South East Asia
By John Chan, 18 December 2010
A US diplomatic cable has shown that Washington knew in advance of the preparations for the 2006 military coup that ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
By John Roberts, 14 December 2010
In a politically motivated decision, the Constitutional Court in Thailand has dismissed charges of electoral fraud against the ruling Democrat Party.
By John Roberts, 29 November 2010
Visits to Malaysia by Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates earlier this month amounted to a US endorsement of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)-led coalition government.
By John Roberts, 27 November 2010
Most of the dead were young people who had come to the capital from Cambodia’s rural areas for the annual Water Festival.
By John Roberts, 17 November 2010
Obama’s visit to Indonesia was part of an aggressive US diplomatic campaign aimed at curbing China’s rising influence in Asia.
By K. Ratnayake, 15 November 2010
After being released from house arrest, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has indicated that she will hold talks with the military junta.
By John Roberts, 9 November 2010
Captured on video, the Indonesian military’s torture of two Papuans in May highlights the extent of the violence and intimidation that exists throughout Papua.
By John Roberts, 3 November 2010
There is mounting criticism of the government as relief workers struggle to cope with two disasters involving tens of thousands of people—the October 25 tsunami in the Mentawai islands and the eruption of Mount Merapi in central Java.
By Dante Pastrana, 30 October 2010
President Benigno Noynoy Aquino’s administration has issued a labor department order barring Philippine Airlines employees from striking in support of a pay agreement.
By Peter Symonds, 28 October 2010
A tsunami off the west coast of Sumatra and a volcanic eruption in central Java have claimed more than 300 lives this week.
By Joseph Santolan, 20 October 2010
The budget for the National Food Authority, the agency responsible for the purchase and sale of rice at subsidized prices, has been slashed to meet IMF demands for budget cuts.
The strange end of the 2008 “coup” affair
By Patrick O’Connor, 18 October 2010
East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta pardoned the men convicted over a supposed double assassination attempt in 2008 targeting himself and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
By Bill Van Auken, 13 October 2010
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates used a defense ministers meeting in Hanoi Tuesday to reassert US “national interests” in the maritime disputes roiling relations between China and its neighbors.
By John Roberts, 1 October 2010
As soon as the strikers returned to work—at the behest of the unions and the Hun Sen government—employers began to suspend factory delegates.
By Dante Pastrana, 29 September 2010
President Aquino’s pro-poor posturing is a sham. Like government leaders worldwide, he is under pressure from global financial capital to rein in public expenditure at the expense of working people.
By John Roberts, 25 September 2010
Anti-government protesters held a large demonstration last Sunday to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2006 military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
By Joseph Santolan, 23 September 2010
Like other countries throughout Asia, Aquino is faced with balancing between his country’s growing economic dependence on China and its longstanding ties with the US, the former colonial power.
By John Roberts, 20 September 2010
Cambodian union leaders last week struck a deal with the Hun Sen government to call off a four-day strike that had rapidly spread to involve more than 200,000 garment workers.
By John Roberts, 9 September 2010
Despite the government’s promises of reconciliation, the climate of repression continues in Thailand, with emergency rule still in force and key opposition leaders either in jail or being hunted by security forces.
By Dante Pastrana, 7 September 2010
July’s week-long rationing of water highlighted the reality: millions of people are denied the basic right to potable water and sanitation while private firms rake in profits at their expense.
By John Roberts, 30 August 2010
Washington’s move has nothing to do with bringing the Burmese generals to justice for their oppressive rule, but is to pressure the junta for concessions, and undercut Chinese influence in Burma.
By Patrick O’Connor, 27 August 2010
The Australian cited unnamed senior diplomatic analysts who said that “China’s foray into what has been traditionally regarded as ‘Australia’s sphere of interest’ had set alarm bells ringing in Canberra.”
By Joseph Santolan, 27 August 2010
These events simultaneously exposed the rot at the core of the new Philippine government, the empty bluster of the news-as-entertainment media, and the taut and tenuous nature of relations between the Philippines and China.
By Peter Symonds, 26 August 2010
The Obama administration has taken several steps to boost its military relationship with Vietnam as part of a broader strategy aimed undermining Chinese influence in East Asia.
By John Roberts, 16 August 2010
Former Khmer Rouge prison commandant, Kaing Guek Eav, also known as “Duch”, was convicted last month in a UN-backed trial and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.
By John Braddock, 10 August 2010
Thousands of Cambodian garment workers, mostly young women, have joined strikes over low pay and poor working conditions in recent weeks, doing battle with riot police using tear gas and electric shock batons.
By Peter Symonds, 9 August 2010
Nuclear negotiations between the US and Vietnam are another sign that the Obama administration is engaged in an aggressive strategy of countering Chinese influence in Asia.
By John Braddock, 6 August 2010
The Obama administration is to lift a decade-long ban on US military contact with Indonesia’s notorious Kopassus special forces.
By John Chan, 4 August 2010
Hillary Clinton’s provocative stance at the South East Asian Nations security forum last month, opposing China’s claims in the South China Sea, has inflamed another global flashpoint.
By John Braddock, 20 July 2010
The demonstration was the biggest in the province since the fall of former Indonesian dictator Suharto in 1998.
By John Roberts, 8 July 2010
Emergency rule has been prolonged under conditions of simmering resentment and social discontent.
By John Braddock, 2 July 2010
Despite efforts to portray Indonesia as “democratic” following the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998, a recent Human Rights Watch report demonstrates the government’s continuing abuse of basic democratic rights.
By Joseph Santolan, 1 July 2010
Lurking behind Aquino’s insipid rhetoric of change and an end to corruption is a continuation of the anti-working class policies of his predecessor.
By John Braddock, 23 June 2010
A report released last month points to the underlying social tensions that helped fuel recent anti-government protests in Bangkok.
By John Roberts, 18 June 2010
Despite a so-called national reconciliation plan, the Thai government and military are still detaining and pursuing anti-government protesters.
By Mike Head, 9 June 2010
A bitter dispute between Australia and East Timor over a giant gas and oil project in the Timor Sea has worsened.
By John Roberts, 5 June 2010
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government defeated censure motions in the country’s parliament on Tuesday, in a bitter debate that demonstrates that Abhisit is not prepared to make any concessions.
By John Roberts, 29 May 2010
Despite its calls for “reconciliation” in the wake of last week’s military’s crackdown on the “Red Shirt” protests, the Thai government is extending its dragnet of opposition leaders and supporters.
By Peter Symonds, 27 May 2010
Last week’s military crackdown may have crushed anti-government protests in Bangkok but the underlying social tensions and political issues remain and will inevitably erupt again.
By John Roberts, 24 May 2010
Following last Wednesday’s military crackdown, Thai Prime Minister Vejjajiva has ruled out a national election in the immediate future and continued the state of emergency in Bangkok and other provinces.
By Peter Symonds, 22 May 2010
There has been no international condemnation of the Thai military’s crackdown on anti-government protesters in Bangkok that left more than 80 people dead and hundreds injured.
By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 21 May 2010
The Thai government yesterday extended the curfew in Bangkok and a third of the country’s provinces after troops cracked down on “red shirt” protesters on Wednesday.
By John Roberts, 20 May 2010
At least six people were killed and more than 60 injured yesterday when the Thai army cracked down on anti-government protesters in Bangkok.
By John Braddock, 19 May 2010
Mulyani’s elevation to the World Bank is not just a career change, but is bound up with deepening conflicts within the Indonesian ruling elite.
By John Roberts, 18 May 2010
After the deadline passed, the thousands of troops and police surrounding the protesters’ barricades held off a direct assault. A nervous standoff continues this morning.
By John Roberts, 17 May 2010
The Thai military is poised to move against thousands of anti-government protesters encamped in Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong commercial district.
By John Roberts, 15 May 2010
At least 10 people have been killed and 125 wounded over the past two days after the Thai military sealed off all access to the anti-government protest site in Bangkok.
By John Roberts, 13 May 2010
An agreement reached last week between the Thai government and the opposition United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship appears to have collapsed after opposition protesters refused to disperse.
By Joseph Santolan, 12 May 2010
The one-term senator and scion of the Cojuangco dynasty is set to enter office facing a 4.358 trillion peso national debt.
By Joseph Santolan, 8 May 2010
From the disputes in ruling circles and the press, it is clear that the bourgeoisie is terrified of an election that fails to give the stamp of legitimacy to the victor.
By Dante Pastrana, 7 May 2010
With the Philippine elections taking place next Monday, leading candidate Senator Benigno Aquino III continues to be plagued by controversy over his family’s huge sugar plantation.
By John Roberts, 6 May 2010
While UDD leaders accepted in principle a government proposal for a November election, none of the underlying political and social tensions that provoked the protracted protests have been resolved.
By Peter Symonds, 4 May 2010
Abhisit’s proposal amounted to an ultimatum that came with thinly veiled threats. As the prime minister outlined his plan, an army spokesman said security forces were preparing to use armoured vehicles to disperse the protesters.
By John Roberts, 30 April 2010
A clash on Wednesday between anti-government protestors and Thai security forces has left one soldier dead and two others injured, along with 16 demonstrators.
By John Braddock, 28 April 2010
The Philippine government has dropped charges against two members of a prominent political family accused of conspiracy in last year’s massacre of 57 people in southern Mindanao.
By John Roberts, 27 April 2010
The crisis in Bangkok is intensifying as thousands of anti-government protesters entrenched in the upmarket Ratchaprasong commercial area confront heavily armed soldiers and police.
By John Roberts, 21 April 2010
A tense standoff continues between heavily-armed troops and thousands of anti-government protesters in the Ratchaprasong commercial area of Bangkok.
By John Roberts, 17 April 2010
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva set the stage on Friday for a showdown between the army and anti-government protesters who continue to occupy Bangkok’s main commercial district.
By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2010
What has erupted in Thailand is the elemental first stage of class struggles that have broad significance for workers throughout the region and internationally.
By John Roberts, 14 April 2010
The political crisis in Thailand has deepened following Saturday’s deadly street battles on the streets of Bangkok.
By Dante Pastrana, 14 April 2010
The trade unions paved the way for the privatisation of Manila North Harbour by signing a sell-out agreement with the new port operator on March 30 that will lead to major cutbacks in jobs and conditions.
By John Braddock and Peter Symonds, 12 April 2010
At least 21 people are dead and 874 injured after fierce street battles erupted on Saturday in central Bangkok as soldiers in riot gear attempted to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters.
By John Roberts, 9 April 2010
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seized on a protest at the national parliament on Wednesday to declare a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
By John Roberts, 7 April 2010
Red-shirted pro-Thaksin demonstrators in Bangkok are demanding new elections, maintaining a three-week protest.
By Dante Pastrana, 30 March 2010
While all the presidential candidates in the May elections are making empty promises to help working people, the next administration will quickly launch a further assault on living standards.
By Joseph Santolan, 26 March 2010
A worsening economic crisis is fuelling sharp rivalry between the various factions of the ruling elite, which also reflect the international tensions between Beijing and Washington.
By John Roberts, 26 March 2010
Tacitly backed by the government, Muslim hardliners are continuing to stoke communal tensions over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.
By John Braddock, 16 March 2010
Tens of thousands of supporters of Thailand’s former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, rallied in Bangkok on Sunday and yesterday in ongoing protests.
By Patrick O’Connor, 11 March 2010
A court last week acquitted dual East Timorese-Australian citizen Angelita Pires of all charges relating to an alleged assassination plot in 2008, in which President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot.
By John Braddock, 1 March 2010
Sharp political divisions in Indonesia’s ruling coalition emerged as the representatives of political parties on a parliamentary special committee on the 2008 bailout of Bank Century presented their findings.
By Patrick O’Connor, 13 February 2010
The death of Gracinda da Costa in an apparent road accident involving an Australian military vehicle has highlighted the blanket immunity enjoyed by the intervention force in East Timor.
By John Roberts, 9 February 2010
A sodomy conviction would effectively end Anwar’s political career and undermine the opposition, which made significant inroads at the 2008 national election.
By Patrick O’Connor, 30 January 2010
An ongoing trial relating to the alleged failed assassination of East Timor’s president and prime minister has raised further serious questions about the murky affair.
By John Chan, 15 January 2010
A speech by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Hawaii on Tuesday underscored the rising rivalry between the US and China.
By John Roberts, 12 January 2010
A Free Trade Agreement between China and the Association of South East Asian Nations came into effect on New Year’s Day, creating the world’s third largest free trade bloc.
By John Roberts, 28 December 2009
The Malaysian government is continuing its prosecution of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim following a High Court ruling dismissing his application for sodomy charges to be struck down.
By Peter Symonds, 14 December 2009
The resort to martial law in the Philippines is directed against the working class and highlights the political consequences of the deepening global economic crisis and rising class tensions internationally.
By Peter Symonds, 12 December 2009
In a further erosion of democratic rights in the Philippines, President Arroyo has imposed martial law over most of Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao.
By Joseph Santolan, 1 December 2009
The 57 people killed were victims of the violence of the electoral process that is wielded with impunity by powerful political families throughout the Philippines.
By John Braddock, 27 November 2009
Barely a month after his inauguration for a second term, Indonesian President Yudhoyono is embroiled in a scandal involving attempts to discredit the Corruption Eradication Commission.
By John Roberts, 25 November 2009
In the latest Indonesian ferry disaster, at least 29 people are dead and many missing after an overcrowded boat sank in bad weather off the Riau Islands province.
By Mike Head, 18 November 2009
The real face of the Rudd government’s hoped-for “Indonesian solution” for asylum seekers began to emerge last week. Indonesian police shot and seriously wounded two men trying to reach Australia aboard an Afghan asylum seekers’ boat.
By John Roberts, 16 November 2009
A diplomatic row between Bangkok and Phnom Penh over Cambodia’s appointment of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as economic advisor intensified last week.
By Richard Phillips, 2 November 2009
Two weeks after an Australian customs ship rescued 78 Tamil asylum seekers, the unresolved standoff over their future has focussed attention on the Labor government’s inhumane and illegal treatment of refugees.
By Patrick O’Connor, 2 November 2009
September marked the tenth anniversary of the Australian-led military intervention into East Timor. It is also a decade since a layer of pseudo “left” groups organised “troops in” demonstrations—performing a vital service for the Howard government and the Australian ruling elite.
By John Braddock, 20 October 2009
The death toll from the September 30 earthquake in West Sumatra reached 1,115 last week after officials ended the search for 300 missing people and declared them dead.
By John Braddock, 14 October 2009
A festering scandal in Indonesia over the government bailout of the mid-sized Bank Century late last year is threatening to cast a shadow over the second term of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
By John Braddock, 12 October 2009
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam’s year-on-year economic growth slowed to 3.9 percent in the first half of 2009, down from 6.2 percent in 2008 and 8.5 percent in 2007, as the global recession slowed exports and investment.
By John Roberts, 3 October 2009
An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia on Wednesday, causing enormous destruction in and around the Sumatran city of Padang.
By John Roberts, 30 September 2009
A major storm struck the Philippines last Saturday killing at least 250 people and causing over 435,000 to flee their flooded homes.
By John Roberts, 21 September 2009
The opposition is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Democratic Party-led government.
By John Roberts, 5 September 2009
At least 64 people were killed, including a number of children, as a result of the earthquake that struck off the coast of West Java on Wednesday.
By Patrick O’Connor, 31 August 2009
Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the referendum that saw nearly 80 percent of the East Timorese people vote to secede from Indonesia and become a separate nation-state.
By John Braddock, 21 August 2009
The Indonesian Constitutional Court last week dismissed an application for a presidential election re-vote by the two losing candidates, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Jusuf Kalla.
By John Roberts, 5 August 2009
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to demand the repeal of draconian security laws. Police responded with beatings, tear gas, water cannon and mass arrests.
By Joseph Santolan, 5 August 2009
Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines, died of colon cancer on August 1. She had scarcely been dead for thirty minutes when eulogies and encomia began to flood the mainstream media.
By Joseph Santolan, 4 August 2009
Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines, died of colon cancer on August 1. She had scarcely been dead for thirty minutes when eulogies and encomia began to flood the mainstream media.
By John Roberts, 3 August 2009
The official declaration of incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s landslide election victory has been challenged by losing candidates.
By John Braddock, 29 July 2009
The July 17 suicide bombings in Jakarta are being exploited to justify inroads into the limited democratic rights gained in Indonesia since the end of the Suharto dictatorship.
By John Chan, 28 July 2009
In a bid to bolster US standing and counter growing Chinese influence, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the ASEAN summit in Thailand and signed ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.