Asia and the Pacific

Australian incarceration rate rising despite drop in crime

By Martin Scott, 12 September 2019

Indigenous Australians are now more likely to be imprisoned than African Americans.

Virgin Australia axes 750 jobs

By Terry Cook, 11 September 2019

The immediate consequence of the restructure is the destruction of 750 jobs, or around 7 percent of the carrier’s workforce, to achieve savings of $75 million a year.

India: Kolkata students and workers demand freedom for Assange and Manning

By Ritwik Mitter and Arun Kumar, 11 September 2019

ICFI supporters spoke to students at Jadavpur University in Kolkata and workers from BSNL, the Indian government-owned telecommunication company.

As contract deadline looms in US, 8,000 GM autoworkers strike in South Korea

By James Cogan, 10 September 2019

The issues over which the Korean workers are striking are ones that their American co-workers will readily identify with.

Household incomes dropping in Australia as economy slides toward recession

By Mike Head, 10 September 2019

Working class living standards are continuing a seven-year fall, setting the scene for class conflict.

Build action committees! Expand the strike!

A socialist perspective for the Sri Lankan university employees’ struggle

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 10 September 2019

Non-academic university staff, who are beginning an indefinite strike today, should expand their struggle by appealing to other sections of the working class.

Another police-state raid in Australia to protect spy agencies

By Mike Head, 7 September 2019

The Morrison government is stepping-up an offensive on democratic rights at the Trump administration’s behest.

Peter Greste’s panel discussion in Sydney: Support for censorship and throwing Assange to the wolves

By James Cogan, 7 September 2019

Greste advocates the anti-democratic conception that a “responsible journalist” censors information that is deemed too controversial for the population to know.

Hong Kong administration seeks to split protest movement

By Peter Symonds, 5 September 2019

By withdrawing the extradition legislation, chief executive Carrie Lam is seeking the support of conservative protest leaders to pave the way for the suppression of more militant layers.

India labels 1.9 million Assam residents “foreigners” as prelude to their mass expulsion

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 5 September 2019

Almost all of the 1.9 million people who have been deemed “foreigners”—some 6 percent of Assam’s population—are Bengali-speaking, and more than 90 percent of them are impoverished Muslims.

A year after sellout deal

Crisis erupts in New Zealand Nurses Organisation

By Tom Peters, 5 September 2019

Both factions of the NZNO leadership are complicit in imposing a rotten deal in 2018 that entrenched low wages and a staffing shortage in hospitals.

Tens of thousands join first day of Hong Kong protest strike

By Peter Symonds, 3 September 2019

The union confederation is doing all it can to limit action by workers and confine their demands to those of the official pro-capitalist opposition in Hong Kong.

Australia: Whistleblower trials proceed despite outcry

By Mike Head, 3 September 2019

The Morrison government rejects calls to drop the prosecution of people who exposed the criminal activities of the country’s US-linked spy agencies and armed forces.

Australian worker killed in fall on Sydney construction site

By Terry Cook, 3 September 2019

Mohamad Riche, who died in an avoidable accident on August 21, was the sixth construction worker in Australia to lose his life on worksites this year.

230 Australia: “My Crime is Journalism” meeting tries to avoid discussing Assange

3 September 2019

Roger Waters holds concert on Monday

Take forward the fight to free Julian Assange!

By Joseph Kishore, 2 September 2019

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are the victims of a monstrous criminal conspiracy, involving the most powerful governments in the world, the intelligence agencies and the corporate media.

Two-day strike begins in Hong Kong following weekend of protests

By Ben McGrath, 2 September 2019

Fearful of the intervention of the working class, authorities are stepping up their repression of protesters.

Australian government moves to deport Tamil refugees despite mass opposition

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 September 2019

The family has been transferred to Christmas Island, where they have been placed in substandard accommodation and given expired food.

IYSSE holds meetings in defence of Assange at Australian universities

By our reporters, 31 August 2019

One student commented: “What is happening is an injustice to him and his rights and freedom of speech. Young people should join together and fight for what is true and what is honest.”

Motherson autoworkers strike in India; Madhya Pradesh railway workers oppose privatisation; Melbourne tram workers walk out

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

31 August 2019

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

Hong Kong mass rally banned as Chinese troops deployed in show of force

By Mike Head, 30 August 2019

Beijing is well aware that the protracted protests are being driven by underlying student and working class concerns about escalating social inequality.

US alarmed over end to South Korea-Japan intelligence sharing

By Peter Symonds, 30 August 2019

Seoul’s decision to withdraw from a key intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo is part of the deepening rift between Washington’s two military allies in North East Asia over economic and strategic issues.

Australian government seeks to deport Tamil refugee family to Sri Lanka

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2019

The outpouring of support for the family reflects the broad opposition of working people to the bipartisan assault on asylum-seekers.

Australia: NSW Greens pass motion “defending” Assange, but MPs remain silent

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2019

The mealy-mouthed statement, which does not call for Assange’s freedom or condemn the US charges against him, has been met with silence by Greens MPs.

Australia acts to retain sway over former colony Papua New Guinea

By James Cogan, 29 August 2019

PNG is on the frontline of the great power competition with China.

Sri Lankan president “lifts” emergency but armed forces mobilised to “maintain security”

By W.A. Sunil, 29 August 2019

When emergency rule was imposed after the April terrorist bombings, the SEP warned that the real target of the government’s measures was not terrorists, but the working class.

New Zealand economic forecast: “Things could turn ugly”

By John Braddock, 29 August 2019

The US-China trade war, slowing growth in New Zealand’s export markets, and dampened business investment are key issues facing the local economy as the global recession looms.

Clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson: They are trying to break Assange “physically and psychologically”

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 August 2019

”Of all the passive bystanders to Julian Assange’s abuse, the Australian government is by far the most culpable and complicit.”

Australian Labor Party accuses government of “losing control” of borders

By Mike Head, 28 August 2019

Shadow home affairs minister Kristina Keneally condemned the government for allowing asylum seekers to arrive by plane.

The US announces provocative arms sale to Taiwan

By Peter Symonds, 27 August 2019

The $8 billion sale of 66 F-16V fighter jets is the first such deal since the administration of President George H.W. Bush approved the sale of 150 fighter jets to Taiwan in 1992.

Australian PM calls for new internet censorship measures at G7

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 August 2019

Morrison is campaigning for an international crackdown on social media, while his government asserts the right to ban websites and domains domestically.

Tongan government threatens to block access to Facebook

By Tom Peters, 27 August 2019

The threat to ban Facebook follows intense criticism on social media of Tonga’s royal family, and growing popular anger over social inequality.

Hong Kong protests continue into twelfth week

By Peter Symonds, 26 August 2019

Clashes with police took place involving for the first time the use of water cannon as well as tear gas and batons as police attempted to disperse protesters.

Anti-China witch-hunt targets Australian universities

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 August 2019

The government and the security agencies convened a meeting with universities, threatening research involving Chinese academics.

Wall Street falls as US-China trade conflict intensifies

By Nick Beams, 24 August 2019

Tweets by Trump in response to tariff measures by Beijing were his most belligerent to date, taking aim not only against China, but US corporations and the Federal Reserve.

Rift widens between Australia and Pacific Island states

By John Braddock, 24 August 2019

The Pacific Islands Forum has opened up a bitter dispute over the Australian government’s refusal to agree to urgent measures to address climate change.

Australian state Labor government’s lies about “protest violence” exposed

By Mike Head, 24 August 2019

Labor’s fabricated “booby trap” claims illustrate how governments concoct fear campaigns to attack basic democratic rights.

How to fight for democratic rights in Hong Kong

By Peter Symonds, 22 August 2019

Hong Kong workers and youth need to reach out to their class brothers and sisters in China who confront the same class enemy—the Stalinist regime in Beijing that defends the interests of the corporate elite and the super-rich.

Australia’s US Studies Centre advocates war-footing against China

By James Cogan, 22 August 2019

The policies that the pro-US think tank proposes could not be implemented without the suppression of widespread political opposition.

Julian Assange’s father warns WikiLeaks’ publisher’s health is “declining rapidly” in Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 August 2019

”The government will willingly sacrifice Julian’s well-being to the demands of the US and the UK.”

016 Hong Kong

20 August 2019

Australian prime minister elevates pro-US militarists to top cabinet, intelligence positions

By James Cogan, 20 August 2019

Shearer’s role will be to advise Morrison and other ministers on how to publicly promote the US-led preparations for war with China.

Tensions over climate change dominate Pacific Islands summit

By John Braddock, 20 August 2019

Australia, with New Zealand’s support, has again quashed efforts by small Pacific Island states to push for measures to address climate change.

As Australian government threatens to jail journalists, media chiefs denounce Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 19 August 2019

While claiming to champion the “right to know,” media executives condemned the WikiLeaks founder for exposing the crimes of the US spy and military apparatuses.

Japan-South Korea conflict intensifies

By Nick Beams, 17 August 2019

South Korea announced this week that it has removed Japan from a list of countries that qualify for accelerated supply of South Korean products, after Japan had imposed a similar measure against South Korea on August 2.

New Zealand: Outrage over babies taken by the state

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 17 August 2019

The brutal seizure of babies and infants from poor, mostly Maori families, has provoked public protests and outrage in the working class.

Australian health workers protest assaults on staff

By John Wilson, 17 August 2019

The Health Services Union limited the action and channelled workers’ anger into a demand for more security officers, not for increased funding and staffing.

State of siege in Kashmir: A warning to the international working class

By Bill Van Auken, 17 August 2019

Western governments and media have maintained virtual silence over the police state crackdown against 13 million Kashmiris.

Indian chemical workers oppose privatisation; Bangladesh garment workers protest for unpaid wages; Australian rail and tram workers to take industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

17 August 2019

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

Australia: Pro-US ideologue brands student groups as China’s “useful idiots”

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 August 2019

Clive Hamilton’s comments are a warning that Australia’s involvement in the US drive to war with China will be accompanied by political repression domestically.

Hong Kong protests met with denunciations and threats

By Peter Symonds, 14 August 2019

The muted response to the threats of Chinese intervention reflects fear in ruling circles internationally that events in Hong Kong could be replicated in cities around the world.

Australia: Mentally-ill man carries out stabbing attacks in Sydney

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 August 2019

The alleged perpetrator was a 20-year-old man from a working-class suburb in Sydney’s west, with a lengthy history of psychological issues.

From Couch to Curb film launch highlights youth homelessness in Australia

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 August 2019

More than 116,000 people across Australia, or one in every 200, are currently without a home; a quarter of these are young people aged between 12 and 24.

Protest sit-in shuts Hong Kong international airport

By Peter Symonds, 13 August 2019

The closure of the world’s eighth biggest airport, following on from last week’s general strike, marks a significant deepening of the political crisis in Hong Kong.

Eight-hour power blackout hits Indonesian capital

By Owen Howell, 12 August 2019

The Indonesian government has failed to meet the basic infrastructure demands of the rapidly growing Greater Jakarta, a megacity of 30 million people.

Australia: Mentally-ill man shot dead by police at his home

By Martin Scott, 12 August 2019

“If there was no danger to the public, and if he was contained in his own house and not doing anything, one would have to ask ‘why in the hell is he gone?’”

The ABC documentary “Hero or Villain”: Undermining the defence of Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 12 August 2019

The program’s pernicious subtext was that Assange should be viewed as dubious, at best, and undeserving of sympathy, let alone active political support.

Following AUSMIN talks, Australian politician compares China to Nazi Germany

By James Cogan, 10 August 2019

Andrew Hastie falsely compared the purported failure of Australia to respond to the threat posed by China with France’s lack of response to the “German advance in 1940.”

US defence secretary, NATO chief visit New Zealand to strengthen military ties

By Tom Peters, 10 August 2019

The visits by US defence secretary Mark Esper and NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg were aimed at incorporating New Zealand further into the military build-up against China, Russia and Iran.

John Pilger warns: “Do not forget Assange. Or you will lose him”

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 August 2019

The well-known journalist outlined the WikiLeaks founder’s deteriorating health, and the draconian conditions in which he is being held in a British prison.

Indo-Pakistani conflict sharpens with New Delhi’s assault on Kashmir

By Keith Jones, 9 August 2019

In response to India’s aggressive and patently illegal moves to tighten its control over disputed Kashmir, Pakistan has taken a raft of retaliatory measures and issued thinly-veiled war threats.

Australian High Court scraps free speech for workers

By Mike Head, 9 August 2019

The judges’ support for the sacking of a public servant is part of an assault on free speech under conditions of escalating social, geo-strategic and war tensions.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading member of Assange’s legal team, speaks with the WSWS

By our reporters, 9 August 2019

“It speaks volumes about Australia’s position in the world that it’s not willing to take a stand against the United States and protect an Australian citizen.”

Australian spy and police chiefs say raids on journalists must continue

By Mike Head, 8 August 2019

In a blunt intervention, Director-General of National Intelligence Nick Warner used the language of war to defend the targeting of journalists.

General strike signals entry of working class into Hong Kong protests

By Peter Symonds, 7 August 2019

The mass protests in Hong Kong, which have continued for more than two months, are part of the resurgence of the working class internationally.

Protests in Australia continue to break official silence on Julian Assange

By our reporters, 7 August 2019

The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the refusal of all of the official parties to take any action in defence of the WikiLeaks founder.

Sri Lankan parliamentary parties back extension of emergency rule

By Saman Gunadasa, 7 August 2019

The endorsement came four days after President Sirisena declared that the railways and public transport were essential services, effectively banning strikes in those sectors.

Australia: Melbourne rail workers vote for strike action

By Patrick O’Connor, 7 August 2019

While privatisation has provided new and lucrative profit opportunities for corporate operators, it has proven a disaster for rail workers and commuters.

Tens of thousands of workers strike throughout Hong Kong

By Ben McGrath, 6 August 2019

The ruling class throughout the world is deeply fearful of the spread of social discontent as the working class moves into open struggle for its democratic and social rights.

US-China trade conflict escalates to currency war

By Nick Beams, 6 August 2019

Stock markets fell sharply around the world yesterday, amid fears of a currency war, after China allowed its currency, the renminbi, to pass through the benchmark of 7 to the US dollar.

US Secretary of State demands greater Australian involvement in war drive against China

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 August 2019

The support for Pompeo’s aggressive remarks in Canberra is a warning that behind its back, the Australian population has been placed on the frontline of a confrontation with China that threatens a catastrophic nuclear war.

General strike by Hong Kong workers against extradition law

By Peter Symonds, 5 August 2019

The strike signals the entry of the working class, on a class basis, into the mass protest movement, pointing to the underlying social and economic issues driving the opposition.

Bangladesh primary school teachers demand government nationalise schools

By Wimal Perera, 5 August 2019

Even if non-government primary schools are taken over by the Hasina government there is no guarantee that teachers and school staff will be regularly paid.

Assange’s father speaks to the WSWS: “Julian’s resolve is fierce”

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 August 2019

John Shipton condemned the Australian government’s refusal to raise the issue of Assange with the US, or to take any action in his defence, declaring: “Silence is complicity.”

Australian households’ cost of living soars above consumer price index

By Margaret Rees, 3 August 2019

A large gap has emerged between the official statistics and the standard of living, thanks to skyrocketing prices for essential goods and services, as opposed to prices for discretionary items.

Indian doctors hold national 24-hour walkout; Chinese auto workers strike; Australian railway workers vote for industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 August 2019

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

Trump escalates trade war against China

By Nick Beams, 2 August 2019

The decision to impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, covering a wide range of consumer products, represents the most significant intensification of the more than year-long trade war to date.

Slump deepens in Australian residential construction industry

By Paul Bartizan and Richard Phillips, 2 August 2019

Multiple faults in new apartment buildings have become a factor in the bursting of a debt-fuelled property bubble that is threatening thousands of jobs.

Julian Assange’s lawyer briefs Australian parliamentarians on his persecution

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 August 2019

The event reflected concerns within the ruling elite over popular opposition to the Trump administration’s bid to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder.

Millions displaced and hundreds killed by monsoonal floods in South Asia

By Rohantha De Silva, 31 July 2019

South Asian governments have responded with apathy and indifference toward the poverty-stricken people severely impacted by the floods.

Layoffs mount as slump in world auto industry deepens

By Shannon Jones, 30 July 2019

Continuing sales declines, led by China and India, are leading to massive job losses and attacks on autoworkers as transnational companies seek to maintain high levels of return.

Intercept article calls on Democrats to step up attack on Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 July 2019

James Risen peddled the lies of CNN and the intelligence agencies, slanderously suggesting that Assange worked on behalf of Russia and the Trump campaign.

Factory explosion in central Chinese city kills 15

By Robert Campion, 30 July 2019

Claims by authorities to address safety after such industrial accidents have proven to be empty words.

Australia: Six Queensland mining deaths in 12 months

By Patrick Davies, 30 July 2019

The tragedies are a result of the gutting of full-time jobs and the erosion of working conditions, enforced by the trade unions.

DP World threatens to sack 10 percent of its Australian workforce during industrial action

By Noel Holt, 29 July 2019

The move marks a new offensive by employers to further slash jobs, basic rights and conditions on the waterfront and throughout the working class as a whole.

Australian central bank chief fearful of rising global tensions

By Mike Head, 27 July 2019

“When businesses are nervous, they don’t want to invest,” Philip Lowe warned a corporate lunch audience.

Official New Zealand inquiry into Afghan war crimes further exposed as a whitewash

By Alan Johnson and John Braddock, 26 July 2019

The Labour government’s inquiry seeks to clean up the image of the NZ Defence Force for new wars.

Australian disability centre closures result in nearly a dozen deaths

By Max Newman, 26 July 2019

Former residents of a disability centre in Newcastle have died after being transferred to under-funded group homes via the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Amid growing signs of global slowdown

US-China trade talks to resume next week

By Nick Beams, 25 July 2019

The conflict has become more fraught since the US Commerce Department decided to place Huawei on its entity list, effectively banning it from supplies of US components for its operations.

New Zealand foreign minister repeats call for increased US role in Pacific

By John Braddock, 25 July 2019

Peters’ speech echoed his earlier appeal for a stronger US-New Zealand military and strategic alliance to counter Beijing.

Japan’s ruling party wins upper house election

By Ben McGrath, 24 July 2019

The opposition parties in the National Diet will not offer any real opposition to Abe’s efforts to revise Article 9, the antimilitary provision in the Japanese constitution.

Australian government demands police-state powers over protests and exclusions of citizens

By Mike Head, 24 July 2019

The bills would hand governments the most authoritarian powers since the two world wars.

Gang members attack Hong Kong protesters

By Ben McGrath, 23 July 2019

Beijing and local authorities are fearful that the Hong Kong protest movement will spread to the mainland and are employing increasingly violent means against it.

Indonesian court backs Widodo’s election

By John Roberts, 23 July 2019

With the presidency and parliamentary numbers settled for now, sordid deals are being made among the different sections of the ruling elite.

Australian cancer victim sues Bayer-Monsanto

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 July 2019

Michael Ogalirolo claims his potentially lethal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is due to 18 years of exposure to glyphosate, the active component of the herbicide Roundup.

Fire at Japanese animation studio leaves nearly three dozen dead

By Ben McGrath, 22 July 2019

A man suffering mental illness is alleged to have ignited the inferno in a building that lacked basic fire safety measures.

Australian aged care home closes abruptly, traumatising residents

By Jenny Campbell, 22 July 2019

Nurses and other Earle Haven staff members watched in horror and shame as patients were left in limbo, with their medications, patient records and equipment quickly removed from the premises.

Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka intensifies the campaign to free Julian Assange

By our correspondents, 22 July 2019

The Sri Lankan Trotskyists held a well-attended public meeting in Colombo and a powerful rally in Jaffna.

22 July 2019

Plastic waste from foreign nations dumped in East Java village

By Owen Howell, 20 July 2019

With China blocking imports of recyclable waste, developed countries have now resorted to illegally smuggling plastic into Indonesia and other parts of South East Asia.