Asia and the Pacific

Japan to deploy military forces to aid US operations against Iran

By Ben McGrath, 30 December 2019

Tokyo’s decision is part of its efforts to remilitarize and normalize overseas military action in violation of Article 9 of its constitution.

Worsening Australian fires pose the need for urgent action on climate change

By James Cogan, 30 December 2019

No region or nation-state on the planet is immune to the impact of climate change.

Australia: Julian Assange support group formed in Alice Springs

By our reporters, 30 December 2019

The central Australian group points to the sort of formations workers and youth around the world need to establish in order to secure the release of Assange and Manning.

Mass protests continue in Tamil Nadu against Indian government’s communalist citizenship laws

By a WSWS reporting team, 28 December 2019

Thousands of Tamil Nadu residents demonstrate across the south Indian state in defiance of government and police repression.

Australian mental health report highlights a systemic crisis

By Margaret Rees, 28 December 2019

Patients, carers and medical staff “are being traumatised by an under-resourced system.”

Killing of two Indonesian journalists points to criminality in palm oil industry

By Owen Howell, 27 December 2019

According to police, the two men were allegedly murdered by hired killers paid by a plantation owner.

Police shut down “drill rap” group’s Australian tour

By Martin Scott, 27 December 2019

Despite the censorship, Onefour, whose music references life in impoverished neigbourhoods, has amassed a significant following online.

Australian police begin “foreign interference” raids

By Mike Head, 24 December 2019

The Weekend Australian’s “exclusive” story signals an offensive by the police and intelligence agencies to carry out the first prosecutions under draconian “foreign interference” laws.

Journalist Peter Hartcher and the anti-China campaign in Australia

By James Cogan, 24 December 2019

Hartcher’s essay in the Quarterly Essay is textbook propaganda for war. It seeks to cultivate nationalist fear and even paranoia about the intended enemy—China.

Australia: Toxic air from bushfires rated a “public health emergency”

By John Mackay, 23 December 2019

Health professionals have called on governments to take action amid record levels of bushfire haze in towns and cities.

Inequality and falling living standards fuel political “fragility” in Australia

By Mike Head, 21 December 2019

The financial elite’s enrichment has occurred at the direct expense of the wages, working conditions and social services of the working class.

Australia: Lauded military veteran subject of second police investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan

By James Cogan, 21 December 2019

The special forces were used for some of the most brutal aspects of the war, particularly hunting down and capturing or killing alleged Taliban resistance fighters.

The fight against communal reaction in India is the fight for socialism

By Keith Jones, 21 December 2019

India has been convulsed by a growing wave of mass protests in opposition to the Modi government’s Hindu supremacist citizenship law.

Thousands of Indian construction workers demonstrate; Australian Jetstar workers strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

21 December 2019

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

Sri Lankan president expands Rajapakse family political power

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 19 December 2019

Rajapakse is determined to abolish the 19th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution which places restrictions on presidential powers, insisting that he needs a “strong government.”

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits southern Philippines

By Owen Howell, 19 December 2019

The earthquake on Sunday, which has claimed the lives of at least nine people, is the latest in a string of powerful tremors to hit the region over the past few months.

Growing demands for Australian government to intervene in defence of Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 December 2019

Labor and the Coalition have not responded to calls that they defend Assange, in keeping with their nine-year involvement in his persecution.

Australia: New South Wales residents speak out on bushfire crisis

By our reporters, 19 December 2019

“I’m more than certain that the Australian government has money to purchase planes to fight the fires, instead of wasting money on military jets and military equipment.”

Australia: Melbourne train and tram workers isolated by trade unions

By Patrick O’Connor and Steve Strietberg, 19 December 2019

The union has organised nothing but token industrial action, while keeping workers in the dark and subordinating them to draconian Fair Work industrial laws.

India’s highest court greenlights repression of protests against discriminatory citizenship law

By Keith Jones, 18 December 2019

India’s Supreme Court has refused to order a probe into brutal police assaults on students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

North Korean-US tensions rise as end-of-year deadline approaches

By Peter Symonds, 18 December 2019

In the absence of any US sanctions’ relief or meaningful talks, North Korea has threatened to resume its nuclear- and missile-testing program.

Will tourism companies be held accountable over New Zealand volcano disaster?

By Tom Peters, 18 December 2019

An investigation by government regulator WorkSafe into the eruption, which killed more than 16 people, could take a year.

Severe heatwave set to worsen Australia’s bushfire emergency

By Martin Scott, 18 December 2019

Already exhausted firefighters are preparing to face horror weather conditions this week.

Jetstar Australia pilots and airline workers strike over wages and conditions

By Terry Cook and Oscar Grenfell, 18 December 2019

The stoppages are part of a global wave of opposition by airline workers to cost-cutting.

Brisbane forum calls for broad support for Assange and Manning

By Mike Head, 18 December 2019

The resolution adopted by the forum focussed on the need to take the defence of the WikiLeaks founder out to the working class globally.

Bougainville votes for independence from Papua New Guinea

By John Braddock, 17 December 2019

Whatever the outcome, which is not assured, a tiny elite layer will enrich itself from mining profits while the broad population will continue to live in abject poverty.

Australian budget report points to impact of globally-driven slump

By Mike Head, 17 December 2019

The government drastically cut its forecasts for economic growth and tax revenues, as well as for wages.

Aung San Suu Kyi defends Myanmar military’s crimes

By Peter Symonds, 16 December 2019

A UN fact-finding mission found that military forces had destroyed almost 400 villages and driven close to three quarters of a million Rohingya out of their homes.

Sri Lankan authorities delay on whether to prosecute award-winning writer Shakthika Sathkumara

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 16 December 2019

Sri Lanka’s ruling elite is whipping up religious communalism to counter the development of unified mass action by workers, youth and the rural poor against government austerity and attacks on democratic rights.

NDP props up Trudeau, joins Conservatives in demanding tougher anti-China stance

By Keith Jones, 14 December 2019

The true character of the NDP’s “opposition” to the Liberals and the Conservatives—the Canadian ruling class’ traditional parties of national government—was laid bare in two recent parliamentary votes.

Australian voters’ trust in political system falls to historic low

By Mike Head, 14 December 2019

People are drawing conclusions from decades of bitter experiences under successive Labor and Liberal-National governments.

Report highlights social crisis confronting Australian youth on welfare

By John Harris, 14 December 2019

Hundreds of thousands of working-class youth and students confront soaring housing and utility costs, and a deepening jobs crisis.

Sri Lankan SEP/IYSSE to hold public meeting on how to fight the new Rajapakse regime

14 December 2019

We urge workers, young people, intellectuals and everyone concerned about these vital issues to attend our meeting and participate in this important political discussion.

Tens of thousands Bangladeshi jute mill workers protest; Jetstar pilots and workers strike in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

14 December 2019

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

World Bank economist warns of worsening crisis in Sri Lanka

By Saman Gunadasa, 12 December 2019

International finance capital is demanding the new regime in Colombo fully implement the IMF’s austerity measures.

Australia: Governments, unions responsible for spate of deaths in Queensland mining industry

By Robert Campion, 12 December 2019

The dangerous conditions are a result of the gutting of safety measures and the wholesale destruction of full-time employment throughout the sector.

Sri Lankan president appoints former military officers to head state institutions

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 11 December 2019

Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse confronts a deepening economic crisis and widespread anti-government sentiment among workers, youth and the rural masses.

Australia: Workers stop work in response to hazardous air conditions

By James Cogan, 11 December 2019

Air quality in Sydney yesterday registered over 11 times the official “hazardous level” due to smoke blowing in from bushfires in surrounding areas.

Growing poverty and inequality in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 11 December 2019

Despite the Labour Party’s promises, poverty, housing unaffordability and food insecurity have increased significantly in the past two years.

Multiple deaths from New Zealand volcanic eruption

By Tom Peters, 10 December 2019

Tourism companies have carried out highly profitable operations on White Island, despite the known risk of a volcanic eruption.

Australian doctor condemns Britain’s denial of adequate medical care to Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 December 2019

Dr Chesterfield-Evans said that prior to the Assange case, he had “never seen governments completely wipe their hands of an individual, lock people up and refuse to give them medical treatment.”

Worker killed in horrendous incident on Sydney construction site

By Terry Cook, 10 December 2019

The latest tragic death brings the number of fatalities in the sector for 2019 to 22.

Australian economy remains in slump as trade tensions mount

By Mike Head, 10 December 2019

Corporate profits and share prices have soared in 2019, but at the expense of falling real wages and rising unemployment.

Appreciative audience at Australian launch of Why Are They Back?

By our reporter, 10 December 2019

The Sydney event probed the political climate behind the re-emergence of fascism and militarism in Germany and internationally.

Hundreds of journalists around the world sign open letter demanding freedom for Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 December 2019

The signatories declare: “As journalists and journalists’ organizations that believe in human rights, freedom of information and of the public’s right to know, we demand the immediate release of Julian Assange.”

Australian PM defends secret “national security” trials

By Mike Head, 9 December 2019

Morrison’s statement is further evidence of the creation of a police-state framework, overturning the fundamental democratic principle of public jury trials.

Youth demonstrating in Australia speak out against climate change and war

By our reporters, 9 December 2019

Students attended climate change protests in major cities in solidarity with rallies organised globally on November 29.

Following police shooting in Yuendumu

Australian governments reject calls for removal of armed police from Aboriginal settlements

By Richard Phillips, 7 December 2019

With about 30 percent of its population being indigenous, the Northern Territory is Australia’s most heavily-policed state or territory.

Australian cities bathed in smoke from hundreds of bushfires

By Martin Scott, 7 December 2019

Fires in four states have destroyed homes and caused hazardous air pollution.

Workers must adopt a socialist internationalist program to oppose Sri Lanka’s authoritarian, communalist Rajapakse regime

the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 7 December 2019

Rajapakse’s aim is to secure the two-thirds parliamentary majority necessary to repeal a key constitutional amendment and give the president sweeping authoritarian powers.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson speaks at Melbourne forum in defence of Assange

By Eric Ludlow, 7 December 2019

In an indication of growing support for Assange, the forum was attended by over 100 people and addressed by two prominent lawyers and an academic.

Sri Lankan president prorogues parliament to try to consolidate his rule

By Saman Gunadasa, 6 December 2019

Gotabhaya Rajapakse is aiming to seize all governmental powers and thereby strengthen his hand against the working class and his political rivals.

Papua New Guinea: Voting under way in Bougainville independence referendum

By John Braddock, 6 December 2019

It is widely expected that most of 206,000 registered voters will cast ballots for independence, but the result remains subject to ratification by the PNG parliament.

Meeting of Australian teachers passes resolutions in defence of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 December 2019

The teachers have taken an important stand which points the way forward for other educators, and for all sections of the working class, in the fight for democratic rights and against the persecution of Assange.

Maoist union leaders isolate striking Motherson autoworkers in India

By Arun Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 5 December 2019

Union leaders are attempting to divert Motherson workers along reactionary Tamil nationalist lines.

Thousands of Sri Lankan estate workers strike over workloads and wages

By M. Thevarajah and K. Kandipan, 5 December 2019

Strikes have erupted already in tea plantations following last month’s presidential election.

Australian media’s “Chinese spy defection” story unravels

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 December 2019

The collapse of Wang Liqiang’s story, and the revelation that he is most likely “the spy who wasn’t,” is an object lesson in the fraudulent character of the entire anti-China campaign.

Australian teenagers call for support for Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 5 December 2019

“The only way to help Assange is a mass of people having his back and supporting him so that they have to release him because the people are against it.”

Assange is facing a “new form of forced rendition”

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson addresses the Australian press club

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 December 2019

Hrafnsson said Assange’s “rendition” was not taking place “with a sack over the head and an orange jumpsuit, but with the enabling of the UK legal system and with the apparent support of the Australian government.”

Australian government launches “foreign interference” taskforce

By Mike Head, 4 December 2019

The announcement was clearly made to meet demands in the ruling circles for prosecutions under the draconian “foreign interference” laws pushed through parliament last year.

Australian coronial inquiry clears prison officers in death of young Aboriginal man

By Robert Campion, 4 December 2019

References to the need for “greater training” are aimed at covering up the systemic character of state violence against working class, poor and indigenous people thrown into the prison system.

Australia: Vote ‘no’ to the NSWTF salaries agreement! Form rank-and-file committees to defend public education

By the Committee For Public Education, 4 December 2019

The NSW Teachers Federation is seeking to split and isolate teachers as they meet at hundreds of different venues across the state to hear details of the latest award.

Samoa: Death toll mounts in devastating measles epidemic

By Tom Peters, 3 December 2019

The entirely preventable outbreak, which has killed 55 people, is an indictment of the governments of Samoa and also New Zealand, where the outbreak originated.

Australian bank chief resigns over money laundering charges

By Mike Head, 30 November 2019

This latest scandal does not directly involve cheating customers, but centres on allegations of evading official transaction-tracking measures.

Groundswell of support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 November 2019

The surge of support for Assange is a welcome blow to the conspiracy of silence surrounding his persecution, enforced by governments, establishment parties and the corporate media around the world.

Indian auto parts workers demand union rights; Bangladesh cargo workers on indefinite strike; French Polynesia hotel workers expand walkout

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

30 November 2019

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

Australian Labor Party shuts down parliamentary discussion on Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 November 2019

It is a glaring exposure of the thoroughly rotten character of the Labor Party that, on the issue of Assange, it is well to the right of Joyce, a conservative nationalist and populist.

Australia: Queensland parliament forum reflects growing support for Assange

By Mike Head, 29 November 2019

While largely focussed on lobbying parliamentarians, the meeting gave expression to the deep-felt concern of working class and professional people over the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder.

Australian PM rejects Pamela Anderson’s appeal that his government defend Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 November 2019

The refusal of the Coalition and Labor to uphold Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen is inextricably tied to their support for the US alliance and their own turn to police state measures.

A secret trial in Canberra points to extent of Australia’s police-state powers

By Mike Head, 27 November 2019

All details of the man’s prosecution and imprisonment, even the very existence of the case, have been suppressed by undisclosed gag orders.

Christoph Vandreier and David North to speak at Sydney Gleebooks launch of Why Are They Back?

27 November 2019

Vandreier’s and North’s discussion will focus on the historical lessons that must be learned in order to build a mass working class movement capable of preventing the disaster of Nazism from taking place on an even greater scale today.

Resolution: Stop the US extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange! Free Assange and Manning!

26 November 2019

The following resolution was unanimously adopted by a meeting called by the Socialist Equality Party in Sydney last November 24. Similar resolutions were passed at events in Brisbane, Alice Springs and Wellington, New Zealand.

UK defies UN deadline to hand over Chagos Islands/Diego Garcia to Mauritius

By Jean Shaoul, 26 November 2019

The UN meeting in May condemned Britain’s occupation of the Chagos Islands and a non-binding ruling by the International Court of Justice calling on the UK to relinquish its hold on the territory within six months.

Australian media and intelligence agencies reveal “Chinese spy” defection

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 November 2019

Despite the implausible character of many of the defector’s claims, they have been presented uncritically by media outlets seeking to bolster the escalating and protracted campaign against supposed “Chinese interference.”

The lessons of the Hong Kong protests for the working class

By Peter Symonds, 26 November 2019

In the absence of a turn to the working class throughout China based on a socialist and internationalist perspective, the Hong Kong protest movement is being corralled behind various pro-capitalist organizations.

Meetings in Australia and New Zealand pass resolutions demanding freedom of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

By our reporter, 26 November 2019

The meetings on the weekend took place just days after Swedish prosecutors had abandoned—for the third time—their “preliminary investigation” into the false allegations that Assange had committed sexual assault.

Attendees at meetings in Australia and NZ support campaign for release of Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 26 November 2019

“What’s happening to Julian Assange affects us all. He has told the truth and he has exposed the war criminals and that’s why the US wants him.”

Australian Labor Party leader steps up pitch to big business

By Mike Head, 25 November 2019

Albanese lauded the Labor governments of the 1980s and 1990s for their pro-market restructuring, and committed Labor to implementing the next wave of such “reform.”

“We are all Julian Assange”

Interviews with Alice Springs workers and youth about public meeting to defend Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 23 November 2019

Popular support in Alice Springs for imprisoned journalist Julian Assange is matched by a deep distrust of government authorities and the major parliamentary parties.

Rising seas threaten US Pacific nuclear dump

By John Braddock, 23 November 2019

A concrete dome, a relic of the US nuclear testing program, is breaking up and beginning to spill deadly nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist defends Swedish frame-up of Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 November 2019

Miller’s article had the character of a rearguard action, aimed at defending the discredited lies and slanders that have been used to justify the persecution of Julian Assange.

Australian bushfire crisis spreads as PM denies climate change link

By Mike Head, 22 November 2019

Apocalyptic scenes of raging walls of flames, orange skies and acrid smoke hazes in major cities have fuelled a political crisis.

Former Australian spy chief steps up anti-China campaign

By Nick Beams, 22 November 2019

After stoking paranoia over an purported Chinese “threat,” Lewis called on members of the Chinese community to be recruited to assist the security agencies in the same way people in Islamic communities had been enlisted to inform on alleged “terrorist” risks.

Conference at European Parliament defends Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 November 2019

Speakers warned that the persecution of Assange was creating a precedent for the suppression of press freedom and for the application of repressive US laws all over the world.

Australian Strategic Forum tries to downplay danger of US-China conflict

By James Cogan, 21 November 2019

Warnings that US-China tensions could lead to war were largely dismissed by the majority of the forum speakers.

US puts new Sri Lankan president on notice

By K. Ratnayake, 20 November 2019

While Pompeo couched his message to Rajapakse in terms of “human rights,” Washington’s real concern is that the new president will re-orient Sri Lanka towards China.

Australian Labor Party leader dodges state party conference

By Mike Head, 20 November 2019

The fact that Albanese felt he could not appear spoke volumes about the political crisis gripping the party.

Hong Kong police lay siege to university occupied by demonstrators

By Ben McGrath, 19 November 2019

The ramping up of police violence is a precursor to even more violent methods of suppressing the months-long protest movement.

Australian establishment up-in-arms after Beijing bans visit by two MPs

By James Cogan, 19 November 2019

The hypocrisy of the latest anti-China outburst is underscored by the Australian government refusal to allow Chelsea Manning, the American whistleblower and defender of democratic rights, to travel to the country.

Trial begins over 2015 anti-government protest on Nauru

By John Braddock, 19 November 2019

The trial of fifteen activists and former politicians involved in an anti-government protest has been condemned as a sham.

Former top military official wins Sri Lankan presidential election

By K. Ratnayake, 18 November 2019

Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s election marks a sharp shift towards autocratic forms of rule, amid a deepening crisis of Sri Lankan capitalism and the rising resistance of the working class to austerity measures.

Former US Secretary of State Kissinger points to danger of “catastrophic” conflict between US and China

By Nick Beams, 16 November 2019

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned of an inevitable “conflict” between the US and China that “will be worse than the world wars that ruined European civilisation.”

New Zealand police introduce new armed units

By Tom Peters, 16 November 2019

The Labour Party-led government is exploiting the Christchurch terrorist attack to further arm the police and increase their anti-democratic powers.

Sri Lankan presidential election: Workers must prepare to fight moves towards police-state rule

By K. Ratnayake, 16 November 2019

Calls by the major candidates for “strong government”—code-words for the development of dictatorial methods—are a response to the growing opposition of workers and the poor to government austerity.

Parasite: An unusual director with his antenna attuned to social class

The Lighthouse: A gothic horror film

By Joanne Laurier, 16 November 2019

Parasite is a dark comedy from South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho that concerns itself with income inequality and its implications. The Lighthouse is a pointless horror film set in the late 1800s in New England.

Indian Honda contract workers still on strike; West Bengal teachers demand pay rise; maintenance workers take industrial action at Australian paper mill

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

16 November 2019

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

Australia: Bushfires continue to ravage New South Wales and Queensland

By Martin Scott, 14 November 2019

Four people are dead and more than 300 homes have been lost in catastrophic fires.

New Zealand cabinet minister echoes fascist gunman’s manifesto

By John Braddock, 14 November 2019

The NZ First MP’s calculated rant, with its fixation on “birth rates” and scare-mongering over “legions” of immigrants, mirror the Christchurch terrorist’s fascist screed.

Hong Kong protests defy police violence and mass arrests

By Mike Head, 13 November 2019

Escalated police attacks appear to have reinforced the popular support for the protests, setting the stage for an even-more bloody confrontation.

Australian aged care report: “A shocking tale of neglect”

By Cheryl Crisp, 13 November 2019

The inquiry’s “urgent” recommendations do nothing to address the underlying reasons for these appalling conditions.