Asia and the Pacific

Amid protests and crises, Lebanon defaults on Eurobond

By Jean Shaoul, 12 March 2020

The default comes amid a spiralling economic crisis, protests, increasing poverty and other signs of social disintegration, along with the first coronavirus deaths.

Italy emerging as the new epicenter for the Covid-19 pandemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 11 March 2020

Italy’s health care system is being overwhelmed by the growing number of serious respiratory illnesses that are filling the emergency rooms and hospitals throughout the Lombardy region.

As US coronavirus cases top 500, Italy initiates mass quarantine

By Benjamin Mateus, 9 March 2020

The World Health Organization has emphatically stated that the international community needs to take immediate action to curb the impact of the pandemic.

India restricts drug exports due to coronavirus impacts, threatening global drug supply

By Kranti Kumara, 9 March 2020

As India is a major global supplier of generic drugs, there are widespread fears that the export restrictions will lead to pharmaceutical price-hikes and shortages in countries around the world.

Modi government leaves millions of Indians vulnerable to coronavirus

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 9 March 2020

Given India’s high population density and dysfunctional public health system, its population is threatened by any rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Oil price war set to trigger new financial storms

By Nick Beams, 9 March 2020

Trading this week began with a fall in the price of Brent crude from $45 a barrel to $31.52, one of the biggest single-day falls in its history.

World Health Organization warns of need for urgent response as coronavirus cases surpass 100,000

By Bryan Dyne, 7 March 2020

If the current trends continue, the total number of cases outside China will surge past the number of cases within China by the end of the month.

Sri Lankan government withdraws from UN resolutions in order to boost the military

By W.A. Sunil, 7 March 2020

Rajapakse’s government is moving toward dictatorial rule amid mounting economic problems and social tensions.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 March 2020

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

Sri Lankan president dissolves parliament, calls national election

By K. Ratnayake, 6 March 2020

Rajapakse and his Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna hope to win a two-thirds majority in order to reinstate, and expand, the president’s anti-democratic executive powers.

Capitalism’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic

By Andre Damon and David North, 4 March 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed, once again, the disastrous consequences of a social order that subordinates all human needs to private profit.

Record fall in key China production index

By Nick Beams, 2 March 2020

China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced over the weekend that the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 35.7 in February, down from 50 in January, hitting an all-time low.

Malaysia’s political crisis deepens as King declares new prime minister

By Joseph Santolan, 2 March 2020

Muhyiddin, who was instrumental in the collapse of the government motion, now stands at the head of an ethnic Malay alliance that brings the widely detested UMNO back to power.

Sri Lankan government, companies and unions conspire to impose harsh wage deal on estate workers

By M. Thevarajah, 2 March 2020

A scheme is being prepared behind the backs of workers to impose exploitative new work models.

WHO says coronavirus danger is “very high”

By Benjamin Mateus, 29 February 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has upgraded its assessment of the danger posed by the coronavirus to “very high,” but stopped short of calling the outbreak a pandemic.

Working class in South Korea bears brunt of Covid-19 outbreak

By Ben McGrath, 29 February 2020

The majority of the cases of infection have been in Daegu, but the virus could rapidly spread in the country’s other densely populated cities.

Over 200,000 teachers strike in Sri Lanka

By our correspondents, 29 February 2020

Thousands of teachers marched to the education ministry in Colombo as public school teachers across the island struck to defend free education and demand better salaries and conditions.

Sri Lankan teachers denounce the government and unions

By our reporting team, 29 February 2020

“It’s time for all workers—teachers and workers from the railway and the banks—to fight together and not be divided by their professions or trade unions.”

The Trump administration’s incompetent and criminally negligent response to the coronavirus outbreak

By Joseph Kishore—Socialist Equality Party candidate for US President, 29 February 2020

The disastrous state of preparedness for the coronavirus is the product of decades of ruling class policy that has subordinated the most basic social needs to war and the endless accumulation of wealth.

Indian primary school teachers demonstrate; Sri Lankan police attack sacked public sector workers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 February 2020

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

China auto sales plummet as coronavirus threatens to trigger global downturn

By Marcus Day, 26 February 2020

In a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, average sales dropped to a staggering 811 vehicles a day in the first week of February.

China expels three Wall Street Journal journalists

By Ben McGrath, 26 February 2020

The US media has exploited the outbreak of the Covid-19 to ramp up the campaign to vilify China as Washington mounts an across-the-board confrontation with Beijing.

Trump hails Modi as his supporters engulf Delhi in communal violence

By Keith Jones, 26 February 2020

It is Trump’s “true friend,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his government that are politically responsible for the Hindu supremacist violence that has claimed at least 13 lives.

As Trump embraces Modi, communal violence convulses India’s capital

By Keith Jones, 25 February 2020

Modi is politically responsible and elements in his BJP directly culpable of instigating communal violence that has killed at least 10 people.

Coronavirus cases outside China are alarming, global health officials say

By Benjamin Mateus, 22 February 2020

Though new cases of Covid-19 cases appear to be declining in Hubei province in China, officials are concerned that the epidemic may be expanding into other Asian countries and continents.

A “ceasefire” in Washington’s Afghanistan debacle

By Bill Van Auken, 22 February 2020

After 18 years of war, the killing of nearly 2,400 troops and the squandering of roughly $1 trillion, Washington is negotiating a deal it could have had with the Taliban without a shot being fired.

Tamil Nadu public transport workers demonstrate; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers protest; Jetstar baggage handlers on strike in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

22 February 2020

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

Sri Lankan school teachers join rising opposition to Rajapakse government

By Kapila Fernando and Pradeep Ramanayake, 21 February 2020

In opposition to racist provocations whipped up by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite, teachers from the north and east of the island participated in the Colombo protest.

US evacuates Americans from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 February 2020

The US evacuated more than 300 Americans, including 14 confirmed infected with coronavirus, from a cruise ship in Yokohama harbor.

China denounces US “lies” at the Munich Security Conference

By Peter Symonds, 19 February 2020

Beijing’s blunt language is an attempt to counter Washington’s relentless propaganda offensive and also to seek support from the European powers.

US imposes travel ban on Sri Lankan army chief

By K. Ratnayake, 19 February 2020

Washington is demanding every faction of Colombo’s political elite line up with its war preparations against China.

Sri Lankan government prepares to privatise Kahatagaha graphite mines

By Naveen Dewage, 17 February 2020

Kahatagaha mine workers will face management demands for increased production and job cuts to make the company profitable.

Coronavirus cases continue to increase and spread internationally

By Benjamin Mateus, 15 February 2020

The World Health Organization is alarmed about the implications of the virus taking hold in areas where the medical system is vastly ill-prepared.

India: BJP loses Delhi election as voters reject communalism

By Rohantha De Silva, 15 February 2020

Delhi has been a focal point of the nationwide protests against the BJP’s anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act.

India: Punjab government teachers protest against privatisation; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers demonstrate; New Caledonia miners strike against long hours

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

15 February 2020

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

World Health Organization warns of global risk from coronavirus outbreak

By Benjamin Mateus, 12 February 2020

Concerns have been voiced that the epidemic could spread widely, as cases among people who have never had contact with infected patients from China have now been diagnosed.

Hundreds of thousands denied pensions in Russia

By Andrea Peters, 12 February 2020

The effect of Russia’s 2018 pension reform is becoming clear, with 800,000 people who would have met the age requirement to receive funds no longer eligible.

Chinese authorities try to contain discontent over handling of coronavirus outbreak

By James Cogan, 10 February 2020

Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang’s tragic death has become a symbol of the regime’s repressive incompetence and indifference to the lives of the population.

Police crackdown on sacked workers after Sri Lankan president’s “Independence Day” speech

By Saman Gunadasa, 10 February 2020

The police action is a warning that the Rajapakse government will not tolerate any challenge to its big-business, cost-cutting agenda.

Australian coronavirus travel ban blocks thousands of Chinese students

By Eric Ludlow, 8 February 2020

The blanket ban by the Morrison government affects any foreign national trying to enter Australia from mainland China.

Sri Lankan union leader Saman Ratnapriya paid off with a parliamentary position

By Rohantha De Silva, 8 February 2020

The United National Party has rewarded Ratnapriya for his treacherous service to the previous Wickremesinghe government, and his more than 20-year defence of capitalist rule in Sri Lanka.

India: 10,000 Karnataka midday-meal workers strike indefinitely; Tahiti workers strike against Macron’s pensions “reforms”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

8 February 2020

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

020 Coronavirus protests in China

8 February 2020

As number of cases soars, researchers announce potential coronavirus vaccine

By Benjamin Mateus, 6 February 2020

Drug companies are cautioning that vaccine manufacturing is a slow, methodical process.

Wall Street rises as coronavirus weighs heavily on global economy

By Nick Beams, 5 February 2020

Economic activity is at a virtual standstill in at least 21 Chinese provinces which account for 80 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 90 percent of its exports.

Coronavirus outbreak disrupts global auto industry as carmakers shut down production in China

By Jessica Goldstein, 5 February 2020

The shutdown of the auto industry in China due to the coronavirus outbreak is expected to have a major impact on the world economy, with no real timeline in sight for the resumption of production.

Sri Lanka: Presidential commission orders halt to trial of naval officers over abductions

By S. Jayanth, 5 February 2020

The attempt to use the presidential commission to interfere in the work of the attorney general is a threat to basic democratic rights and legal norms.

Oil prices plummet as coronavirus epidemic drastically curtails Chinese demand

By Benjamin Mateus, 4 February 2020

China is the world’s top oil importer and uses over 10 million barrels per day.

US bans foreign nationals from entry over coronavirus

By Benjamin Mateus, 1 February 2020

Governments internationally are promulgating travel restrictions with China.

Sharp fall on Wall Street as coronavirus hits global markets

By Nick Beams, 1 February 2020

Financial analysts are warning that the virus has created a more uncertain environment than the US-China trade war and its impact could be greater than that of the SARS virus in 2002–2003.

South Korea deploys naval unit to Strait of Hormuz

By Ben McGrath, 1 February 2020

Behind the backs of the South Korean working class, Seoul is supporting US war plans that could lead to a wider conflict with China and Russia.

BJP to table Indian budget amid mounting economic crisis, popular anger

By Kranti Kumara, 1 February 2020

The rapid unravelling of India’s economy has shocked Indian big business and such representatives of global capital as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

India: Maoist union betrays 140-day Motherson auto parts workers’ strike

By Arun Kumar, 1 February 2020

Having isolated the strikers since August last year, the union has ordered the auto-parts workers to end their strike without winning any of their demands and abandoning 79 victimised colleagues.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

1 February 2020

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

World Health Organisation officially declares coronavirus a “global health emergency”

By James Cogan, 31 January 2020

The announcement came the same day that Russia closed its border with China and authorities confirmed a human-to-human transmission of the virus in the United States.

Sri Lanka: Pseudo-left blames working people for Rajapakse’s election victory

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and K. Ratnayake, 31 January 2020

The responsibility for Rajapakse coming to power squarely rests with the pseudo-left groups, such as the NSSP, as well as the trade unions, the JVP and the Tamil bourgeois parties which promoted the UNP as the lesser evil.

Trump ramps up tensions with UK after Huawei 5G decision

By Thomas Scripps, 29 January 2020

The fudge decision is a desperate attempt to placate the Trump administration and avoid a collision over basic issues of economy and security.

Sri Lankan president declares wartime missing persons dead

By S. Jayanth, 29 January 2020

As the former defense secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse presided over the military and was responsible for the death squads that abducted and killed Tamil youth, journalists and critics during the war.

Rising concerns over spread of the Wuhan coronavirus

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 January 2020

Medical services are being overwhelmed by the 2,744 confirmed cases and at least 80 reported deaths, as authorities in China and internationally attempt to contain the spread of the epidemic.

Second case of coronavirus confirmed in the US

By Benjamin Mateus, 25 January 2020

Since the virus was first identified, more than 1,000 people have now been infected worldwide, and in the latest report the death toll has climbed to 41, all having died in mainland China.

Sri Lankan graphite mine workers strike over pay and conditions

By our correspondents, 25 January 2020

This week’s walkout is the first workers’ strike this year against the new Rajapakse government.

Indian midday-meal workers strike for higher wages; Australian rail workers strike again

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

25 January 2020

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

Major Chinese city in lockdown as novel coronavirus spreads internationally

By Benjamin Mateus, 24 January 2020

With hundreds of millions of people travelling for the Chinese New Year, there are concerns the outbreak could become an international pandemic.

US and UK clash over Huawei involvement in 5G rollout

By Robert Stevens, 18 January 2020

The rollout of 5G broadband wireless networks globally is becoming an arena for the eruption of geopolitical tensions.

Mumbai hospital workers demand outstanding wages; South Korean car workers strike; Australian tram drivers vote to walk out

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

18 January 2020

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

Sri Lankan SEP holds public meeting: How to fight the new Rajapakse regime

By our correspondents, 16 January 2020

About 150 workers, youth, professionals and housewives, including party members and supporters from Colombo and outstations, attended the event held in Colombo Public Library Auditorium.

Sri Lankan Central Bank chief demands “structural reform”

By Saman Gunadasa, 15 January 2020

Lakshman’s statements indicate that the government is preparing to further impose the burden of the country’s economic crisis on the back of the working people.

Plotters behind violent massacre in Philippines convicted after 10 years

By Owen Howell, 15 January 2020

The Maguindanao massacre is one horrific instance of the ongoing problem of political violence in the Philippines.

Indian workers in general strike call for unity

By our correspondents, 14 January 2020

Striking workers discussed with the WSWS the central political issues in the struggle against the Modi government and its program of austerity and communal reaction.

Taiwan’s anti-China president wins re-election

By Ben McGrath, 13 January 2020

Emboldened by her victory, and with Washington’s backing, Tsai Ing-wen will continue to escalate cross-strait tensions with China.

General election in Taiwan marked by anti-China atmosphere

By Ben McGrath, 11 January 2020

The Taiwanese ruling elite has covered up the real issues in the region during this election, including its alignment with Washington’s war drive against China.

The Indian general strike and the global fight against communalism and war

By Keith Jones, 11 January 2020

Tens of millions of workers, youth and rural toilers participated in Wednesday’s all-India one-day general strike, transcending communal, caste and ethno-linguistic divides.

India: Haryana public transport workers strike against outsourcing; Pakistani journalists oppose salary and job cuts

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

11 January 2020

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India: Mass outrage over Hindu supremacists’ violent assault on JNU students

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 10 January 2020

All the circumstances surrounding the attack point to it having been carried out with the connivance, if not at the behest, of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.

Sri Lankan president outlines big business, communalist policy to parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 10 January 2020

Rajapakse’s demagogy about fighting terrorism, extremism and disruptions to public order are aimed at justifying state suppression of inevitable struggles against his government by workers and the poor.

Massive all-India general strike protests Modi’s pro-investor, communalist policies

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones, 9 January 2020

The strike’s size and scope did vary across the country, but there is no doubt that it had a massive impact, and attested to the growing militancy and immense social power of the working class.

Indian workers need a revolutionary socialist program to fight Modi, capitalist austerity, and communal reaction

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones, 8 January 2020

While tens of millions of workers and youth will join today’s general strike to fight the BJP’s “pro-investor” and communalist policies, the unions and Stalinist parties are seeking to tie the mass opposition to Modi to the big-business Congress Party and the Indian state.

Sri Lankan police arrest two former government ministers

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 4 January 2020

The Rajapakse government’s attacks on political opponents is a warning to the working class.

Garbage collectors strike in India’s Maharashtra state capital; military vehicle production workers oppose sackings in Tamil Nadu

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

4 January 2020

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Many unanswered questions in Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan

By Nick Beams, 3 January 2020

According to the head of Ghosn’s own Japanese legal team: “A very large organisation must have acted to pull this off.”

One million march in Hong Kong on New Year’s Day

By Ben McGrath, 3 January 2020

To develop a genuine struggle for democratic rights, workers, students and young people must break the bonds that have been placed on the movement by various factions of the capitalist class.

Bangladeshi jute mill unions call off workers’ protests

By Wimal Perera, 3 January 2020

The Awami League-led government, aided and abetted by the unions, is determined to impose the privatisation demands of international banks and investors.

Iran, Russia and China hold joint naval drills in Indian Ocean amid US war threats

By Alex Lantier, 30 December 2019

The exercises are a signal that a US-led war targeting Iran could rapidly escalate into a global conflict involving the major nuclear powers.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.