Asia and the Pacific

Eight protesting inmates demanding COVID-19 protection shot dead in Sri Lankan prison

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 1 December 2020

The brutal Mahara Prison killings are not an aberration but are in line with the increasingly repressive methods being employed to suppress opposition to the government’s COVID-19 response.

COVID-19 and the lessons of 2020: A socialist perspective for the struggles ahead

1 December 2020

The Socialist Equality Party and International Youth and Students for Social Equality in Australia are holding an online public meeting to discuss the program the working class must adopt to fight the social, economic and political crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fiji and Australia to negotiate new military pact

By John Braddock, 1 December 2020

The move to establish closer Fiji-Australian military ties is part of the intensifying US-led build-up to counter China’s influence in the south west Pacific.

Rent debt “bomb” points to depth of social crisis in Australia

By Mike Head, 1 December 2020

Hundreds of thousands of working-class households could face eviction as temporary COVID-19 pandemic moratoriums end.

Workers from Turkey defend Dr. Scalice against the attacks by Jose Sison and the CPP

By our reporters, 30 November 2020

“Workers from all over the world, we must speak up to show our support for his efforts, especially in countries with a belated capitalist development such as Turkey or the Philippines.”

This week in history: November 30-December 6

30 November 2020

75 years ago: General Douglas MacArthur, the effective leader of US-occupied Japan, ordered the arrest of former Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe and eight of the country’s other civilian and military leaders for war crimes, setting the stage for criminal prosecutions.

Migrants protest in India demanding right to return to New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 30 November 2020

An estimated 2,000 work NZ visa holders have been stuck in India for nine months, many of whom have lost their jobs and are in severe hardship.

Australia: Coles imposes three-month lockout on 350 warehouse workers

By our reporters, 30 November 2020

The attack by the supermarket chain is aimed at establishing a brutal precedent for other distribution centres and workers’ conditions more broadly.

Sri Lankan government orders schools to reopen, threatening thousands with COVID-19

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 30 November 2020

In line with its dangerous and irresponsible “new normal” coronavirus policies, the Rajapakse government is sending students and teachers back to school.

Bangladeshi garment workers demand unpaid wages; Sri Lankan hospital workers protest for better conditions; LNG platform workers in Western Australia continue strike

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

28 November 2020

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

Australian paramedics under mounting pressure

By Margaret Rees, 28 November 2020

Even before they were placed on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, paramedics reported the highest rates of workplace injury of any occupation.

Papua New Guinea embroiled in ongoing political turmoil

By John Braddock, 28 November 2020

With a deepening economic and social disaster, the defection of MPs to the opposition has pitched the James Marape-led government into crisis.

Australian PM seeks to protect revenue from China while reasserting US alliance

By Mike Head, 27 November 2020

Morrison pleaded that Australia should not have to choose between its “enduring alliance” with the US and a “beneficial relationship” with China.

Union official denounces WSWS, seeks to intimidate workers at Australia Post meeting

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 November 2020

At a meeting last week, a CEPU official responded to a workers’ call for collective action with a hysterical outburst against the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party.

‘Popoy’ Lagman: A Stalinist rival of the Communist Party of the Philippines

By John Malvar, 27 November 2020

While he rejected the armed struggle in the countryside, Lagman, like Sison, sought to subordinate Filipino workers to their class enemies, the bourgeoisie, in the name of national democracy.

Thai protesters defy threat of draconian lèse-majesté law

By Peter Symonds, 26 November 2020

Some 15,000 demonstrators joined the protest which was directed against the monarchy and the current King Maha Vajiralongkorn in particular, who has transferred crown assets worth an estimated $40 billion into his own hands.

Australian war crimes report points to history of military atrocities and coverups

By Mike Head, 26 November 2020

For all the mythology of heroic and honourable armed forces, the report outlines more than a century of illegal killings, massacres and other abuses.

Australia: Residents speak out against northern NSW school closures

By Kaye Tucker, 26 November 2020

“For families like mine, this is a real panic situation! I’m in social housing and very grateful to have a roof over our heads, but if I can’t give my son a quality education in the area, then I am going to have to move.”

India’s ruling elite welcomes Biden-Harris victory in US presidential election

By Deepal Jayasekera, 26 November 2020

The warm welcome for the President-elect is based on the calculation that a Biden administration will be no less committed than Trump’s to expanding the anti-China Indo-US “global strategic partnership.”

Surge in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia

By Robert Campion, 25 November 2020

Conscious of the growing opposition to his policies, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been pinning hopes on an early vaccination program.

Further statements from Australia in defence of Dr. Scalice against the slanders of the CPP

By our reporters, 25 November 2020

“Presenting the truth, especially in history, is a dangerous activity because it exposes class interests, interests which the ruling class, and its supporters, will defend with all measures.”

Sri Lankan budget: Tax bonanza for big business and increased burdens on working people

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 November 2020

The Rajapakse government’s tax concessions for the rich and cuts to education and other vital social services will drastically hit workers and the poor struggling to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

University of Sydney staff hold walk-out, protest sackings of entire departments

By Jack Turner, 24 November 2020

The latest retrenchments include entire departments, taking the attack on jobs and conditions to a qualitatively new level.

Labor governments presided over most confirmed Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 November 2020

Many of the war crimes flowed out of Labor’s escalation of Australia’s role in the occupation of Afghanistan, including in US-led “kill or capture” operations.

New Zealand government, media downplay Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

By Tom Peters, 24 November 2020

Prime Minister Ardern did not condemn the Australian war crimes, as her government has sought to cover up similar atrocities committed by New Zealand special forces.

Australian university union blocks opposition as cuts to jobs and conditions intensify

By Mike Head, 24 November 2020

Every week brings new announcements of retrenchments as the managements exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to accelerate pro-business restructuring.

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.