China

China: A labour movement in the making

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Chinese workers are on the move, often provoked by unpaid wages, long hours and rotten, dangerous working conditions. Simon Gilbert looks at whether there is potential for the host of seperate disputes to coalesce into a national workers’ movement, with enormous power.

Behind China’s much vaunted economic miracle lies a tale of exploitation and resistance. The wealth of the country’s new billionaires was created by the labour of millions of migrant workers, working exhaustingly long hours for little pay, if they ever got paid at all, in some of the most dangerous conditions in the world. But the bosses, including those of the multinational corporations who often reap the biggest profits, haven’t had it all their own way. In the face of government repression workers have learnt to organise and fight for their rights.

Focus on China: The East is green?

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Martin Empson examines the contradictions behind the green rhetoric of the Chinese government and its continued reliance on fossil fuels.

China’s rapid economic expansion is based on massive state investment, low pay and manufacturing for export to the Western economies at the same time as the promotion of domestic consumerism. Global competition for resources and markets means China must continue this economic model. But this brings with it the risk of war, economic crisis and the threat of workers fighting for an increased share of the enormous wealth being generated. But it is also driving environmental disaster on a local and international scale.

China, the US and imperialism

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In the first in a new series, Adrian Budd examines the changing power balance between China, the US and regional competitors — and how this fits with the Marxist theory of imperialism.

The nuclear stand-off between the US and North Korea focused eyes on Asia in 2017. Despite their differences, including over sanctions, the US and China have cooperated over North Korea’s nuclear programme and have a common interest in attempting the impossible of stabilising global capitalism. But they also have rival interests and China’s rise is the key long-term issue facing US power.

US-North Korea standoff adds to instability

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North Korea’s latest ballistic missile tests prompted US president Donald Trump to respond with threats of “fire and fury”. The heightened state of tension in the Korean peninsula is unlikely to lead to an immediate war. However, it is certain to add to the instability in the region, at the root of which lies growing rivalry and bickering among imperialist powers.

China on Strike

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Anyone who is feeling a little demoralised and frustrated by the lack of strikes in the UK should add this book to their Christmas list, and then make sure they take some time out to read it.

Everyone knows about the booming Chinese economy, and many people know about the horrendous working conditions of those who have migrated from the countryside to the cities. There are two responses to alienating working conditions. One is the individual response which at best is walking out and at worst committing suicide.

Stock crash shows up sham recovery

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The world’s stock markets were once more in turmoil as Socialist Review went to press.

The immediate trigger appears to have been the sharp downturn in Chinese share prices since July.

This, in and of itself, is a big problem for the Chinese authorities. As well as seeking to contain growing struggles by workers, they have encouraged so-called “middle class” Chinese to invest their savings in the stock market.

Imperialism and the new wars in the Middle East

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The decline of US imperialism in the Middle East is fuelling rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Simon Assaf looks at the region as it plunges deeper into violence and uncertainty.

In the heady days of the Arab Spring revolutions, tens of millions of people took to the streets in vast movements for change that raised the possibility of a deep transformation of the region. The retreat of these revolutions has been marked by a return of repression and the unleashing of horrific sectarianism.

Citizens and socialists in Hong Kong

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We revisit Hong Kong-based socialist Au Loong Yu to talk about the dangers and opportunities that have emerged from Occupy Central.

What is the state of the Occupy Central movement now?

Many people want to continue the movement but some of the pan-Democratic parties [those who support democratic reform] don’t know what to do practically. The biggest issue is the passing of the bill implementing Beijing’s favoured system of electing Hong Kong’s government.

Instability and crisis in China

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Despite its meteoric growth rates, China may not be the economic juggernaut the Western media portrays. Jane Hardy uncovers the structural tensions and the workers' movements challenging the global superpower.

According to the International Monetary Fund the US has been knocked off top spot in the global economy and replaced by China. This further heightens the hype about China. But a recent book by Matthew Crabbe, Myth Busting China’s Numbers, is critical of some of the statistics. If you take spending power per head, for example, the picture is very different.

Victory in defeat for Hong Kong movement

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Hong Kong’s Occupy movement inspired vast numbers of young people to take action in opposition to China’s plans to limit previously promised democratic reforms. While Hong Kong citizens would have the right to elect their Chief Executive for the first time, they would have to choose from a handful of pre-approved candidates. After months of inspiring protests in the face of police repression the organisers called off the street occupations, after which the student leaders have come under heavy criticism from some sections of the movement. In a follow up to his article in November’s Socialist Review, Hong Kong: Spontaneity and the Mass Movement, revolutionary socialist Au Loong Yu defends the student leaders and sets out the lessons of the movement.

The Umbrella Movement has not met its objective to force the government of China to withdraw its resolution on political reform in Hong Kong. Some people have ridiculed the students for imposing limits on the movement and accuse them of deliberately refusing to escalate the actions that could have delivered a victory.

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