Asia and the Pacific

Embattled Australian Labor Party leader appeals for business support

By Mike Head, 23 November 2020

Albanese used a corporate fundraiser to declare Labor is “pro-aspiration, pro-entrepreneurship, pro-wealth creation and pro-growth.”

Australia: Union shuts down nurses’ strike at Sydney’s Blacktown Hospital

By Clare Bruderlin, 23 November 2020

Nurses and midwives walked out because of the deaths of five babies at the hospital in under two years, ongoing staffing shortages and concerns about patient safety.

Solomon Islands government to ban Facebook

By John Braddock, 23 November 2020

The ban follows moves by governments across the Pacific to attack freedom of speech and basic democratic rights amid escalating social crises and political instability.

This week in history: November 23-29

23 November 2020

On November 29, 1945, the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed following the successful repulsion of Nazi Germany’s attempt to subjugate the country, and Germany’s defeat in World War II in May. The establishment of the republic involved the deposing of King Peter II and the end of the Karađorđević dynasty that he headed. It was the outcome of a mass partisan struggle against fascism.

Sri Lankan artists discuss COVID-19 and its impact on their creative work, living conditions

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 21 November 2020

Musical performances, theatre, film and teledrama production, book exhibitions and similar activities have almost entirely come to a halt. Kapila Kumara Kalinga and Malaka Devapriya spoke to the WSWS about the situation.

CFPE online meeting: The global fight for educator and student safety in the COVID-19 pandemic

By The CFPE (Australia), 21 November 2020

The Committee for Public Education (CFPE) invites educators, students and working people in Australia and internationally to participate in an online meeting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools, college, universities and other educational institutions.

India: Karnataka college staff strike over unpaid salaries; Tamil Nadu tea plantation workers protest; Australian supermarket warehouse workers locked out

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

21 November 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Pandemic-related surge of mental health issues continues in Australia

By John Mackay, 21 November 2020

A recent report found that the mental health of three out of four people has been negatively affected by COVID-19, while calls to crisis and suicide lines have soared.

War crimes report: Australian special forces murdered 39 Afghans

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 November 2020

The report whitewashes successive governments and the military command, but the killings it documents underscore the utter criminality of the 19-year occupation of Afghanistan.

India’s unprecedented economic contraction deepens mass social misery

By Kranti Kumara, 20 November 2020

So meager are the earnings of India’s workers and toilers, three-quarters of the population in rural areas would not be able to afford the cheapest possible nutritious diet even if they spent all of their earnings on food.

Toyota workers in India continue strike, defy state back-to-work order

By Shibu Vavara and Arun Kumar, 20 November 2020

Behind the state government’s strikebreaking order is the broader aim of the ruling class to make India a cheap-labor alternative to China.

Japan and Australia step up military partnership against China

By Mike Head, 19 November 2020

The two governments echoed the Trump administration’s accusations of Chinese aggression and aligned themselves with the expected intensification of the US confrontation under a Biden administration.

South Australian COVID-19 outbreak highlights dangers of “reopening” campaign

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 November 2020

The infections in Adelaide underscore the risk of a rapid spread of the virus as governments seek to lift all remaining safety restrictions.

COVID-19 drastically impacts Bangladesh students and youth

By Wimal Perera, 18 November 2020

Students, like other poor sections of the society, have been ignored by the Awami League government.

New Zealand government rejects calls to increase welfare payments

By John Braddock, 18 November 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern again repudiates her promise to eliminate child poverty and the housing affordability crisis.

New China-led trade bloc sets stage for further tensions with the US

By Peter Symonds, 17 November 2020

While relatively limited in scope, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a further blow to US ambitions for economic domination of the Asia-Pacific.

Australian governments impose wage freezes on public sector workers

By Mike Head, 17 November 2020

Coalition and Labor governments alike are exploiting the pandemic to deepen a decades-long attack on working class pay and conditions.

With Malabar exercise, Quad emerging as US-led, anti-China military alliance

By Shuvu Batta and Keith Jones, 17 November 2020

The Indian Ocean exercise is a clear signal that the US and its Quad allies—India, Japan and Australia—are now seeking to develop the capacity and expertise for joint military planning and action, including combat, against China.

Student strikers in the Philippines demand government action on COVID-19 and typhoon devastation

By John Malvar, 17 November 2020

A student petition declared that the “The national government must act now” to address the devastation caused by the pandemic and massive typhoons, “or step down from their positions. No compromises.”

Large COVID-19 outbreak in Xinjiang, China

By Jerry Zhang, 16 November 2020

Repeated flare-ups of coronavirus in different regions of China highlight the fact that the pandemic is a global issue that cannot be resolved on a national basis by locking down borders.

Union opposes worker’s call for a fight against pro-business Australia Post restructure

By Jim Franklin and Oscar Grenfell, 16 November 2020

At a meeting in Sydney, a union official shot down a worker’s demand for a political and industrial struggle against the pro-business restructure of the postal service that is creating intolerable conditions and clears the way for privatisation.

Sri Lankan government and opposition greet US president-elect Joe Biden

By K. Ratnayake, 14 November 2020

US governments are hostile to the cash-strapped Colombo regime increasingly looking for financial assistance from China.

Tropical storms continue to pound the Philippines

By Robert Campion, 14 November 2020

PAGASA, the national meteorological agency, announced on Thursday that it is expecting one or two storms to hit in November, and possibly three in December.

Strikes and protests develop across India, Pakistan and Indonesia, agreement disputes erupt in Australia and strikes break out in New Zealand

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

14 November 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Re-release of Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder (2003): A picture of South Korean society

By David Walsh, 14 November 2020

An early film by South Korean writer-director Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) has been released over the course of the past year in a number of countries—and now in the US. It is well worth seeing.

Australian Royal Commission covers up causes of aged care crisis

By Clare Bruderlin, 13 November 2020

The commission, while pointing to the dire conditions confronting aged care residents, recommended largely cosmetic “solutions,” which will not resolve the crisis and are not enforceable.

Socialist Equality Group webinar discusses New Zealand and US elections

By our reporter, 13 November 2020

Speakers debunked the claims of pseudo-left groups that the re-election of Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party is a win for workers, and outlined the stronger military alliance between New Zealand and the US in the context of a crisis of democracy in Washington and preparations for war against China.

Sri Lankan government lifts limited lockdown despite rising infections

By W.A. Sunil, 12 November 2020

From the beginning of October, the grossly understated official number of cases has increased dramatically by more than 10,000, while the death toll has risen by 33, or more than tripled.

New Zealand government promises stronger US ties after Biden elected

By Tom Peters, 12 November 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that New Zealand had strengthened its alliance with the US during the Trump administration and promised this would continue under a Biden administration.

Australia: Growing opposition to planned school closures in northern NSW

By Kaye Tucker and Oscar Grenfell, 12 November 2020

The plan to establish a “super-school” in Murwillumbah has provoked widespread opposition from parents and teachers who have warned of possible job cuts, land privatisation and school overcrowding.

Australian government slashes JobSeeker to force more workers into low-paid jobs

By Mike Head, 12 November 2020

Both major parties agree on using the mass unemployment and financial distress triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic to further restructure economic and social relations in the interests of the capitalist class.

Forty-five years since the Canberra Coup

By James Cogan, 11 November 2020

The WSWS is republishing our article posted 40 years after the November 11, 1975 removal of the Whitlam Labor government by the Governor-General John Kerr in what became known as the “Canberra Coup.”

Australian Senate passes motion acknowledging “alleged” persecution of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 November 2020

The feckless motion did not demand Assange’s freedom, nor condemn his threatened extradition to the US.

Face-to-face teaching resumed at Australian universities, despite continuing COVID-19 cases

By Carolyn Kennett, 10 November 2020

Despite the clear dangers, the trade unions covering university workers—such as the National Tertiary Education Union—have mounted no opposition to the return to campuses.

Australian political elite rushes to salute Biden and re-affirm US alliance

By Mike Head, 10 November 2020

The statements of the government and opposition Labor Party signalled an unequivocal alignment with Washington’s escalating confrontation with China.

BP refinery closure threatens hundreds of jobs in Western Australia

By Terry Cook, 10 November 2020

The closure is part of a vicious global restructuring of the sector by the major oil companies, to cut costs and offset the impact of a slump in oil prices.

Australian university workers speak out on the destruction of their jobs and conditions

By our reporters, 10 November 2020

“It’s how the system is designed, it facilitates exploitation.”

SEP (Sri Lanka) outlines socialist alternative to pandemic and authoritarianism

By Our correspondents, 9 November 2020

The speakers stressed that the crisis in Sri Lanka and internationally could only be resolved through the independent political mobilisation of the working class=.

Australian bushfire report aids government whitewash on climate change and lack of resources

By Margaret Rees, 9 November 2020

First and foremost, the inquiry report holds no one, least of all the government, responsible for the catastrophe.

Indian Stalinists use Bihar elections to deepen their alliance with big-business Congress Party

By Arun Kumar, 7 November 2020

Under conditions of mounting social opposition, the Stalinists are doubling down on their efforts to harness the working class to the Congress and other right-wing parties.

More statements from Australian workers defending Dr. Scalice against Philippine Stalinist slanders

By our reporters, 7 November 2020

“I know a hatchet job when I see one!! As an older worker I have seen, in my time, the same type of double talk, lies and slanders of Stalinists, like Sison here in Australia.”

Protests in Inner Mongolia over Chinese government language policy

By Jerry Zhang, 7 November 2020

Just as it has latched onto “human rights” in Tibet, and among the Uighur population in Xinjiang, so Washington has sought to exploit discontent in Inner Mongolia to weaken China.

Australia’s first “foreign interference” arrest targets Liberal Party figure accused of links to China

By Mike Head, 7 November 2020

Duong’s prosecution is regarded by the corporate media in both Australia and the US as a test case for the “anti-influence” legislation.

Health and other workers across Asia fight for unpaid wages, COVID-19 allowances and PPE; strikes break out in Australia over new enterprise agreements

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 November 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian report reveals widespread food insecurity

By John Harris, 6 November 2020

Currently, 43 percent of all food insecure people are going a whole day without eating at least once a week, compared to 30 percent in 2019.

Chinese government blocks Jack Ma’s major IPO

By Nick Beams, 5 November 2020

The decision to block the listing of Ma’s fintech company Ant, which would have been the biggest initial public offering in history, was clearly taken at the highest levels in Beijing

Australian billionaires celebrate skyrocketing wealth while pandemic forces workers into poverty

By Max Boddy, 5 November 2020

The combined fortunes of Australia’s richest 200 individual and families increased by a staggering $82 billion during the past year.

Sri Lankan government rejects total lockdown amid surging COVID-19 infections

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 5 November 2020

The Rajapakse regime’s decisions are aimed at continuing corporate operations, particularly factory production for exports, forcing workers to stay on the job.

New Zealand to legalise euthanasia following referendum

By John Braddock, 4 November 2020

The move to legalise euthanasia was championed by the far-right ACT Party amid growing demands among ruling elites for the elderly to be sacrificed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Typhoon Goni devastates the Philippines

By Robert Campion, 4 November 2020

The UN reported around 68.6 million, or roughly 65 percent of the population are affected by Typhoon Goni, with 24.3 million living in the worst affected areas.

Australian central bank joins “quantitative easing” as global crash deepens

By Mike Head, 4 November 2020

The Reserve Bank of Australia warned of a “downside risk to the outlook” because of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, especially in Europe.

Australian government uses bushfire report to demand emergency powers

By Mike Head, 3 November 2020

The royal commission’s “legislative model” would give the prime minister the power to mobilise troops without any request by a state or territory.

Duterte administration launches “red-tagging” witchhunt

By John Malvar, 3 November 2020

The various mass organizations now being red-tagged by the Duterte administration—Bayan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)—gave their enthusiastic support to him as he took office.

New Zealand Green Party joins right-wing Labour government

By Tom Peters, 3 November 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to form a de facto coalition with the Greens points to Labour’s nervousness about being a one-party government imposing historic attacks on workers and building up the military in preparation for war.

Australian troops accused of Abu Ghraib, My Lai-style war crimes in Afghanistan

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 November 2020

An official 2016 report, now partially revealed, is part of a protracted government cover-up.

Chinese Communist Party meets amid rising social and geo-political tensions

By Peter Symonds, 2 November 2020

The CCP plenum was held on the eve of the US election in which both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have signalled a ramping up of Washington’s confrontation with Beijing.

Australia: Queensland Labor holds office by exploiting pandemic concerns

By Gary Alvernia, 2 November 2020

Labor postured as a protector of the population from COVID-19, but will now unveil austerity measures in a delayed December budget.

Months of unpaid wages spark strikes by delivery drivers across China

By Lily Zhao, 2 November 2020

To maintain or boost profits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the big express delivery companies have lowered prices, shifting the burden onto local courier stations and exploiting delivery workers ever more harshly.

US Secretary of State insists Sri Lanka lines up against China

By Saman Gunadasa, 31 October 2020

The US has been hostile to China’s influence in strategically important Sri Lanka, as preparations for a US-instigated war against China are escalated.

More than Cartier watches involved in executive spending scandal at Australia Post

By Oscar Grenfell, 31 October 2020

All sections of the ruling elite are committed to the privatisation of the national postal service and an assault on workers’ jobs, wages and conditions.

Australian ruling elite again demands premature lifting of pandemic restrictions

By Mike Head, 31 October 2020

The similar ending of safety measures caused the COVID-19 catastrophes, now engulfing hospitals throughout Europe, the US and many other parts of the world.

Labor’s health cut plan a warning on eve of Australian state election

By Gary Alvernia, 30 October 2020

By demanding $1 billion in “savings” by Queensland Health, the Labor Party has pointed to a pandemic-accelerated assault on social spending.

Statements from Australia in opposition to the Stalinist slanders of Dr. Scalice

By our reporters, 30 October 2020

“In circumstances of mounting unrest around the world, the truth is increasingly dangerous to ruling elites and their servants, the false prophets that claim to represent the working class.”

What is behind the crisis in New Zealand’s National Party?

By Tom Peters, 30 October 2020

The National Party suffered its second-worst election defeat in history after being systematically destabilised for advocating stronger business ties with China, which is the target of US war plans.

Indian health and public sector workers strike; Chinese courier drivers protest over unpaid wages; hospital workers and nurses threaten strikes in Australia, New Zealand and Solomon Islands

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 October 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

New report outlines accelerating inequality in Australia, amid rising social distress

By Linda Tenenbaum, 30 October 2020

The University of NSW and the Australian Council of Social Services have co-authored a significant report on income wealth and inequality, both before and during the pandemic.

Amid tense India-China border stand-off, US and India boost military-security partnership

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones, 29 October 2020

India’s BJP government has exploited the ongoing military border standoff with China to integrate India still more fully into American imperialism’s incendiary military-strategic offensive against Beijing.

Wealthy areas switched support to Labour Party in New Zealand election

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 29 October 2020

Some of the richest areas of the country switched their support to Labour, seeing it as a more reliable option than the rival National Party to deepen the assault on working class living standards and boost the profits of the business elite.

Australian university union runs limited “wage theft” campaign

By Gabriela Zabala, 29 October 2020

The NTEU claims to have been unaware of the level of exploitation and underpayment, especially of casuals.

Elite factions struggle for control of Philippine legislature

By John Malvar, 28 October 2020

At stake in the dispute was political patronage, control over the distribution of committee appointments and of funds, which both sides were looking to secure as an opening salvo in the 2022 presidential race.

Australia Post workers speak out: “We don’t have any faith in the unions”

By Jim Franklin and Oscar Grenfell, 28 October 2020

Two workers voiced support for the formation of rank-and-file committees to fight the union-enforced restructure of Australia Post.

Vietnam suffers through a “new normal” of extreme weather events

By Robert Campion, 28 October 2020

Close to a million people have been severely affected, with many in desperate need of shelter, food, clean drinking water and income support.

The Nightingale: Australia’s brutal colonial past exposed

By Jason Quill, 27 October 2020

Jennifer Kent’s film follows Irish convict Clare Carroll through the Tasmanian wilderness in 1825, as she seeks revenge for a terrible act of violence committed against her family.

Australian spy agency raises new alarm about foreign “plot”

By Mike Head, 27 October 2020

This is not the first such lurid allegation by ASIO, accusing China of conspiring to take over Australia.

Australian environmental scientists face mounting censorship

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 October 2020

A report found that scientists in the government and private sectors are frequently compelled to modify their research and prevented from publicly-revealing their concerns.

Malaysian king rejects PM’s “request” for emergency rule

By Mike Head, 27 October 2020

The political establishment is breaking up in the face of a pandemic-triggered economic reversal and rising class tensions.

Bangladeshi union shuts down port workers national strike; Assam rail workers demand festival allowance; Western Australian workers protest after worksite death

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

24 October 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Public webinar: For a socialist program against the New Zealand Labour government's right-wing agenda

By Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 24 October 2020

The Socialist Equality Group (NZ) is holding a webinar on November 8 to expose the right-wing, pro-imperialist agenda of Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party government, which is being falsely glorified as a progressive alternative to right-wing governments internationally.

Australia: University of Melbourne IYSSE holds successful AGM despite anti-democratic measures

By Our correspondent, 24 October 2020

Held amid a COVID-19 lockdown, the meeting reflected the growing radicalisation among youth and students.

Mounting evidence of systemic Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

By Mike Head, 24 October 2020

The atrocities flowed inevitably from the nature of the war—a brutal operation to crush all resistance to the US military occupation of the impoverished country.

Thai protesters demand the resignation of the prime minister

By Ben McGrath, 24 October 2020

Protesters have given the government three days to meet their demands or the demonstrations will continue.

New Zealand markets, business welcome Labour’s election victory

By John Braddock, 23 October 2020

Labour and the Greens both used the election to reassure the corporate elite they would continue to meet their demands.

Australian universities pseudo-left “network” postpones forum at NTEU’s behest

By Mike Head, 23 October 2020

The NHEAN is opposed to any action that would threaten the role of the unions that have presided over the destruction of 90,000 university jobs since March.

Goldman Sachs fined $2.9 billion over role in 1MDB corruption case

By Nick Beams, 23 October 2020

The case involved the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the 1MDB fund, including by two Goldman bankers.

Sri Lankan workers must rally the rural poor against Rajapakse’s “herd immunity” policies

By Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) statement, 22 October 2020

The true situation was hidden from the outset because the government refused to implement rigorous anti-COVID-19 measures when the virus first impacted on the country in late January.

Statements from Canada, India and Sri Lanka in support of Dr. Scalice

By our reporters, 22 October 2020

“Dr. Scalice has thoroughly exposed the politically criminal role played by the Stalinist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in paving the way for the anti-working class dictatorial regimes of Marcos and Duterte.”

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online meeting on a socialist program to fight COVID-19

By The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 22 October 2020

The event will discuss the policies necessary for workers, the rural poor and youth to combat the coronavirus disaster and the Rajapakse administration’s austerity and anti-democratic measures.

Australian corporate elite demands lifting of all coronavirus safety restrictions

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 October 2020

A hysterical campaign is underway, insisting that any public health measures are an unacceptable impost on the wealth and profits of the financial aristocracy.

Australia joins “Quad” military exercises directed against China

By Mike Head, 22 October 2020

None of the latest announcements explicitly named China as the target, but they flowed from a meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the US, India, Japan and Australia on October 6, where US Secretary of State Pompeo denounced Beijing.

Australian unions offer to protect employers from “wage theft” penalties

By Max Boddy, 21 October 2020

The agreement would give a green light for companies to continue to underpay workers, a practice that is rampant throughout the country.

Statements from China and Sri Lanka in defence of Dr. Scalice against the attacks by the Stalinist CPP

By our reporters, 21 October 2020

“The working class from all over the world must take seriously the threats and slanders unleashed by Sison against Dr. Scalice and come forward to defend him.”

Unions trying to suppress workers’ opposition to pro-business restructure at Australia Post

By Jim Franklin and Oscar Grenfell, 21 October 2020

The unions are adopting a cynical posture of concern toward workers, while enforcing the “Alternative Delivery Model.”

Demonstrations in Thailand continue as government rejects protesters’ demands

By Ben McGrath, 21 October 2020

Underpinning the demands for democratic rights is a growing economic and social crisis for Thailand’s youth and working class.

World Bank: South Asian economies hit hard by COVID-19

By Saman Gunadasa, 20 October 2020

The report bluntly warns that “more people will be added to the ranks of the extreme poor in South Asia than in any other region in 2020.”

Queensland state election underscores political instability in Australia

By Gary Alvernia, 20 October 2020

While focussing on closing the state borders due to COVID-19, Labor is reassuring the corporate elite that a Labor government will meet all its requirements.

Roof deflection warnings ignored before young Australian construction worker killed

By Margaret Rees and Paul Bartizan, 20 October 2020

Perth apprentice Jonnie Hartshorn fell 20 metres to his death when the glass roof of a university building under construction collapsed despite concerns raised by other workers of excessive deflection.

Australian pseudo-left denies fascist danger in US presidential election crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 October 2020

Socialist Alternative is attempting to chloroform the working class, insisting that the American ruling class would never resort to dictatorial rule.

In interview with Radio Free Asia, Sison announces

Communist Party of the Philippines targets Chinese firms blacklisted by Washington

By John Malvar, 19 October 2020

The leadership of the CPP explained it would be targeting Chinese firms in interviews with Radio Free Asia, an official organ of US government propaganda directed against China.

Political scandal engulfs premier in Australia’s most populous state

By Mike Head, 19 October 2020

Behind the Berejiklian affair lies a history of “anti-corruption” inquiries, being used to execute political shifts in the state of New South Wales.

Labour Party strengthens its hold on power in New Zealand election

By Tom Peters, 19 October 2020

The Labour Party has gained significant support from businesses and sections of the upper middle class after launching an assault on the living conditions of the working class.