Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China Trims Work Week To 40 Hours

SHANGHAI -- China began a new 40-hour working week with foreign hoteliers fretting about lost business, Western banks worried about irate customers but Beijing claiming another victory for socialism.

Millions of Chinese workers returned to their posts after Monday's May Day holiday, cheered by new labor laws that give them Saturdays off.

Since last year, most had been working half days on Saturday in a 44-hour week.

The People's Daily praised the move as giving "concrete substance" to socialism.

"The broad masses of workers and staff believe that the further reduction in work time reveals the deepening of reform in our country," an article in the flagship organ of the Chinese Communist Party said.

Foreign investors were less enthusiastic. Although they complained about temporary difficulties, most said the overall impact would be marginal.

Wages and labor productivity are comparatively low in China and a few lost working hours can be absorbed easily, Western business managers said.

Like many Shanghai workers, office clerk Zheng Baiding was jubilant.

"I'm very happy," he said. "I'm getting the same salary but spending less time in the office. That gives me more time with my girlfriend."