Asia Pacific

Vietnam 1975: A victory for all humanity!

Thirty-five years ago the monstrous US (and Australian) war against the people of Vietnam finally came to an end. On April 30, 1975, Vietnamese forces entered Saigon. There were memorable scenes — the Vietnamese tank smashing through the gates of the puppet presidential palace; people streaming to the roof of the US embassy to catch the last helicopters out of Saigon; helicopters being pushed overboard from US aircraft carriers off the coast to make way for more fleeing helicopters.

Indonesian workers demonstrate on May Day

Worker, student and non-government organisations commemorated May Day across Indonesia, taking up a range of themes. The rallies proceeded peacefully in most cities, but clashes and arrests were reported in Jakarta.

Thailand: a bloodbath and afterwards?

On May 19, the government of Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva finally launched an assault on the Red Shirt camp in the Bangkok neighbourhood of Rachaprasong. Television stations from around the world broadcast brutal images of assault tanks destroying the bamboo and tyre barricades and soldiers armed with rifles firing live ammunition at demonstrators. The disproportion between the images of war and the faces of the demonstrators, mostly peasants and urban workers, is striking.

Australian oil company bullies East Timor

The East Timorese government is refusing to accept a proposal by Australian-based exploration company Woodside Petroleum to develop the Greater Sunrise gas deposit in the Timor Sea with a huge floating processing plant. Despite heavy pressure from Woodside, with the backing of the Australian government, East Timor is adamant that the gas should be processed in East Timor.

Conference plans to increase solidarity with Cuba in the Asia-Pacific

“Defending Cuba today is the only way to keep alive the hopes and dreams of social justice”, states the final declaration of the Fifth Asia-Pacific Regional Conference for Solidarity with Cuba. A stepped-up campaign of support for revolutionary Cuba against imperialism was the central decision of the conference, held in the capital of Laos on March 19-20.

Indonesia's January 28 protest actions: political limitations and potential

From March 23 until May 3, Zely Ariane will be touring Australia, speaking at Direct Action forums, at universities, to trade union meetings and at other venues. Ariane is the National Spokesperson of the Committee for the Politics of the Poor-Peoples Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), one of Indonesia’s left-wing political parties. She is also active in the Indonesian Solidarity Alliance for Workers Struggle (GSPB) and the National Women’s Liberation Network (JNPM). She was interviewed for Direct Action by Max Lane.

Australian mining companies displace thousands of Indonesians

An Australian company has a significant but little-known role in the creation of the world’s largest mud volcano, located in the densely populated Sidoarjo district of Indonesia’s East Java province. The eruption began at 5am on May 28, 2006, when the mining company Lapindo Brantas took the decision to drill a bore hole to a depth of 2.8 kilometres without a protective steel casing. The subsequent eruption killed 13 people and has displaced more than 40,000 through the destruction of 13 villages.

Merak asylum seekers call for just solution to their plight

[For five months, 254 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers have refused to disembark the rickety cargo boat Jaya Lestari 5 which was towed into the Indonesian port Merak, after being intercepted by the Indonesian navy at the request of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. One pregnant woman onboard is due in early March. Her daughter has chicken pox and the rest of the 31 children on the boat are at risk of the disease. On February 12, the asylum seekers on the boat issued “A call for urgent action by the Indonesian and Australian governments”, which is reprinted below. The statement calls for a “just solution” for the stranded Tamil asylum seekers.]

Continued pressure on East Timor over natural gas

The East Timorese government is standing firm against pressure to sign a natural gas downstream processing deal for the Greater Sunrise field in the Timor Sea. Australian-based mining and exploration giant Woodside Petroleum, aided by the Northern Territory government, is pushing for the gas to be piped to and processed in Darwin, refusing to accept Dili’s preferred option of piping it to the southern coast of East Timor.

Burma's generals prepare rigged election

Burma’s military government, the so-called State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), is planning to hold elections some time in 2010, on yet-to-be-announced date. This follows approval of a new constitution amid chaos following the deadly Nargis cyclone in 2008. The SPDC has already done a great deal to ensure that the nationwide elections won’t change much in the way the country is run.