Asia

The COVID-19 outbreak that started in Wuhan, China has now affected all the nations of the world. The developed countries, like the USA, Spain, UK and Italy have been hit severely by the spread of the virus. China has been able to control the virus to an extent after three months of lockdown in Wuhan. In India, the first COVID-19 case was detected in January in the Southern state of Kerala.

Indian workers face illegal pay cuts and layoffs at the hands of their unscrupulous bosses, working hand-in-hand with a yellow union. Meanwhile, the regional and central governments are using the COVID-19 crisis as cover to sneak in attacks on the working-class. Defend wages and workers’ rights!

In the last week, over 20,000 workers took to the streets of Bangladesh to demand their wages after clothes factories stopped paying their staff due to a lack of orders. With the global coronavirus pandemic causing fashion retailers such as H&M, Walmart and Tesco to cancel their orders, many workers in Bangladeshi factories have gone up to two months without receiving any income. Now, in defiance of the nationwide lockdown, workers have organised massive protests demanding their money and risking infection to fight the bosses.

The 73 years that have passed since the transfer of power from British India to the native ruling classes of the Indian subcontinent has not alleviated the dire poverty, misery and exploitation of the vast masses of populace, and in particular the sanitation workers.

Millions of ordinary people in Indian-occupied Kashmir are facing an unprecedented situation amidst the coronavirus lockdown imposed on the whole of India for 21 days. Kashmir was already under a strict curfew and has faced brutal repression since 5 August 2019, when a draconian law was passed by the Modi government changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate state, dissolving its state assembly by presidential order and relegating it to a union territory directly controlled by the central government.

In the depths of the 2008 crisis, Beijing rescued world capitalism. The fiscal stimulus they carried out was the largest in world history, at over £500bn. Had it not been for this stimulus, and the global demand it created for raw materials and other goods China needed as a result, the financial crisis would have been an all-out depression. The crisis unfolding before our eyes is far more serious than that of ten years ago. Yet this time, China will not be able to rescue the world, let alone its own economy.

The latest outbreak of coronavirus has caused the biggest wave of stock market losses since 2008, wiping $5tn off share values worldwide. Markets are worried that the virus will have a serious impact on an already weak world economy. These fears are not unfounded.

We publish the following documentary about the life of a textile worker, produced by the Red Workers' Front (RWF) in Pakistan. It was shot in an area named 'Sharifpura' in Multan. It represents the life of every worker in the country.

A worker in Lahore was murdered last week by thugs on the payroll of Ravi Autos, following protests against illegal layoffs and low pay. The Red Workers’ Front has issued this statement of solidarity with the workers, and condemnation of this brutal capitalist crime.

I have just heard the sad news of the death of Tanvir Gondal, a dear friend and comrade of mine. Although he had been ill with cancer for some time, the news of his death was nevertheless a cruel blow.

The spread of coronavirus throughout China is beginning to have serious political repercussions for the regime. The masses' anger found a flashpoint when the doctor who originally warned of the epidemic (and was hushed up by the CCP) passed away from the virus. The situation is a pressure cooker, and Xi Jinping is struggling to keep the lid down. 

The Coronavirus outbreak in China is critical. According to official figures, there are 5,997 confirmed cases across the country so far, with the vast majority of them in Wuhan: the provincial capital of Hubei Province. However, nine other provinces have reported over 100 confirmed cases, most of which are in the industrial provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong. The disease has spread beyond China’s borders, from Thailand to its south, to Australia and the USA.