Asia

The protest movement of Jawaharlal Nehru University students against indiscriminate fee hikes and reactionary discipline policies for hostels have entered a new stage. The university administration has astronomically increased the fees by 999 percent, meaning hostel room rent has increased from INR10 ($0.14) to INR600 ($8.35). In addition to this, there are newly implemented service charges of INR1700 ($23.67), and the mess fee has increased from INR5000 ($69.61) to INR12000 ($167.07).

Last weekend, amidst a wave of protests that has raged on for over half a year following the Extradition Bill introduced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong held its regularly scheduled district council election. This typically low-interest, low-turnout affair was turned into an effective referendum on the Hong Kong masses’ opinion towards Beijing in light of recent events. It concluded with a landslide victory for the anti-Beijing bloc of politicians, with the highest turnout since Hong Kong’s return to China. But what is needed is a clear way forward based on class struggle politics.

In August, the expected yield for ten-year Treasury notes fell below the yield for two-year notes for the first time since 2007, with the 30-year bond yield also reaching a new low. The “yield curve” tracks the yield to investors who purchase shares in government debt to be paid back over various time horizons. The national debt accrues as the US Treasury sells Treasury securities in exchange for cash used to finance the government.

A powerful movement of health workers is going on against privatisation in Pakistan. The government is snatching the basic right of healthcare from the working class in a country where already more than 80 percent of the population has no access to basic health provision. Rather than building new public hospitals and spending more on health services, the government has planned to close the health department altogether and hand it over to the private sector.

The EVA Air flight attendants strike, led by the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) ended on July 6th, 2019 after over two weeks of struggle. Management slightly relented on their previous hardline attitude as they reached an agreement with the union. From the perspective of the Taiwanese labour movement, this strike will not be the end, but merely an episode that shows the sign of times to come.

This is a translated editorial statement from Militan Indonesia, first published on 22 August 2019, at the beginning of a wave of mass demonstrations across Indonesia and Papua. Since then, reaction has reared its head. The Indonesian government deployed an additional 6,000 police and military personnel to Papua. The internet was blocked. A pro-Indonesian militia was mobilised to terrorise Papuan people. Dozens of Papuans have been killed, with hundreds being rounded up.

China’s National Day, which marks the anniversary of Mao’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October, is always full of pageantry and displays of military strength. But for the 70th anniversary, Xi Jinping pulled out all the stops. The military parade was China’s biggest ever, with new, supersonic unmanned drones and nuclear missiles proudly on display. The message was loud and clear: as Xi himself said, “no force can shake the status of this great nation”.

The Sunday 8 September protest threatens to lead the movement in Hong Kong in a reactionary, openly pro-US imperialist direction. This is extremely dangerous for the movement and must be firmly and unequivocally rejected.

The mass movement in Hong Kong has just won its key demand – the withdrawal of the hated extradition bill that would allow anyone the Beijing government suspects of criminality to be extradited to the mainland. But none of the other four demands, such as for an independent investigation into police brutality, have been won.

Stock markets have experienced a roller-coaster ride over the past two months, as Trump’s erratic trade policy has brought the world economy to the brink of recession. In the latest move, Trump yet again partially postponed the introduction of new tariffs, which he announced two weeks ago. This temporary reprieve will do little to solve the conflict.

Hong Kong’s earthshaking protest movement is entering its second month. Despite increasing pressure from Beijing and the Carrie Lam government, the movement still grows in militancy. It is graduating from bourgeois liberal methods towards the method of class struggle. In many ways, when Carrie Lam emerged from days of obscurity to respond to the general strike, she was right to say that the Hong Kong movement is heading towards a “path of no return.”

Hong Kong’s mass movement against the Chinese state’s attempt to control the territory has been spurred forward by the whip of counterrevolution. On Sunday 21 July, as protestors returned home from demonstrating, around 50 thugs dressed in all-white burst onto a subway train and indiscriminately attacked passengers with poles and other blunt objects. Although the attackers were anonymous and the assault appeared arbitrary, the message was received loud and clear – as was the intention: do not dare challenge the Hong Kong government and its masters in Beijing.

Hong Kong’s massive movement against the Beijing sponsored extradition law is showing no signs of fizzling out, after 500,000 people joined a march yesterday, the anniversary of the handover from Britain to Hong Kong. However, the movement is already at a crossroads, for it has reached a limit of what can be achieved without leadership and programme. 

On 20 June 2019, the flight attendants of Taiwan’s private commercial airline EVA Air went on strike. Under the leadership of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union, with over 2,300 workers joining the strike, this is already the largest private sector strike in Taiwan since the end of the KMT dictatorship’s martial law in 1987. The strike has thus far caused more than 700 flight cancellations.

On 16 June, only a week after the last, million-strong march that took place in Hong Kong, a second mass protest occurred. According to the leading organisers of the Civil Human Rights Front, as many as two million people joined the march yesterday. Judging from the images and figures available, as well as what I’ve seen, it is entirely credible that this protest is larger than that of the previous Sunday.

Today, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers marched in militant defiance of the ‘extradition bill’ that would grant China the power to take anyone in Hong Kong into custody on the mainland. Only three days earlier, Sunday 9 June, saw what may be the biggest demonstration in Hong Kong’s history. According to organisers, one million marched through the city’s humid streets, meaning one-in-seven Hong Kongers demonstrated!

Ko Tun Myint Win, a peasant from Aung Thabyae village in the Patheingyi township, Mandalay Region, died in police custody on 5 May. The authorities claimed that he died due to a high fever and alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and said the family members had to request a medical record of the autopsy from them as well.

We are publishing the text of a leaflet produced by a sympathiser of the IMT in Taiwan and aimed at the students there, which explains what the Tiananmen movement in 1989 was about, how it was destroyed and what workers and students in both China and Taiwan should be working towards today.

The results of the general elections in India surprised many people across the world, with the right-wing Hindu fundamentalist BJP, led by Narendra Modi, winning a landslide victory. The BJP, a party now supported by big business and with a long history of anti-labour policies and roots in the RSS (a fascist organisation) has now become the second party in India to form consecutive governments, after the Indian National Congress.

Thirty years ago, the world’s largest-ever student movement was brought to a violent close by the so-called People’s Liberation Army. For about six weeks, hundreds of thousands, and at one point over a million, students, workers, Communist Party members and Beijing residents had flooded into and occupied Tiananmen Square, the same place from which forty years earlier Mao had proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Numerous land grabbings have taken place in Burma. More than 50 percent of these have been carried out by the military and governmental departments. The rest have been committed by their lackeys and the foreign capitalists. Numerous peasant struggles have been taking place in Burma for their farmland, communal land and roads, and communal forests. Among those cases, the recent peasant protest in Aung Thbyae village in the Patheingyi township, Mandalay Region, deserves special mention.

Today, In Defence of Marxism is proud to publish for the first time a number of articles in the Burmese language. They have been sent to us by the Social Democratic United Front (SDUF) in Myanmar (formerly Burma), an organisation that took an active part in the student protests against the military dictatorship, together with the Burma Federation of Student Unions.

We publish here a second round of May Day reports, from Pakistan, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nigeria. In all these countries, the on-going capitalist crisis has led to great exploitation and injustice, and workers are engaged in struggles on several fronts for decent wages and living conditions. Many are drawing radical conclusions, and responded very well to our comrades’ message of revolutionary class struggle!

“The most critical moment for bad governments is the one which witnesses their first steps toward reform” – Alexis de Tocqueville.

On Sunday 21 April, and in the following week, Kazakhstani society observed with anger and indignation the shameful trial of a group of young activists who unfurled a banner along the route of the Almaty marathon with the words: “You can’t run away from the truth”, “#ihaveachoice” [in Russian] and “#ADILSAILAYUSHIN” [meaning “for free elections” in Kazakh].

On 17 April 2019, Taiwanese working people received a memo, signed by folklore sea goddess Mazu herself, that Foxconn’s CEO Terry Guo Tai-ming (郭台銘) should be their president. As any self-respecting bourgeois understands, an anointment should not go without a fancy feast. Thus, Mr. Guo officiated his heaven-endorsed bid for presidency at a KMT award ceremony where he was the recipient of an “award of honour.”

The general elections in India are ongoing and the results will be announced on 23 May. Across India, 900 million voters will elect the National Assembly (or the lower house of the parliament, called the Lok Sabha) for a five-year term. The tragedy is that, at a moment when Modi is losing popular support, the left remains weak because of its past – and present – policies.

Jet Airways private airline services were suspended on Wednesday 17 April. The private airline was owned and run by Naresh Goyal from 1993, serving domestic and international destinations. In a fortnight’s time, it would have completed 26 years of service.

On what should have been a peaceful and calm Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka was hit by a horrific terrorist attack. Churches and hotels across the island were bombed. The explosions were so powerful that church rooftops were torn off and smoke could be seen for miles. The blasts have killed 321 at the last count, leaving as many as 500 injured. We condemn this disgusting and cowardly attack in the strongest possible terms.

"When China wakes up, she will shake the world." This famous prediction of Napoleon has been confirmed by history. Particularly in the last 20 years, China has become an economic power of primary importance that objectively threatens the world leadership of the United States.

The Pakistan Congress of the IMT opened, as per tradition, with revolutionary poems. The Congress assembled in the main hall of the electrical and hydro workers' union in the centre of Lahore. The mood was (appropriately) electric, but it was also tempered by the tragic death of a young comrade from Dadu in Sindh, who was involved in a train accident on the way to the Congress.

On 19 March 2019, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the 78-year-old president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, an enemy of the working class and the butcher of Zhanaozen, announced his resignation. In the last five or six years, predictions of Nazarbayev’s coming voluntary resignation were being made regularly, with varying degrees of credibility and, of course, tended not to be confirmed in reality. From 1984, Nazarbayev held the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR, and in 1989 assumed the role of First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan,

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In the aftermath of recent elections in Cameroon, instability has increased, with a factional struggle opening up between different sections of the ruling class. President Paul Biya of the ruling CPDM, who retained power in 2018, has ramped up political repression, arresting opposition leader Maurice Kamto and intensifying his suppression of the country’s Anglophone minority.

Today (6 March), the judge of the Multan High Court granted bail to Rawal Asad after hearing his case. This has proved once again that the decisions of the lower courts were illegal and biased. It also clearly reveals that they were subject to external influence.

The solidarity campaign for Rawal Asad (who has been held in custody since February on the scandalous charge of sedition after attending a peaceful protest in Multan, Pakistan) shows no sign of slowing down. On 4 March, comrades and supporters of the International Marxist Tendency coordinated a day of pressure against the Pakistani state by picketing, protesting and telephoning Pakistan's embassies all over the world, so the regime knows the world is watching, and we will not stop until our comrade is released. 

The so-called “February 28th Incident” (228, 二二八事件) is most remembered for the days of indiscriminate killings and repression that the Chinese bourgeois dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his KMT forces unleashed on Taiwan in 1947. Thousands of civilians were murdered in cold blood. It marked the beginning of a long-standing sentiment for Taiwanese national self-determination that permeates a large part of Taiwanese masses to this day.

談到二二八事件,一般聯想到的是中國資產階級獨裁者蔣介石以及其國民黨政權於1947年在台灣進行的血腥屠殺。上千名民眾在連日的政府鎮壓下喪生,而此事件也成為了一大部分台灣社會至今訴求獨立自決的重要分水嶺。

谈到二二八事件,一般联想到的是中国资产阶级独裁者蒋介石以及其国民党政权于1947年在台湾进行的血腥屠杀。上千名民众在连日的政府镇压下丧生,而此事件也成为了一大部分台湾社会至今诉求独立自决的重要分水岭。

Comrades and supporters from around the world are continuing to put pressure on the Pakistani state to release the Marxist student activist, Rawal Asad, who is still being held on the scandalous charge of sedition and has been denied bail. Meanwhile, protests are ongoing in Pakistan, where comrades, students and workers are demanding that Rawal be immediately released.

A Marxist student comrade of the Progressive Youth Alliance, Rawal Asad, remains in jail on the charge of sedition, having had his bail hearing rejected. In addition to continued protest in Pakistan against this injustice, messages and photographs have been pouring in all week from all over the world demanding our comrade's release.

The worldwide solidarity campaign for the release of Rawal Asad, a comrade from the Progressive Youth Alliance who was arrested in Multan and scandalously charged with sedition by the Pakistani state, has forged on apace. Photographs, videos and messages of solidarity have been flooding in from all around the globe.

An international solidarity campaign has been launched to demand the release of comrade Rawal Asad, who was arrested in Multan for the 'crime' of attending a protest. He faces a scandalous charge of sedition, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, and a judge has now officially denied his application for bail. In addition to demonstrations in Pakistan, comrades from all over the world have been protesting outside of Pakistani embassies, and sending pictures and messages of support calling

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Today, the Additional Session judge in Multan rejected the bail application of Rawal Asad, though the written order will be given tomorrow. Rawal’s lawyer, Azhar Bukhari, presented a strong defence in front of the judge and argued that the case is fabricated from start to finish. He also cited precedent in many rulings of various courts in Pakistan over the past several decades, and pointed out that joining a protest is a basic democratic right of every citizen, as guaranteed by the constitution (for now).

The ordeal of a Marxist student leader from Multan, Rawal Asad, seems to be unending. He is clearly being victimised through unlawful acts and a delaying of the court procedures. Today, once again it was made clear that no law exists in Pakistan, and the courts and lawyers are all part of a farcical façade, while the real power brokers rule unchallenged. The bail application for the fabricated case of sedition was due to be heard in a court in Multan today. But the judge delayed the hearing until the closing hours of the court. In the end, he said that he couldn't hear this case and that it should be referred to some other judge.

Rawal Asad, a Marxist student from Multan, was presented in court today after two days in police custody. The police reported to the court that they had completed their investigation and that they no longer required his physical custody. The lawyers of Rawal Asad moved a bail application, which will be heard tomorrow in the same court. Until then, he is being kept in jail.

Rawal Asad is an undergraduate student and political activist of Government Emerson College in Multan. On 5 February, he joined a protest called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) in Multan. They were protesting the killing of their leader, Arman Luni, who was a college professor and was killed in Balochistan a few days previously by a senior police officer, personally, by torture. The case of this murder has still not been registered. But the Multan Police registered a case against all the protestors, including Rawal Asad, charging them with sedition, among other things.

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