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In mid-October of 2011, as the Occupy movement was springing up in more than eighty countries around the world, a crowd of protesters gathered in the public atrium of the HSBC headquarters on 1 Queen’s Road, in the Central district of Hong Kong. They put up anti-capitalist banners and began an occupation of the building. A core group of eight to twenty people ended up living there, forming an autonomous collective; the bank building, they quipped, had excellent feng shui.
Villagers in southwest China have vowed to “fight to the death" after a long-running land dispute erupted into violence that left eight people dead and at least 18 injured. Hundreds of police were surrounding Fuyou village in Yunnan province on Thursday morning in the wake of pitched battles between local farmers and hundreds of unidentified men who launched a Tuesday afternoon assault on the community.
Villagers stand behind shields taken from police injured during clashes at Fuyou village
Itinerant shoppers pose for selfies as the skyline of the finance district across the bay bursts into a kaleidoscope of green and yellow lights. Below them, the waters of Victoria Harbor stir quietly, foreboding a typhoon. Despite the churning water, the nearby cruise ship hardly seems to move. It is docked to the pier at Tsim Sha Tsui, its gangplank descending into one of the most luxurious shopping malls in East Asia, a convenience allowing wealthy visitors from all across the world the ability to disembark from one climate-controlled environment to another without ever leaving the safety of AC and well-trained security. Once off the ship, they can spend money tax-free at the city’s most fashionable restaurants and retail outlets, eating Japanese BBQ and then gliding over polished floors to browse retro British outfits at a boutique marketing 20s-style colonial chic.
Last week at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, a crowd gathered around a replica of the statue Goddess of Democracy, a key symbol of the 1989 student occupation of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Beneath hand-lettered banners calling on fellow students to “shoulder their historic mission,” several generations of student union presidents discussed a proposal to boycott classes, a measure adopted by a federation of Hong Kong students over the weekend and slated to begin on September 22. The student boycott supports a wider democracy movement; as a leaflet circulating yesterday (September 10) explained, it is a “prelude to a student civil disobedience move…that will lead various social groups to their own civil disobedience movement, together opposing unjust political power.”
China Labour Bulletin, a workers’ rights group in Hong Kong, has documented 235 incidents of strikes or worker protests in the second quarter of 2014. This represents a 49 per cent hike over the same period last year, and 180 per cent more than in the same period in 2012.
The wave of strikes in China's industrial heart lands continues. This is an example of a strike in Shanghai. As often, the Chinese state and capital tried to repress the strike with force, but also started negotiations to get the situation under control.
A new report on China’s labor movement, covering about 1,170 strikes and other labor actions from mid-2011 through 2013, illuminates how what is arguably the world’s biggest proletariat is growing more agitated and polarized.
Villagers in southwestern China infuriated by a factory that was polluting the environment smashed its offices and equipment, and later clashed with police, underscoring the potential for such concerns to trigger violent unrest.
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK)–North Korea. The very mention of the country’s name and a blizzard of buzzwords are released: Cult of Personality, Mass starvation, Nuclear-armed, Thought Control, Defectors and Reverse-defectors. A land completely closed to the outside world? Since the 1960s, a small but steady stream of foreign delegations, diplomats, NGO representatives, and regular tourists have been permitted to visit North Korea, albeit under tightly controlled conditions with official minders watching every move and word.
Thousands of construction workers building a Samsung's factory in Vietnam's northern Thai Nguyen province clashed with security guards on Thursday, leaving 13 people injured, four critically. Between 3-4,000 of the 10,000 workers building the factory went on the rampage, burning containers used by security forces and destroying cars and motorcycles after security guards beat a worker unconscious.