Asia

As the Chinese Communist Party acts more confidently on the international stage than ever before, the Chinese working class is starting to chafe against the harsh realities of capitalism. Since May, there have been three high-profile, cross-country strikes started by crane operators, fast food delivery workers, and most recently truckers. Although the strikes were small in relation to the general working class, the workers’ ability to organize across several major cities indicates that a layer of the Chinese working class is being pushed into struggle.

20 years ago, a regime that seemed unmoveable, that had ruled for decades, while standing on the bones of millions of people massacred between 1965-66 and with its police and soldiers present at every corner, collapsed in the blink of an eye. On 21 May 1998, all over Indonesia, on TV and radio, a voice familiar to the ears of 200 million people proclaimed: “I have decided to declare that I have ceased to be the president of the Republic of Indonesia.” The people cheered and a new chapter in the modern history of Indonesia opened.

Dozens of peaceful demonstrators have been massacred by the state authorities in Tamil Nadu, India, after organising to demand the closure of a plant that is wreaking havoc on the environment and causing health issues for the locals. Louis Thomas reports from Tamil Nadu.

On a bright Sunday morning, Indonesian people were shocked by a string of bombings in Surabaya, the second largest city in the country. But there was something different this time compared to past bombings, which made the tragedy difficult to fathom. The perpetrators were three families, with parents who brought along their young children in a string of suicide bombings. The involvement of innocent children in such a barbaric act has multiplied people’s natural anger and disgust towards terrorism. Many feel we are entering into a 'bizarre' epoch – and they are not far from the truth.

The serious representatives of capitalism are petrified that the ongoing trade dispute between China and America could erupt into a full-blown economic war. In a recent editorial for the Financial Times, associate editor Martin Wolf described US President Donald Trump’s latest plan to reduce the $337bn US-China trade imbalance by imposing $200bn worth of tariffs on Chinese goods (over two years) as a “crazy” act of “fiscal irresponsibility”. But there is method in Trump’s madness. He is predictably applying his particular art of negotiation: threaten, bully and bluster – then strike a deal. However,

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Kim Jong-un, recent bogeyman of the international press, has suddenly become its darling. The new diplomatic offensive took the ‘international community’ by surprise, with the prospect of an end to a 70-year conflict. Although Trump is attempting to bask in the glow of success, the latest turn, in reality, demonstrates the relative weakening of US imperialism.

As reported yesterday, all of our abducted comrades have now been released from custody in Karachi, following pressure from our international solidarity campaign. Leading comrade of the Red Workers' Front, Aftab Ashraf, has recorded a video statement after being released by the Rangers. We publish it here. Lal Salaam!

It has been confirmed that the last of our abducted Pakistani comrades have been released by the Rangers. We are relieved to have them back safely and grateful to all of our comrades and supporters who participated in our solidarity campaign, which was instrumental in securing the abductees. We publish the following message from the Progressive Youth Alliance, celebrating the safe return of our comrades, and the victory of our international campaign.

In the bourgeois media today, Afghanistan is portrayed only in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, warlords and drug cartels. While these ills are a sad fact of life in Afghanistan today, that was not always the case. 40 years ago, a revolution almost shook the country out of its backwardness, only to be thrown back after the imperialist-backed, fundamentalist counter-revolution. To understand the current situation in the Middle East, as well as the rise of the reactionary forces, it is necessary to understand the rise and fall of the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in 1978.

The international campaign demanding the release of our comrades, who were abducted by the Rangers in Karachi on 22 April, continues to build. There have been demonstrations at Pakistani embassies all over the world, and our official petition has acquired thousands of signatories, including from some prominent figures from the political left and trade union movement. Here, we provide an update on the solidarity campaign's latest activities.

Yesterday, we had a fantastic response from comrades around the world, protesting the abductions in Pakistan. The good news is that three of our comrades were released today: Aftab Ashraf, Karim Parhar and Zain ul Abidin. However, the Rangers are refusing to release the other three comrades, who remain in custody in their headquarters in Karachi. Comrades must step up the campaign of protest for Bilawal Baloch, Umer Riaz and Mohammed Gulbaz. We demand the immediate release of all of our comrades.

Pakistan is a country of over 200m people, but at least 40 percent live in poverty. Life expectancy is low, at an average of 66 years and infant mortality is high, with about about 64.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. For a large part of the population life is a living hell. But on top of this there is also the impact of imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, the effects of which have spilled across the border, and the repressive operations of the state security forces.

Update 11:34 - we have received reports that these two comrades have now been released. Yesterday in Karachi two more supporters of the Lal Salaam group were abducted by the Rangers. They were protesting peacefully, together with other left activists and groups in front of the Karachi Press Club, against the previous abductions when there was crackdown by the military and four protesters were taken away. Later two of them were released. The two that were not released are Yasir Irshad and Shay Razai, who are presently being held by the Rangers. See this Reuters report, ...

The seven socialist activists abducted by the Rangers in Pakistan are still being held. Their whereabouts remain unknown. All possible measures are being taken to locate them. As yet, no charges have been made and the reason is that no crime has been committed. They have been abducted because of their solidarity activities with the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM): a mass movement of immense proportions of the Pashtun people, who are demanding to know where the 30,000 people who have disappeared over recent years are, whether they are being held in prison or whether they have been killed.

Today, protests were held in Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawlakot and other cities to demand the release of comrades abducted in Karachi by the army and Sindh Rangers. They were disappeared because they joined a protest in front of the Karachi Press Club that was called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). Nobody has been informed of their whereabouts so far and no case has been registered against them. Their family members are experiencing extreme shock and worry, but still don’t know the location of their loved ones.

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