Asia

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.

tHong 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.