China

Beijing clamps down on Hong Kong

China's National People’s Congress decided on 28 May to introduce a National Security Law in Hong Kong. It represents the most direct change of governance on Hong Kong, imposed by the People’s Republic of China, without any discussion with Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.

Forced labour

A giant Chinese company, BYD, known for employing Ugyhur forced labour has converted one of its factories into the world’s biggest respirator-mask factory, and has won big contracts in California. The BYD subsidiary which runs that factory is registered in the British Virgin Islands tax-haven. We want industry requisitioned to produce PPE — with union labour on union conditions! • More here

Testing: learn from Korea and Taiwan

Some trade-unionists have suggested swab-testing of all workers in each workplace before a return to work. The Tory government’s focus on the crude total of test numbers as the big thing has boosted this idea. Full isolation pay for those with symptoms, or identified as contacts of virus-sufferers, and social distancing plus PPE where necessary in the workplace, will help much more. So will regular (instant-result) temperature checks, widely used and effective (so far as we can tell) in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. More testing is surely needed for a “tracking and tracing” policy. When...

Karl Marx and Uyghur solidarity

On Tuesday 5 May the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign will coordinate a second wave of online protests against high-street companies whose suppliers used forced Uyghur labour in China. For those who don’t know, the Uyghurs are an ethnic group whose nation, East Turkestan, is held under Chinese control and ruled as ‘Xinjiang’ province (literally ‘New Frontier’). Last time the target of the protests was Apple – this time, Gap. 5 May is Karl Marx’s birthday (he would have been 202). If Marx was still around he would certainly have supported the Uyghur solidarity movement, for at least five reasons. 1....

The labour movement and easing the lockdown

Starting with Austria reopening small shops on 14 April, almost all European countries have now begun easing their pandemic lockdowns, or announced plans to do so (Italy from 4 May, France from 11 May). Iran has reopened the bazaar in Tehran. Schools have restarted in Beijing and Shanghai. The World Health Organisation, however, has declared that “the worst is yet to come”. Its worry is not so much about a second wave in Europe, as first waves elsewhere. Africa so far shows 1,428 deaths, far fewer than Europe or the USA, and concentrated in Algeria and Egypt (over half that total between them)...

Hong Kong arrests

On 18 April, Hong Kong police arrested 15 pro-democracy figures on suspicion of organising and participating in unauthorised marches on 18 August 18, 1 October, or 20 October. Police have said the 15 are due to appear before magistrates on 18 May.

Coronavirus, China and the blame game

Anti-Chinese xenophobia has tainted some responses to the pandemic Amidst the pandemic crisis, we have seen propaganda efforts by states, politicians and press to promote their own image and scapegoat others. The Chinese government and its press and supporters boast that they are leading the world against the virus. Other governments, especially in the UK and US, are deflecting blame for their own shortcomings onto China. The Chinese state’s censorship and brittle authoritarianism do appear to have obstructed good handling of the outbreak, especially in the crucial early stages - for instance,...

Big brands profit from Uyghur forced labour

Uyghur Solidarity Campaign protesters invaded flagship Oxford Street stores on 5 March, demanding that global corporations – including Nike, H&M and Microsoft – cut ties with factories using Chinese-state-directed ethnic forced labour programmes. Workers’ Liberty activists have played a central role in building UK labour movement solidarity with the Uyghur people and other Turkic minorities in the north-western Xinjiang province (known to the Uyghurs as East Turkestan). The Chinese state has targeted them with brutal, industrial-scale persecution: it has locked more than a million in...

Hong Kong: “Resist tyranny, join a union”

A notable feature so far of the eight-month political protest in Hong Kong has been the absence of industrial action. However, the five day strike by health workers at the start of February promises to dramatically change that perception. The strike was not about wages or job cuts. At first glance it appeared to be xenophobic, as its main demand was shutting Hong Kong’s borders with China to keep out carriers of the new coronavirus from the mainland. Strikers however saw themselves as trying to protect their working conditions and to save Hong Kong and its under-resourced health service from...

“The system will track your death”

Would coronavirus demonstrate the superiority of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" when it comes to dealing with a major crisis? The Morning Star (and Communist Party of Britain) certainly thought so in late January/early February. And for a while it looked as though they might have a point. In a piece entitled "The Planned economy vs the coronavirus" (30 Jan, republished from the US Stalinist paper People’s World ), C J Atkins noted: “The World Health Organisation is praising the Chinese government’s quick response to the crisis… The scale of that commitment is now ramping up in a...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.