China

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.

We've already won results

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Lam Chi Leung is a revolutionary socialist based in Hong Kong. He spoke to Sally Kincaid and Sally Campbell about the future of the Umbrella movement one month on.

Is the movement still going strong?
Today (28 October) marks exactly one month since the Umbrella movement broke out. The occupation of the streets continues, but the number of demonstrators has started to decrease from its peak of 200,000.

The People's Republic of Amnesia

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In the days and weeks leading up to the first week of June this year, Chinese internet censors were at their busiest, blocking any words or numbers which had any reference to 4 June 1989.

The attempt to wipe any discussion of the anniversary of Tiananmen does at times become surreal. Two years ago the censors tried to block references to the fact that the Shanghai stock exchange had fallen by 64.89 points because it sounded like 4 June 1989.

Exhibitions: Ai Weiwei in the Chapel

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Until 2 November

Some 25 years after the Tiananmen Square democracy protests, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is staging an exhibition by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. In his words, "Freedom of speech...is the very essence of human rights", and his work explores freedom and its restriction in capitalist societies.

The park is in the grounds of Bretton Hall, and this exhibition is showing in its newly restored 18th century chapel.

Taiwan: a people reborn

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A mass campaign has delayed moves to liberalise the island's economy in favour of Chinese capitalism. Socialist Review reports on the roots of the campaign and the challenges it faces.

On 18 March, in a direct challenge to the government of Taiwan, hundreds of activists stormed the main legislative chamber in the capital Taipai, the Legislative Yuan (the Taiwanese parliament). They were protesting at a trade agreement with the People's Republic of China (known as the Cross-strait Service Trade Agreement, or CSSTA).

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