China

Students organise Uyghur solidarity

Students in the Uyghur Solidarity Society at SOAS university in London are running a week of action (11-15 October), calling on students and workers to join in on their respective campuses. Awareness has been growing among young people especially through online activism. This week aims to turn that awareness into concrete action, to reach out to others in the university community, and carry out public protests to draw attention to and put pressure on those complicit in the genocide. On Monday 11 October, we held a stall outside campus with leaflets explaining our society’s analysis of the...

Hong Kong workers will rise again

The final conference of Hong Kong’s only independent trade union federation, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), was on 3 October. At a press conference following the HKCTU’s decision to disband, a prepared statement was read out by Vice-Chair Leo Tang, who was himself imprisoned a year ago. The statement expressed its confidence “that the workers’ power of resistance will not therefore fade away. Contradictions bring opposition. Exploitations lead to struggles… One may block the river, but without a way to channel the water, the only result would be a deadlier flood.” On...

Lessons for HK solidarity from 1 October

In Britain protests were held in many cities around the anniversary on 1 October of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. London and Nottingham showed very different ways of organising solidarity. In London, a coalition had been drawn together to organise the protest, including the left wing Labour Movement Solidarity with Hong Kong (LMSWHK) campaign. When the LMSWHK heard that right wing Tories, including Tory councillor Peter Golds from Tower Hamlets, were invited, they objected. Golds recently tweeted a picture of himself alongside a supporter of Anti-Communist Action, a...

Is Fairphone fair for workers?

If you own a smartphone, you’re almost certainly contributing to several big problems in the world. These include a negative environmental impact, the production of mountains of e-waste as perfectly good phones are thrown away, and of course the exploitation of workers in the supply chains, from the mines in the Congo to assembly lines in China. A decade-old Dutch company, Fairphone, has set out to change all this by producing an “ethical” smartphone. Last week they announced their latest — and by far their best — model, the Fairphone 4. Thousands of people participated in the online launch...

Oppose AUKUS: for workers’ solidarity against all our rulers

On 15 September, the Australian, UK and US governments announced AUKUS – a pact to share and jointly develop military technology, and to deepen military coordination in the so-called “Indo-Pacific” ocean region. Though this was officially unstated, and even tokenistically denied by Boris Johnson, the pact is universally understood as a move to counter and contain China. Submarines The most prominently-advertised of the pact’s initial actions will be to equip Australia with a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines – taking the place of a now-scrapped deal in which a French manufacturer was set to...

Hong Kong: silence is not an option

When the question of trade unions in China would come up, some of us were fond of saying that there is an independent, democratic trade union movement in the country. It is called the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. This is no longer true. In the last week, news has come out of a move by the HKCTU to disband. This is an enormous blow to the Chinese working class and to the international labour movement. It appears that the HKCTU is the latest victim of a Chinese government crackdown not only on the unions, but on all of civil society. The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, one of...

Beijing pushes HK revolt underground

Hong Kong’s Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) is being forced to disband in the face of a brutal offensive by the Chinese government. The HKCTU is the only body coordinating independent unions in Hong Kong. It has long supported universal suffrage against the rule of Hong Kong by the pro-CCP and tycoon-dominated Legislative Council and the Beijing-appointed Chief Executive. At its press conference on 13 September, the HKCTU announced that it was recommending disbandment to a general meeting of its affiliates on 3 October. Vice Chair Leo Tang, one of the three remaining Executive Committee...

Hong Kong: fear and defiance

The Hong Kong Alliance has refused to hand over data on its supporters to the HK police. Its only leader still at liberty, Chow Hang-tung, has been taken into custody. Along with Lee Cheuk Yan (chair of the Alliance, and already jailed) and Albert Ho, he has been charged with “incitement to subversion”. The HK Alliance is the organisation that organised the annual 4 June Tiananmen commemoration. Five weeks earlier, the teachers’ union HKPTU, similarly threatened with investigation on grounds of subversion, had dissolved itself. That HKPTU decision signalled to individual teachers that they...

A global fight for justice and freedom

This is the speech socialist activist Maxine Mallon (pictured above protesting at the Home Office against the Nationality and Borders Bill) gave recently about the democracy struggle in Hong Kong and its wider implications and connections.

Defend teachers and union rights in HK!

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has now opened up an attack on the very existence of independent trade unions in Hong Kong. On Saturday 31 July, the main Hong Kong teachers' union, the HKPTU, was accused by the Communist Party and Chinese state media (People’s Daily and Xinhua) of being a “malignant tumour” that needed to be “eradicated”. A couple of hours later, the Education Department of the Hong Kong government announced it had broken off all relations with the HKPTU, refusing to talk with them – in effect withdrawing recognition. On 10 August, after a series of retreats, the HKPTU...

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