is that Article 43 neglects to state exactly when the rest can be taken. Interpreting the law themselves, government workers in Peking have traditionally assumed their right to xiuxi (rest) by taking a two-hour midday break. Everything from computers to car engines, it seems, are switched off during the period. But concern over flagging productivity last week led the State Council to issue a directive ordering the lunch break cut to one hour, effective on New Year's Day. "Alarm for lunchtime...

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