Thursday, June 20, 2013

Back in the USA after travels to Hong Kong and Beijing: From dock workers & migrant workers to a whistle-blower seeking refuge

Just a quick note to say that I'm back in the USA now after travels in Hong Kong and Beijing over the past three weeks.

In Hong Kong I interviewed Lee Cheuk-yan, chair of the Hong Kong Labour Party, organizer of the giant June 4 pro-democracy rally in remembrance of the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing in 1989, and key player in the recent dock workers strike in Hong Kong. Lee Cheuk-yan is the top independent labor leader in Hong Kong.

I also met with migrant workers from the Philippines, activists on their behalf, and Geoffrey Crothall of the China Labour Bulletin, which monitors labor rights in China.

Later in Beijing, I traveled to Tiananmen Square as well as the neighboring Forbidden City and other sites in China's capital city.

It was all a rich experience, a good time to be in Asia. While I was in Hong Kong, of course, the story about whistle-blower Edward Snowden's leaked documents on U.S. cyber-surveillance of practically everyone broke wide open. Snowden was in Hong Kong himself, and the question was whether he would face extradition back to the United States.

How ironic that this story should break at a time when President Obama was meeting with Chinese President Li Jinping in California,  cyber-hacking being a key issue between the two nations.

Expect reports from this trip over the coming days as well as updates on ongoing stories here in the South and Global South, such as organizing efforts at the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., and Walmart's actions in the aftermath of the tragic Bangladesh factory fire.

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