Asia and the Pacific

Chinese healthcare workers demand unpaid wages; Construction workers strike in Myanmar; New Zealand home support workers locked out

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

23 January 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian Labor leader hails US alliance as Biden is inaugurated

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 January 2021

Albanese’s line was that a Labor government would be best placed to deepen the US-Australia alliance under the new Democratic Party administration, as it prepares for war with China.

Suicide attempt by food delivery worker in China exposes exploitative working conditions

By Lily Zhao, 22 January 2021

The tragic attempt by this food delivery worker to take his own life has not only revealed his desperate plight, but also the broader exploitation of workers in China.

As COVID-19 resurges, Chinese workers hit by pay and job cuts

By Jerry Zhang, 21 January 2021

As well as being placed on the front line of the pandemic, workers are facing an offensive against their working conditions.

Watch: Meeting commemorates decades-long Australian Trotskyist Barry Jobson

20 January 2021

At a meeting on Sunday, SEP speakers reviewed Barry Jobson’s contribution to the fight for socialist internationalism, in the context of the deepening crisis of Australian and world capitalism.

SEP meeting honours the life and political legacy of Australian Trotskyist Barry Jobson

By Our reporters, 20 January 2021

Jobson, a railway worker, joined the Trotskyist movement in 1974 and dedicated his adult life to the struggle for socialist internationalism in the working class.

China’s growth rate increase fuels geo-political tensions

By Nick Beams, 20 January 2021

The 6.5 percent growth in the fourth quarter indicates that the Chinese economy is expanding at a faster rate than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

22 workers trapped by blast in Chinese gold mine

By Peter Symonds, 20 January 2021

The disaster provoked public concern after it became known that the mining company did not report the explosion for more than 30 hours.

Australia: Locked-out Coles workers reject company “offer” as union declares its “neutrality”

By Martin Scott and Oscar Grenfell, 20 January 2021

The United Workers Union is seeking to ram through a return to work on company terms as Coles prepares to permanently shutter the Smeaton Grange warehouse and destroy 350 jobs.

Trump coup attempt highlights official promotion of far-right in Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 January 2021

The Morrison government’s refusal to condemn Trump’s coup attempt is bound up with the promotion of an extreme right-wing milieu in Australia.

US prompts new “human rights” resolution to push Sri Lanka to line up against China

By Pradeep Ramanayake and K. Ratnayake, 19 January 2021

By all indications Washington is behind the move intended to press President Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s government to break from Beijing’s “influence.”

State of emergency imposed in Malaysia, granting government sweeping powers

By Peter Symonds, 18 January 2021

While the spread of COVID-19 was the stated reason, the anti-democratic powers invoked are above all directed against the working class.

Australian workers and youth demand freedom for Julian Assange

By Our reporters, 18 January 2021

“It has to be a grassroots movement from below to save Assange. A mass movement or mass support for him, rather than trying to appeal to the goodness of Australian politicians’ hearts.”

Philippines records first case of new COVID-19 strain

By Robert Campion, 18 January 2021

The authorities have ruled out introducing more stringent lockdown measures and travel bans, with government officials declaring that they “want to balance health with the economy.”

Australian Tennis Open proceeds despite growing COVID-19 infections

By Mike Head, 18 January 2021

“Profits before lives” is literally the theme under which the global season-opening event is taking place.

United Kingdom COVID-19 variant reaches New Zealand

By John Braddock, 18 January 2021

The arrival of the more contagious UK and South African strains underscores the global nature of the virus, which cannot be contained within national borders.

New Zealand PM silent on Trump’s culpability for Washington coup

By John Braddock, 16 January 2021

Labour Party Prime Minister Ardern has deliberately evaded criticising President Trump’s role in the attempted fascist coup in the US.

Magia Record, Kakushigoto, Fruits Basket and Sword Art Online: A general review of anime in 2020

By Matthew MacEgan, 16 January 2021

A total of 140 Japanese animated television series numbering more than 1,865 episodes debuted in 2020. Our critic comments on a selection of the more popular titles.

Hyundai steel workers in South Korea strike; Tamil Nadu primary school teachers protest; Australia: Svitzer tugboat workers walk out

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

16 January 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian government invokes “national security” to ban Chinese infrastructure investments

By Mike Head, 16 January 2021

In effect, Chinese investment is now being banned across most of the economy, in preparation for military conflict.

Sri Lankan education safety committee holds well-attended online meeting

By Our correspondents, 15 January 2021

Participants discussed the need to build a network of education action committees to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

Indian external affairs minister visits Sri Lanka to counteract growing Chinese influence

By Rohantha De Silva, 15 January 2021

Concerned that the Rajapakse regime is turning to Beijing for financial assistance, Jaishankar’s trip appears to be a thinly-veiled warning to Colombo.

Australia: Highly infectious strain of COVID spreads in Queensland hotel quarantine

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 January 2021

For months, governments have rejected warnings from medical experts that private hotels in the middle of city centres are not equipped to be placed on the frontlines of the pandemic.

India’s Supreme Court feigns concern for farmers, while laying groundwork for illegalizing seven-week mass protest

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 14 January 2021

The Supreme Court ruling is aimed at ensnaring the farmers’ in a phony mediation process that is rigged against them, while laying the ground for outlawing their struggle if it is not shifted to an alternate site or sites.

Canada deepens support for US-led anti-China offensive

By Laurent Lafrance and Roger Jordan, 14 January 2021

Tensions between Canada and China are growing sharper as Ottawa swings ever more openly behind US imperialism’s aggressive diplomatic, economic and military-strategic offensive against Beijing.

Bangladesh pandemic cases surpass half a million, with over 7,810 deaths

By Wimal Perera, 13 January 2021

Prime Minister Hasina boasts about helping the poor as hunger deepens across the country.

Australian government again refuses to condemn Trump coup

By Mike Head, 13 January 2021

The acting prime minister doubled down on the government’s stance even as evidence is emerging daily of the high-level involvement in the January 6 putsch.

Staggering growth of super-rich in China

By Fu Hong, 13 January 2021

Some of China’s wealthiest capitalist entrepreneurs are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), have been delegates to the National People’s Congress, or are members of the associated People's Political Consultative Conference.

Australian pseudo-left dismisses Trump’s fascist coup attempt as a “pathetic farce”

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 January 2021

Socialist Alternative is seeking to chloroform the working class by insisting that there is no fascist threat in the United States, even after last week’s coup attempt.

Report documents education inequality in Australia

By Carolyn Kennett, 12 January 2021

The data points to the long-term impacts on young people of a two-tiered system of education that perpetuates inequality.

COVID-19 cases increasing rapidly in China

By Jerry Zhang, 12 January 2021

Despite large-scale testing and contact tracing, the highly-contagious virus has still spread, especially among workers in the most exposed industries.

Anxiety in South Asia over US president’s attempted coup

By K. Ratnayake, 12 January 2021

The South Asian ruling elites are heavily dependent economically and strategically on US imperialism and the political instability in Washington directly impacts on them all.

Australia hit by more infectious coronavirus strains, B117

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 January 2021

Nearly twelve months into the global pandemic, the failure of state and federal governments to enact the most basic of precautions continues to be exposed.

Communist Party of the Philippines resurrects urban hit squads

By John Malvar, 11 January 2021

The CPP’s resurrection of Sparrow Units is bound up with its efforts to seek bourgeois allies even as the ruling class as a whole is seeking the means to suppress unrest and secure a firm hold on power.

Japanese prime minister declares state of emergency amid rapid spread of COVID-19

By Ben McGrath, 11 January 2021

The Suga government is using the state of emergency to cover up its own incompetence and refusal to take any real measures to address the pandemic.

New Zealand inquiry covers up police dismissal of anti-Muslim threats prior to 2019 terror attack

By Tom Peters, 11 January 2021

The royal commission accepted all the claims by Australian and New Zealand agencies that they could not have prevented the Christchurch terror attack, and dismissed evidence to the contrary.

This week in history: January 11-17

11 January 2021

25 years ago: Hashimoto replaces Murayama as Japan’s prime ministerOn January 11, 1996, Ryutaro Hashimoto, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), became prime minister of Japan. He succeeded Tomiichi Murayama after the latter’s sudden resignation on January 5 opened a new stage in the breakup of the postwar political system in Japan.

Boeing 737-500 crashes after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia

By Bryan Dyne, 11 January 2021

The tragedy coincides with a $2.5 billion legal settlement between Boeing and the US Department of Justice ending a federal criminal investigation stemming from two crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Indonesia: Soaring COVID-19 cases as government scrambles to roll out vaccine

By Robert Campion, 9 January 2021

Contact tracing has been minimal and disorderly, while lockdowns have been resisted throughout, placing the full burden of the virus on the working class.

Detainees protest inhuman conditions on Australia’s Christmas Island

By Max Boddy, 9 January 2021

After being denied the right to peacefully demonstrate, detainees set fire to mattresses and buildings in the immigration prison.

Pakistan: Doctors and health workers continue strike in Islamabad; Sri Lanka: Trainee teachers and health workers protest; Australia: NSW paramedics threaten industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

9 January 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian political and media establishment responds nervously to Trump coup attempt

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 January 2021

The Australian ruling class is fearful of the domestic and international implications of intense political instability and upheaval in the US, the centre of world capitalism and Australia’s chief strategic ally since World War II.

International protests support Indian farmers’ agitation against Modi’s pro-agribusiness laws

By Jesse Thomas, 9 January 2021

There have been protests around the world, including in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, in support of the now 45-day-long agitation Indian farmers are mounting against the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s pro-agribusiness laws.

Indian Toyota workers continue strike in defiance of company-government repression

By Arun Kumar, 8 January 2021

Striking Toyota workers also face mounting pressure from the Congress and Janata Dal opposition parties, and the isolation of their struggle by the Stalinist-dominated unions.

Modi boasts about “Indian” vaccines as COVID-19 virus rages through the country

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 January 2021

Workers and the poor continue to be the primary victims of the pandemic, while India’s media focuses on vaccinations.

Hong Kong police carry out largest arrests since imposition of national security law

By Ben McGrath, 8 January 2021

Beijing’s primary fear is that the working class will start to fight for its own class interests in Hong Kong and opposition will spread throughout the rest of China.

Australian report documents “Blue Harvest” wage theft of international backpackers

By Virginia Browne, 8 January 2021

Illegal labour hire practises, severe underpayment and brutal exploitation of international backpackers are endemic in Australia.

Sri Lankan president orders all state employees to commit to his election manifesto

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 7 January 2021

These preparations of Rajapakse are aimed at cementing his autocratic rule and taking on the working class.

New Zealand protest demands freedom for Julian Assange

By Our reporter, 6 January 2021

The Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) took part in a rally called by Free Assange NZ in Wellington, ahead of the judicial verdict in London that unexpectedly halted the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US.

Australia: Chinese immigrant meatworkers locked out after protesting alleged assault

By Jason Quill and Patrick O’Connor, 6 January 2021

The meatworkers' union acted as strike-breaker, shutting down the Chinese workers’ principled act of solidarity with their victimised colleague.

Australian government slashes minimal pandemic subsidies for workers and unemployed

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 January 2021

The cuts form part of a broader austerity offensive being enforced by Labor and Liberal governments at the state and federal levels, the trade unions and the largest corporations.

Protest over appalling conditions in New Zealand prison

By Tom Peters, 5 January 2021

Twenty-one prisoners were involved in a six-day standoff to oppose rundown and unsanitary conditions at Waikeria Prison, exposing the false promises by the Labour Party-led government to make prisons more humane.

Sri Lanka webinar: Education safety committee to discuss the fight against unsafe school reopenings

By Safety Committee of Teachers and Students and Parents (Sri Lanka), 4 January 2021

Urgent action must be taken to save lives, and secure the right to education, against the Rajapakse government’s hazardous return-to-work policies.

Australian government negligence threatens large-scale COVID-19 outbreak

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 January 2021

There are indications that the infection spread is on an exponential trajectory.

Sri Lanka online lecture: “Two hundred years since the birth of Friedrich Engels”

By International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Sri Lanka), 4 January 2021

The lecture is based on the WSWS article on the 200th anniversary of birth of Friedrich Engels.

Australian Grosvenor Mine disaster inquiry further exposed as an official cover-up

By Terry Cook, 4 January 2021

The judge heading the government’s inquiry described the process as “compromised” and said that it may never establish the cause of the disaster.

Junior doctors walk out in India’s Bihar state; Sri Lankan plantation workers strike over wage cuts; Australian health workers demand better wages and conditions

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

31 December 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Tens of thousands face eviction after Chinese rental company collapses

By Lily Zhao, 31 December 2020

Danke’s failure provides an insight into the far broader housing crisis in China confronting workers and young people, and exposes the profiteering and parasitic character of layers of capitalists in China.

Why was the 2019 New Zealand terror attack not prevented?

By Tom Peters, 31 December 2020

The royal commission’s findings that fascist Brenton Tarrant could not have been stopped from killing 51 people in Christchurch, and that he had no connections with far-right groups, are not believable.

Hands off COVID-19 whistleblower Rebekah Jones!

By Health Workers Action Committee of Sri Lanka, 30 December 2020

Sri Lankan health workers denounce the persecution of data scientist Rebekah Jones and hail her determination to protect lives by exposing the real extent of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.

Coronavirus cluster continues to grow in Sydney, Australia

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 December 2020

The government is prioritising the demands of big business over public health and safety.

Australia: Victorian Hotel Quarantine Inquiry finds “failure of governance”

By Martin Scott, 30 December 2020

Predictably, the report is a whitewash with the recommendations calling for little more than further investigation “as to the lines of accountability and responsibility between Departmental heads and Ministers.”

Housing crisis fuels poverty and inequality in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 29 December 2020

Two workers living in Porirua, where the median rent is $595 a week, told the WSWS that the Labour Party government had done nothing to improve living standards.

Rubber glove factories become COVID-19 epicentres in Malaysia

By Robert Campion, 24 December 2020

Damning exposures by Top Glove workers have revealed sweltering conditions, with lack of protections, no social distancing and packed dormitories.

SEP public meeting: A tribute to Barry Jobson—Australian Trotskyist

24 December 2020

The life of Barry Jobson holds crucial political lessons for workers and young people coming into revolutionary struggle today and we encourage you to attend our online meeting on January 17.

United Workers Union organises return to work at Hanes warehouse in Australia

By Will Marshall, 24 December 2020

The union’s latest “victory” maintains the current low level of permanent jobs at the Melbourne site, where more than half the workforce has been casualised.

Jacobin publishes whitewash of union sell-out bid at Australian warehouse

By Jack Turner and Peter Symonds, 24 December 2020

Kelly’s article makes no mention of the role of the UWU, or indeed of any trade union, let alone their decades of betrayals.

China: Apple factory workers protest over jobs; Sri Lankan garment workers strike over cuts to annual bonus; New Zealand home care workers strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

24 December 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

No to forced work amid raging pandemic! All non-essential production must be shutdown with full compensation to workers!

By Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 24 December 2020

Factories, tea estates and government institutions are now dangerous hotbeds for COVID-19, a situation caused by the Rajapakse government’s defence of corporate profits.

Australian COVID-19 outbreak underscores danger of corporate drive to lift safety restrictions

By Mike Head, 24 December 2020

Limited safety restrictions have been relaxed in Sydney, despite warnings from infectious diseases experts.

Australian government hires private debt collectors to hound welfare recipients

By Martin Scott, 23 December 2020

New tender documents reveal a stepped-up assault on the country’s most vulnerable as hundreds of thousands still await restitution for the unlawful “robodebt” scheme.

Hunger in the Philippines reaches all-time highs

By Robert Campion, 23 December 2020

Combining this year’s quarterly hunger surveys, which hit a staggering 30.7 percent in September, the average hunger rate for Filipino families reached an historic high of 21.1 percent in 2020.

Australia: Victoria’s “Big Housing Build” a windfall for developers

By Paul Bartizan, 23 December 2020

The project continues the decades-long rundown of public housing and further privatises what is left.

India: Karnataka factory inspectors find workers’ abuse at the Wistron iPhone plant

By Kranti Kumara, 22 December 2020

The report, issued after an uprising by workers at the Wistron factory in India has revealed slave-like working conditions and wage delays, which are common among Apple iPhone manufacturers throughout Asia.

The Indian farmers’ agitation and the socialist strategy of the working class

Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 22 December 2020

Indian workers must intervene as an independent political force in the crisis precipitated by the farmers’ agitation and rally the rural masses under their leadership to fight the Modi government and bourgeois rule.

Top union bureaucrat in Australia lashes out at WSWS article

By Max Boddy, 22 December 2020

When challenged over her claims that the article was full of untruths, ACTU secretary Sally McManus provided no evidence and told the WSWS to “Google” it.

COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates Sri Lanka’s high child poverty rate

By Yasara Sooriyanayaka, 22 December 2020

A UNICEF report reveals that most Sri Lankan families do not have adequate incomes and confront many hardships in raising their children.

Australian COVID-19 outbreak spreads beyond Sydney, but governments reject calls for lockdowns and masks

By Mike Head, 22 December 2020

Already, the latest coronavirus “cluster” has escaped from Sydney’s northern beaches region across the city and interstate.

Video of police killing sparks mass outrage in the Philippines

By John Malvar, 22 December 2020

The outpouring of anger over the murders, and the widespread calls for the end to police killings, put paid to the pernicious lie spread in the media that Duterte’s “war on drugs” is “wildly popular.”

Sydney COVID-19 outbreak highlights global threat but Australian governments oppose effective safety restrictions

By Mike Head, 21 December 2020

Once again, the myth of Australia being an exception to the worldwide health emergency has been shattered.

New Zealand’s border restrictions leave thousands of students stranded

By Tom Peters, 21 December 2020

Around 5,200 international students enrolled in New Zealand have been stuck offshore this year and many are facing significant financial hardship due to the country’s draconian border restrictions.

COVID outbreak and China tensions expose Australian government bid to claim “recovery”

By Mike Head, 21 December 2020

The government’s own statistics show that more than three million workers remain dependent on poverty-line JobKeeper wage subsidies or JobSeeker dole payments, both of which are being slashed.

Defaults raise concerns on financial markets over Chinese debt

By Nick Beams, 20 December 2020

The economic slowdown due to the coronavirus has intensified the debt problems of major Chinese enterprises, which have been building since the global financial crisis of 2008.

Cyclone Yasa leaves thousands homeless in Fiji

By Tom Peters, 19 December 2020

More than 23,000 people fled to evacuation centres on Thursday night as the Pacific island nation was hit by what could prove to be its most severe cyclone in history.

Bangladeshi health workers strike over wages; Sri Lankan teachers to demand COVID-19 protection; Offshore LNG maintenance workers strike in Western Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

19 December 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

GM Korea workers narrowly approve new contract

By Ben McGrath, 19 December 2020

The new contract maintains a wage freeze with no commitment from the company to maintain production in South Korea for the long term.

Sydney COVID-19 outbreak follows pro-business lifting of Australian safety restrictions

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 December 2020

The emergence of the cluster follows a frenzied “reopening” campaign, aimed at maximising corporate profit-making, especially over the holiday season.

Australian “National Day of Action” a farce as union prepares to sell out Coles workers

By Martin Scott, 19 December 2020

The United Workers Union has declared the supermarket chain’s offer of a 3.5 percent pay rise “more than enough” for the locked-out workers.

Protests erupt in New Caledonia over sale of nickel mine

By John Braddock, 18 December 2020

The dispute over ownership of the troubled Vale plant between the pro-and anti-independence factions of the ruling elite has nothing to offer the working class.

Attacks on Australian university jobs deepen but union boasts it is “stronger”

By Mike Head, 18 December 2020

Judging by the NTEU’s annual report, the union leadership is proud of its achievement in presiding over unprecedented job losses.

Kia auto workers in South Korea launch week-long strike action

By Ben McGrath, 17 December 2020

Kia workers are attempting defend themselves against increased attacks by management, which is collaborating with the unions to impose wage freezes and sellout agreements.

Sri Lanka: Lively discussion at Health Workers Action Committee online meeting

By Our correspondents, 17 December 2020

The meeting discussed the need for an independent initiative of workers to defend the health service, in unity with the international working class.

Unions voice hypocritical alarm over Australian industrial relations bill

By Max Boddy, 17 December 2020

The bill is the product of months of secretive talks between employers, the government and the unions.

Australian union prepares to shut down struggle by locked-out Coles workers

By our correspondents, 16 December 2020

By pushing workers to agree to the company’s paltry wage increase, the United Workers Union underscored its determination to strike a bargain with Coles.

Indian government and big business fear farmers’ protest could trigger eruption of working class opposition

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 16 December 2020

In the face of mass and escalating opposition from farmers, Narendra Modi and his far-right Bharatiya Janata Party government are doubling down on their drive to implement a raft of pro-corporate agricultural “reforms.”

Australian intelligence review paves way for expanded political surveillance

By Mike Head, 16 December 2020

Buried away in the mammoth report, and barely mentioned in the corporate media, is an array of further anti-democratic powers.

Form rank-and-file committees at Australia Post to fight union-management restructure!

By Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 16 December 2020

In any struggle to defend their jobs and conditions, postal workers confront the trade unions as their enemies.

Australian Trotskyist Barry Jobson dies aged 78

By The Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 15 December 2020

From the time he joined the Socialist Labour League, predecessor of the SEP, in 1974 Comrade Barry was a tireless fighter for the program of Trotskyism in the working class, particularly in the Elcar railway workshops in the Sydney suburb of Chullora where he worked for many years.

Labor helps expand Australian spy agency’s secret interrogation powers

By Mike Head, 15 December 2020

Pushed through parliament in one day, the bill extends ASIO’s coercive questioning powers beyond terrorism to “foreign interference,” “espionage” and “politically motivated violence.”

Editor of New Zealand’s major corporate think tank exposed as a bigot

By Tom Peters, 15 December 2020

Nathan Smith, chief editor of the New Zealand Initiative and a major writer for the National Business Review, ran a personal blog featuring anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim diatribes.