Asia

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.

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