South East Asia

Anti-government protests erupt in Thailand

By John Roberts, 26 November 2013

Just two years after national elections, an amnesty bill has reignited bitter infighting among the country’s ruling elites.

Indonesian protests over Australia spying revelations

By Peter Symonds, 22 November 2013

Indonesian president Yudhoyono has suspended military and intelligence sharing with Australia in a bid to contain widespread public anger at home.

Mounting anger at Philippine president’s response to typhoon disaster

By Mike Head, 16 November 2013

Despite Aquino’s claims that relief is arriving, millions of displaced people are desperately short of food, water, shelter and medical care.

Climate scientists warn of more super-typhoons

By Peter Symonds, 15 November 2013

Global warming raises the chances of more intense storms, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines.

Anger in Indonesia over low wage increases

By John Roberts, 9 November 2013

The minimum wage rises followed two days of strikes by hundreds of thousands of workers.

Philippine Senate holds hearing on corruption scandal

By Joseph Santolan, 8 November 2013

What makes this scandal potentially far more explosive than many previous ones is the geopolitical context in which it occurs.

Philippine political opposition deepens as Beijing-Manila relations sour

By Joseph Santolan, 6 November 2013

In the wake of Obama’s no-show in South East Asia in October, a political opposition to Philippine President Aquino has taken shape driven by concerns over the souring relations with Beijing.

US House subcommittee escalates war rhetoric against China

By Joseph Santolan, 2 November 2013

The credibility of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” is being eroded throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

US-China tensions drive Philippine political opposition

By Joseph Santolan, 30 October 2013

Behind a struggle over corrupt use of “pork barrel” funds, the ruling elite is fighting over the Philippines’ role in spearheading the US “pivot to Asia.”

Chinese premier visits Vietnam

By John Roberts, 28 October 2013

The trip was part of a diplomatic offensive by the Chinese leadership in South East Asia aimed at countering the US “pivot to Asia.”

Amid government shutdown, Obama cancels trip to Malaysia, Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 3 October 2013

Obama’s cancellation does not change Washington’s aggressive “pivot to Asia,” though it presents Washington with a crisis of credibility.

Indonesian economy faces continuing economic turbulence

By John Roberts, 21 September 2013

The Bank of Indonesia foreshadowed harsh austerity measures to prepare for the end of “quantitative easing.”

No maritime agreement at ASEAN meeting

By John Chan, 8 August 2013

China is resisting US pressure for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

Fuel price rise provokes unrest in Indonesia

By Therese Leclerc, 24 June 2013

Protests have erupted against the Indonesian government’s decision to implement a 44 percent increase in the price of oil.

US defence secretary outlines military build-up in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 3 June 2013

Obama’s “pivot” involves strengthening US military ties, as well as restructuring military forces, throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Philippine government calls for the rearming of Japan

By Joseph Santolan, 14 December 2012

Amid tensions with China, the Philippine foreign secretary said the government supported Japanese remilitarization as “a balancing factor”.

Death toll from Philippine typhoon exceeds 600

By Joseph Santolan, 10 December 2012

At least 100 of the deaths were the result of collapsed or buried evacuation centers.

Scores dead as typhoon hits the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 5 December 2012

The deaths so far reported have resulted from landslides, flash floods and falling trees and power lines. But the underlying cause is poverty.

Thai anti-government protesters clash with security forces

By John Roberts, 1 December 2012

The rally confirms that none of the bitter divisions within the Thai ruling elite have been resolved.

Philippine mayor calls for extrajudicial killing

By Dante Pastrana, 20 November 2012

The rise to power of Rodrigo Duterte as Davao City mayor implicates major political figures in the Philippines.

Obama’s trip intensifies US push into South East Asia

By Peter Symonds, 20 November 2012

The US focus on the region is part of a broader diplomatic offensive aimed at undermining China’s position throughout Asia.

Philippine “left” quarrels over election

By Joseph Santolan, 13 November 2012

The dispute reveals the depth of the opportunism and charlatanry of both Akbayan and Anakbayan, as well as other CPP-front organizations.

Philippine “left” quarrels over election

By Joseph Santolan, 13 November 2012

The dispute reveals the depth of the opportunism and charlatanry of both Akbayan and Anakbayan, as well as other CPP-front organizations.

Philippine anti-mining activist arrested for Facebook posting

By Dante Pastrana, 6 November 2012

The Aquino government has extended the criminalization of libel onto the internet and other forms of electronic media.

Philippine government implements two-tier wages

By Dante Pastrana, 5 November 2012

Along with the expansion of contractualization and underemployment, the new wage system is a major assault on the living standards of Filipino workers.

Millions of Indonesian workers join one-day strike

By John Roberts, 18 October 2012

The turnout was driven by pent-up anger over low wages and the “outsourcing” of work to contract workers, now common throughout Asia.

Former Philippine president arrested on the charge of plunder

By Joseph Santolan, 16 October 2012

The charge filed against her is being used by President Aquino’s administration to hold former President Arroyo without bail.

Philippine politicians declare candidacy for the 2013 election

By Joseph Santolan, 13 October 2012

Two major political coalitions composed of family dynasties are competing for a share in the power and the coffers of the state

Philippine president to sign Mindanao peace accord

By Joseph Santolan, 11 October 2012

Backed by Washington, the Manila political and business elites have struck a bargain with a section of the Mindanao ruling class for the joint exploitation of the island.

Anti-US protests spread throughout Muslim world

By Alex Lantier, 18 September 2012

Protests that began one week ago at US embassies in Egypt and Libya against an anti-Islamic YouTube video are rapidly spreading throughout the Muslim world.

Close associates of Indonesian president targeted over corruption

By John Roberts, 18 August 2012

Scandals have emerged amid the political manoeuvring for the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014.

Scores killed in Manila floods

By John Roberts, 10 August 2012

Urban planners have described the latest floods in the Philippines as a “man-made disaster.”

East Timorese election bolsters ruling party

By Mariano Cardoso, 27 July 2012

Gusmao’s CNRT nearly secured an absolute majority of parliamentary seats and plans to form a coalition government with two smaller parties.

Tensions heighten in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 26 July 2012

While the US media has blamed China for the friction in the South China Sea, Washington is responsible for inflaming the dangerous flashpoint.

ASEAN summit breaks up amid feuding over South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 14 July 2012

The diplomatic impasse is the product of the Obama administration’s aggressive “pivot” to Asia, aimed at undercutting China’s influence in the region.

Clinton stirs tensions with China ahead of ASEAN summit

By Peter Symonds, 12 July 2012

Every aspect of Clinton’s trip to Asia has focussed on strengthening Washington’s ties in the region at Beijing’s expense.

Paltry pay rise for workers in Philippine capital

By Dante Pastrana, 5 July 2012

Employers still oppose the 30-pesos daily increase, in sharp contrast to the stance of union leaders, who quickly dropped their original demand for a higher pay rise.

Indonesia to join US-Australia military exercises

By Mike Head, 4 July 2012

Following President Yudhoyono’s visit to Darwin this week, Australia will boost its US-backed military arrangements with Indonesia.

Political turmoil continues in Thailand

By John Roberts, 3 July 2012

A court ruling barring the parliament from debating mechanisms for constitutional change has sparked large protests by government supporters.

Vietnam’s maritime claim provokes standoff with China

By John Chan, 28 June 2012

Vietnam, encouraged by US backing, has fuelled tensions with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Philippine government presides over schools in crisis

By Dante Pastrana, 13 June 2012

The education system is grossly underfunded, dominated by private profit and geared to producing skilled cheap labor for business and export.

Philippine President Aquino in Washington boosts military ties

By Joseph Santolan, 11 June 2012

The Aquino visit further strengthens Obama’s “pivot” to the Asia Pacific and the calculated policy for the military containment of China.

Burmese opposition leader visits Thailand

By John Roberts, 8 June 2012

The trip by Aung San Suu Kyi to Thailand last week has exposed ongoing tensions with the Burmese military.

US defence secretary increases military ties with Vietnam

By Joseph Santolan, 5 June 2012

The talks over the deployment of US ships in Vietnamese waters and the sale of weaponry are part of Washington’s escalating confrontation with China.

The ouster of Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona

By Joseph Santolan, 30 May 2012

The removal of Renato Corona was the culmination of a concerted campaign by President Aquino to undermine the judiciary and extend executive power.

New charges filed against Malaysian opposition leader

By John Roberts, 30 May 2012

The politically-motivated charges are aimed at undermining the opposition coalition as the government prepares for a possible early election.

Ten years on, the myths of East Timor independence stand exposed

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 May 2012

The tiny island state remains subject to the diktats of the IMF and World Bank and the intrigues of rival powers vying for regional influence.

Impeachment trial of Philippine chief justice nears end

By Joseph Santolan, 24 May 2012

The prosecution of Chief Justice Corona has dramatically undermined the separation of government powers and created a constitutional crisis.

Tensions ease temporarily between China and the Philippines

By John Chan, 22 May 2012

While the immediate danger appears to have been averted, none of the underlying issues have been resolved.

Philippine protests further escalate tensions with China

By Joseph Santolan, 11 May 2012

The provocative and well-funded protests against China today are part of a calculated campaign that has its origins in Washington.

Russian plane crashes in Indonesia

By Clara Weiss, 11 May 2012

On Wednesday, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight crashed into the rock face of a volcano near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Locked-in workers die in fire in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 10 May 2012

The practice of locking workers in is routine and any fire will almost certainly result in the loss of life.

Philippine Supreme Court issues decision on Hacienda Luisita

By Joseph Santolan, 7 May 2012

The decision by the Supreme Court is another skirmish in the on-going factional war between rival sections of the Philippine bourgeoisie.

Prosecutions continue under Thailand’s anti-democratic lese majeste laws

By John Roberts, 5 May 2012

The lese majeste laws are a politically sensitive issue because the monarchy has played such a pivotal role in protecting the Thai state apparatus.

Draconian security bill passed by Malaysian parliament

By Dante Pastrana, 4 May 2012

While touted as a more democratic alternative to the Internal Security Act, the new legislation maintains crucial police state powers.

Police attack large opposition rally in Malaysia

By John Roberts, 3 May 2012

The demonstration points to rising social and political tensions as the global economic crisis impacts on Malaysia.

Demonstrator shot dead in housing demolition in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 1 May 2012

The brutal event is part of President Aquino’s policy of forcibly relocating the urban poor onto the dismal floodplains outside the city.

US-Philippine military exercises directed against China

By Peter Symonds, 26 April 2012

The Balikatan exercises, provocatively staged adjacent to the South China Sea, can only heighten US tensions with China.

Indonesian government retreats from immediate fuel price rise

By John Roberts, 19 April 2012

Plans to cut subsidies provoked widespread opposition and weeks of protests throughout the country.

Power outages wrack southern Philippine island

By Dante Pastrana, 18 April 2012

Electricity rationing in Mindanao, the poorest island group in the Philippines, is now in its fourth month.

Former military chief wins East Timor’s presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 April 2012

Taur Matan Ruak, the former head of the East Timorese armed forces, was clearly the Australian government’s preferred choice.

Tense naval stand-off in the South China Sea

By Joseph Santolan, 13 April 2012

Philippine naval vessels and Chinese marine surveillance ships continue to face off against each other in disputed waters near the Scarborough shoal.

Southern conflict revives tensions in Thailand’s ruling elite

By John Roberts, 2 April 2012

The government’s plans for autonomy for Thailand’s southern provinces have provoked opposition within the military.

Second round required in East Timorese presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 March 2012

The two highest vote winners will contest the second round—former military chief Taur Matan Ruak and Fretilin’s Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres.

East Timor to hold presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 15 March 2012

Canberra is no doubt doing everything it can to ensure a pro-Australian administration.

A strange “Iranian” explosion in Bangkok

By John Roberts, 2 March 2012

The Thai events were very convenient for the Israeli government, which, according media reports, is actively discussing an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

South China Sea tensions mount as Manila prepares to drill for oil

By Joseph Santolan, 2 March 2012

The Philippine government announced it would proceed with plans to open several areas in the disputed waters to foreign oil companies.

Prosecution abruptly rests case in Philippine impeachment trial

By Joseph Santolan, 1 March 2012

The decision to cut the prosecution short reflects the rising tide of popular discontent with the trial.

Further US involvement in Philippine constitutional crisis

By Joseph Santolan, 24 February 2012

The vital role played by Washington is becoming ever more transparent, with Aquino appointing an American ‘anti-corruption’ consultant as an official advisor to his cabinet.

Indonesian government shaken by corruption scandal

By John Roberts, 15 February 2012

The anti-corruption court has heard evidence that senior officials of the ruling Democrat Party have been involved in pay-offs and bribes.

Philippine Supreme Court issues restraining order on impeachment trial

By Joseph Santolan, 14 February 2012

The order, an assertion of judicial control over the proceedings in the Senate, brought into sharper acuity the country’s emerging constitutional crisis.

Philippine impeachment trial creates constitutional crisis

By Joseph Santolan, 9 February 2012

The trial is an assault on a separate branch of government, which has proved unruly and unmanageable to Philippine President Aquino.

Philippine ex-left joins attack on Supreme Court

By Joseph Santolan, 3 February 2012

Walden Bello, who established an international reputation in anti-globalization circles for his critique of the World Bank, is now filing a court case in the Philippines on its behalf.

The “Workers Party” and the sell-out of Philippine Airlines workers

By Joseph Santolan and Dante Pastrana, 31 January 2012

The Partido ng Manggagawa, a pseudo-left organization composed of union bureaucrats and ex-Maoists, is carrying out the systematic betrayal of striking airline workers.

US tightens the military noose around China

By Joseph Santolan, 30 January 2012

Washington’s talks with Manila over an expanded US military presence in the Philippines are another step in Obama’s reckless strategy of containing China.

Washington to expand military presence in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 27 January 2012

The deployment of US vessels in the Philippines would be a further ratcheting up of the Obama administration’s confrontation with China.

US Senators escalate tensions in Southeast Asia

By Joseph Santolan, 24 January 2012

Every stop of the visit by McCain and Lieberman was a calculated escalation of US military and political machinations against China.

Twenty-five years since the Mendiola massacre in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 23 January 2012

On January 22, 1987, 17,000 peasants, workers and students marched across Mendiola Bridge in Manila when police opened fire on them.

Impeachment trial of chief justice opens in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 16 January 2012

This is the second impeachment trial in the country’s history and is part of a campaign by President Aquino to consolidate power.

Scores injured, arrested in housing demolition in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 13 January 2012

The demolition is part of the forcible relocation of the Manila poor and working class carried out on behalf of real estate developers.

Landslide in Philippine mining community kills at least 36

By Joseph Santolan, 10 January 2012

On January 4, a landslide of mud, clay, debris and tree roots buried fifty bunkhouses and many of the sleeping miners and their families.

Malaysia’s opposition leader acquitted

By John Roberts, 10 January 2012

The High Court decision deals a significant blow to the government’s efforts to jail Anwar as it prepares for elections.

US-China rivalry behind fresh corruption charges in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 9 January 2012

Behind the sordid allegations is a simple fact: Arroyo gave a massive infrastructural contract to a Chinese state corporation over a rival bid from a US firm.

Indonesian police kill three protesters during anti-mine protest

By Mark Church, 29 December 2011

The protesters were part of the Anti-Mining People’s Front, which opposes mineral exploration in the area being carried out by Australian Arc Exploration.

Death toll in Philippines flooding over a thousand

By Oliver Campbell, 23 December 2011

It appears that the collapse of dams contributed to the severity of the floods, along with deforestation, silting of the rivers and lack of government planning.

The Philippine ‘left’ and the constitutional crisis

By Joseph Santolan, 20 December 2011

The ongoing constitutional crisis in the Philippines has revealed the bankrupt and unprincipled character of every section of the so-called ‘left.’

Philippines: Hundreds dead and missing in flash flooding

By Oliver Campbell, 19 December 2011

The severity of the floods, which hit residents without warning, was compounded by extensive deforestation and unplanned urbanisation.

Constitutional crisis erupts in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 19 December 2011

President Aquino, employing sharply anti-democratic measures, has had Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached.

Imperialism and the Khmer Rouge trials

By Mike Head, 17 December 2011

The UN-orchestrated proceedings are designed to bury the underlying responsibility for the Cambodian catastrophe—above all, that of United States imperialism.

Trial of Khmer Rouge leaders underway in Cambodia

By John Roberts, 13 December 2011

The court has been carefully contrived to convict the Khmer Rouge leaders while covering up the responsibility of the major powers for the tragedy that engulfed the Cambodian people.

Obama’s aggressive turn to Asia

By Peter Symonds, 24 November 2011

On every front—diplomatic, economic and strategic—the US president has set course for a confrontation with China in order to reassert American dominance in the world’s fastest growing region.

Obama forces discussion at Bali summit on South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 21 November 2011

The US diplomatic bullying of China has transformed what was a troublesome, but limited maritime dispute in the South China Sea into another dangerous flashpoint in Asia.

Ex-Philippine President Arroyo arrested for electoral fraud

By Joseph Santolan, 21 November 2011

Aquino’s prosecution of Arroyo occurs in the context of rapidly mounting geopolitical tensions between the US and China, and is driven by the interests of US imperialism.

Thai floods compound government’s political problems

By John Roberts, 12 November 2011

The ongoing flooding has impacted heavily on the Thai economy and is also taking its toll on the newly installed government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Malaysian government moves for early election

By John Roberts, 8 November 2011

The preparations for an early poll are driven in part by government concerns over the global impact of the economic crises in the eurozone and the United States.

Indonesian government orders police to break Papuan mine strike

By Mike Head, 3 November 2011

Indonesia’s newly appointed energy and mineral resources minister met on Monday with the US ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, to discuss the two-month-old Freeport dispute.

Political tensions rise as Thai flood disaster continues

By John Roberts, 2 November 2011

Amid rising anger and resentment among flood victims, the Thai government’s chief concern has been to reassure big business and foreign investors.

Twenty thousand displaced as Philippine government bombs Mindanao

By Joseph Santolan, 29 October 2011

The ‘lawless elements’ whom President Aquino has ordered attacked, are the primary hurdle to a US-backed ‘peace’ process in the southern Philippines.

Thousands flee flooding in Thailand

By John Roberts, 27 October 2011

Public holidays have been declared to enable some of Bangkok’s 12 million residents to evacuate and allow others to prepare last-ditch sandbag defences.

Business leaders oppose Thai government’s rice price scheme

By John Roberts, 27 October 2011

Amid the country’s worsening flood crisis, industry chiefs and economists have urged the government to abandon its election promises.