The article discusses the current transformation of Chinese labour relations. The Labour Contract Law implemented in 2008 provided the legal framework for China's adjustment to individual labour relations; it also hastened the evolution of collective labour relations. The article discusses how two different aspects of the Chinese labour movement—top-down and bottom-up—have been interacting. Implications are drawn from the experience of the strike wave of the summer of 2010. It is argued that further legal intervention could facilitate the development of China's labour policy, but that the reform of collective labour law will require the strengthening of the collective rights of workers and the nurturing of institutions which can focus collective consciousness and organisation.