“The Germans don’t care, so we have to fight for ourselves” (德国人不管,我们自己奋斗吧)

“The Germans don’t care, so we have to fight for ourselves” (德国人不管,我们自己奋斗吧)

Reposted from Gongchao, 9 October 2017.  Also see this music video made by the temp workers in Changchun. — FAW-VW workers employed through temporary agencies in Changchun, northeastern China, have been involved in a struggle for equal pay since late 2016. FAW-VW was established in 1991 as a joint venture co-owned by the Chinese state enterprise FAW and German car makers Volkswagen (VW) and Audi. Apart from Changchun (Jilin), it runs factories in Chengdu (Sichuan), Dalian (Liaoning) and Foshan (Guangdong). It employs more than 50.000 workers and produces passenger cars and car components.1 Struggle of temporary workers at FAW-VW in Changchun The temporary workers – many of them working at FAW-VW for years – demand that the joint venture hires them as direct employees immediately, that it acknowledges how long they have worked there, and that they get compensated for the past unequal pay. They do the same work but earn roughly half of what workers directly employed by FAW-VW get (for example, 60,000 yuan vs. 120,000 annually) and don’t receive any of the latter’s benefits. In their statements, the temporary workers call this a breach of China’s Labor Contract Law, namely article 63 (equal pay for equal work) and article 66 (agency workers should just fill ‘provisional, auxiliary or substitutive positions’). Besides, some of the temporary agencies are directly linked to (and possibly owned by) FAW-VW, a breach of article 67 of the Labor Contract Law (companies are not permitted to establish their own temporary agencies to employ workers).2 On top of that, VW has even committed itself to equal pay in the “Charter on Temporary Work for the...
Three Theses on the Crisis in Rakhine

Three Theses on the Crisis in Rakhine

Image from "China backs Myanmar on Rohingya issue" Reposted from Tea Circle (September 27, 2017) By Soe Lin Aung By now, the main contours of the recent events in Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, are well-known. On August 25, an insurgent group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) (previously Harakah al-Yaqin) attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, eliciting a broad counterinsurgency response from the Myanmar military that has displaced over 400,000 Rohingya people into Bangladesh. As in previous cycles of violence, the Myanmar military, or Tatmadaw, has reportedly targeted civilians in its “clearance operations,” leading to allegations of killings, rape, and the burning of villages. The UN’s human rights body has referred to this latest outbreak of violence as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” The crisis in, and now, beyond, Rakhine is part of a much longer story of Rohingya oppression and persecution in Myanmar. This history has almost certainly contributed to the growth of the ARSA insurgency. In contrast to its own claims and those of the Myanmar government and media, ARSA comes across as a poor, small, and desperate movement, staging its attacks in a haphazard manner with homemade weapons like knives, swords, and sticks. The Myanmar government and Burmese media, however, have painted ARSA— and in many ways, Rohingya people more broadly— as part of global Islamist networks. In government communications, “extremist Bengali terrorists” is the favored term for the military’s current foe in Rakhine. Notably, the current crisis is unfolding under the government of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She is Myanmar’s long-time opposition leader, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The NLD swept into power in...
Drinking Tea with China’s ‘National Treasure’: Five Questions

Drinking Tea with China’s ‘National Treasure’: Five Questions

Translation and commentary by Peng X[1] — In this unusual transcript of a recent encounter between feminist activists and police in a southern Chinese city, we witness the state’s repressive tactics in operation alongside the humour and defiance of those questioned. This interview provides more background to the events examined in our article, “We should all be feminists?” The harassment of feminists analysed there as part of the Chinese state’s strategy of repression and recuperation is here seen in finer detail, as Public Security officers try to interrogate and force activists to leave Guangzhou. In an afterword to the interview we examine a few points raised in this dialogue. This interview was first posted on Xiao Meili’s Sina Weibo feed, where it was swiftly removed by authorities, and then reposted on various websites such as here. Xiao introduces the interview’s context below, and her narration of the scene is italicised throughout. The speakers in the dialogue are feminist activists Xiao Meili and Zhang Leilei (ZL) and Public Security officers “Wang” (W), “Xiao Shenyang” (XSY) and “Shen” (S).[2]   The Context: On the morning of May 17th, 2017, four people claiming to be from the police station (but we suspect to be from the Domestic Security Department)[3] came to the place where Zhang Leilei and I lived.  On June 22nd, 2017 the police again tried to contact us via third parties, by harassing our three friends, Da Tu, Guo Jing and Xiongzai, and intimidating their landlord into threatening to kick them out of their flat.  On the morning of June 27th, in another act of harassment, a number of police in a large truck again went to our friend’s...
Class Combat

Class Combat

Reposted from Ultra (August 4, 2017) — Imperium The empire had fallen long before it collapsed. Corrupt elites ruled from a distance. Industry fragmented in slow motion, plundered by the rich and slowly pieced apart by foreign competition. For common people, the possibility of any sort of stable life slowly faded. The future itself seemed to recede into an impenetrable darkness, thick with the sound of some as-yet-unseen chaos slouching toward the present. The gap between the dim light of everyday life and that rapidly approaching night was filled with bone-deep madness. Tradition rotted from the inside out. Opiates muted the misery of ever-expanding unemployment and unrest bloomed in its thousand forms. Religious sects arose across the heartland. On the coasts, overburdened, underfunded cities sprawled outward even as their cores were flooded with unprecedented wealth. Slums spiraled in a fractal pattern around glittering ports. Foreign powers pressed inward from a distance, the military overextended and inefficient. Weaker armies fought asymmetrical wars against the empire at its edges. Corrupt officials were assassinated in broad daylight. Militias grew in the rural areas, filled with young, futureless men hoping to push out the foreigners and make a great nation strong once again. In a way, this story describes every era of imperial decline, or maybe just the general environment of pervasive social collapse. In its specifics, it of course bears a remarkable resemblance to the current conditions of the United States—or maybe, at least, the conditions widely assumed to be impending. There is a truth to this resemblance, certainly. But the picture above is not an illustration of Trump’s America. It is...
“Study the crotch-kick & use it for self-defense against sexual harassment!”

“Study the crotch-kick & use it for self-defense against sexual harassment!”

Image from original Chinese article, reading: "The Dragon Spirit assigns you a mission: to exterminate the demon of capitalism The Wind Spirit grants you magical powers to destroy the ancient monster of patriarchy”1 A translation of “Set a modest goal for yourself: study the crotch-kick and aim it at those who harass women on public transit!” (定个小目标,学好撩阴腿,专踢公交狼) by Ma Xiaoling from the Women’s Weekly News column of WeiGongHui[1] (April 2017). Original Chinese below.  We’ve chosen to translate this for several reasons. Ever since the “Feminist Five” were held in criminal detention for 37 days in early 2015, sexual harassment on public transit has become a focal point for feminists and other activists in China. As discussed in Peng X’s article “‘We should all be feminists’? Repression, recuperation and China’s new women-only metro carriages,” last year feminists in Guangdong raised money and designed billboards to increase awareness of this problem, only to have the designs rejected repeatedly by transit authorities. Activists responded by carrying the billboards around with them in an “#iamawalkingbillboard” campaign, for which several have since been visited by police and even evicted from their homes. Meanwhile, the state has tacitly sought to address the widespread concern reflected in such activism by introducing “priority metro carriages for women” in two cities and women-only buses in another—although official media has explained that these are mainly intended for pregnant women and mothers. As one feminist put it sardonically, “their main concern is not for us but for our children, those still in our bellies or those we’ll have in the future.” Feminists have responded to the carriages in two ways...
“We should all be feminists”? Repression, recuperation and China’s new women-only metro carriages

“We should all be feminists”? Repression, recuperation and China’s new women-only metro carriages

What can Guangdong’s ‘priority carriages for women’ and concurrent repression of feminists tell us about the Chinese state’s strategies for dealing with social antagonism? by Peng X — Last week, on June 26 and 28, new signature pink-signed metro carriages were unveiled on select metro lines in the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou. In Guangzhou, the metro system moves over 7 million people every day. Highlighting the network’s congestion issues, on April 28 this year a record of over 9 million people rode the ten-line metro system. Mondays to Fridays between 7:30am-9:30am and 5pm-7pm, women will now be able to take refuge from wandering hands in designated ‘priority carriages for women’. Promoted as a progressive intervention into the issues of sexism and assault, it is also the subject of some controversy. The majority of media attention, however, has focused on men’s needs and general overcrowding on the metro, such that men too can travel in the ‘priority carriages for women’. Beyond this, the government’s explanation for the carriages has been couched in the view that women’s bodies, lives and safety only count in relation to childbearing. Its public statements have highlighted that the carriages are ideally for pregnant women and mothers with young children.[1] As Xinkuaibao stated, “the establishment of women’s carriages should not be understood in such narrow and vulgar terms as ‘the prevention of sexual harassment’”. This prompted the legitimately angry response that women “shouldn’t have been so ‘vulgar’ to assume that the women’s carriages were set up in order to express ‘concern for women’ and oppose sexual harassment — apparently their main concern is not...