Asia

On 17 November, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was declared the new president of Sri Lanka. Winning 52.5 percent of the total votes, Gotabaya’s pro-nationalist party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), promised greater national security against “terrorism” and to lead the country to greater economic prosperity.

On 1 December, a feature article about the IMT made the main headline on the front page of one of Japan’s top daily newspapers. The Mainichi Shimbun (“The Daily Paper”) is Japan’s oldest major newspaper, founded in 1872 and published twice daily, with a circulation of 4 million. We publish below for our readers the English translation of the article, entitled The Internationale Resounds in NYC—Socialism Resonating with the Youth.

The protest movement of Jawaharlal Nehru University students against indiscriminate fee hikes and reactionary discipline policies for hostels have entered a new stage. The university administration has astronomically increased the fees by 999 percent, meaning hostel room rent has increased from INR10 ($0.14) to INR600 ($8.35). In addition to this, there are newly implemented service charges of INR1700 ($23.67), and the mess fee has increased from INR5000 ($69.61) to INR12000 ($167.07).

Last weekend, amidst a wave of protests that has raged on for over half a year following the Extradition Bill introduced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong held its regularly scheduled district council election. This typically low-interest, low-turnout affair was turned into an effective referendum on the Hong Kong masses’ opinion towards Beijing in light of recent events. It concluded with a landslide victory for the anti-Beijing bloc of politicians, with the highest turnout since Hong Kong’s return to China. But what is needed is a clear way forward based on class struggle politics.

In August, the expected yield for ten-year Treasury notes fell below the yield for two-year notes for the first time since 2007, with the 30-year bond yield also reaching a new low. The “yield curve” tracks the yield to investors who purchase shares in government debt to be paid back over various time horizons. The national debt accrues as the US Treasury sells Treasury securities in exchange for cash used to finance the government.

A powerful movement of health workers is going on against privatisation in Pakistan. The government is snatching the basic right of healthcare from the working class in a country where already more than 80 percent of the population has no access to basic health provision. Rather than building new public hospitals and spending more on health services, the government has planned to close the health department altogether and hand it over to the private sector.

The EVA Air flight attendants strike, led by the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) ended on July 6th, 2019 after over two weeks of struggle. Management slightly relented on their previous hardline attitude as they reached an agreement with the union. From the perspective of the Taiwanese labour movement, this strike will not be the end, but merely an episode that shows the sign of times to come.

This is a translated editorial statement from Militan Indonesia, first published on 22 August 2019, at the beginning of a wave of mass demonstrations across Indonesia and Papua. Since then, reaction has reared its head. The Indonesian government deployed an additional 6,000 police and military personnel to Papua. The internet was blocked. A pro-Indonesian militia was mobilised to terrorise Papuan people. Dozens of Papuans have been killed, with hundreds being rounded up.

China’s National Day, which marks the anniversary of Mao’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October, is always full of pageantry and displays of military strength. But for the 70th anniversary, Xi Jinping pulled out all the stops. The military parade was China’s biggest ever, with new, supersonic unmanned drones and nuclear missiles proudly on display. The message was loud and clear: as Xi himself said, “no force can shake the status of this great nation”.

The Sunday 8 September protest threatens to lead the movement in Hong Kong in a reactionary, openly pro-US imperialist direction. This is extremely dangerous for the movement and must be firmly and unequivocally rejected.

The mass movement in Hong Kong has just won its key demand – the withdrawal of the hated extradition bill that would allow anyone the Beijing government suspects of criminality to be extradited to the mainland. But none of the other four demands, such as for an independent investigation into police brutality, have been won.

Stock markets have experienced a roller-coaster ride over the past two months, as Trump’s erratic trade policy has brought the world economy to the brink of recession. In the latest move, Trump yet again partially postponed the introduction of new tariffs, which he announced two weeks ago. This temporary reprieve will do little to solve the conflict.

Hong Kong’s earthshaking protest movement is entering its second month. Despite increasing pressure from Beijing and the Carrie Lam government, the movement still grows in militancy. It is graduating from bourgeois liberal methods towards the method of class struggle. In many ways, when Carrie Lam emerged from days of obscurity to respond to the general strike, she was right to say that the Hong Kong movement is heading towards a “path of no return.”