Hong Kong women’s march against sexism and racism
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”
Socialist Action reporters
Over 70 attended the Socialist Action (CWI) candle-lit demonstration in Hong Kong for International Women’s Day, 8 March. Protesters squeezed behind police barriers at Hong Kong’s US consulate to shout slogans against Donald Trump and his right wing sexist and racist agenda. Also to show solidarity with the global women’s strike and protests.
“Feminists are silenced and arrested in China,” said Sally Tang Mei-ching of Socialist Action. “They are banned by the dictatorship from making blog posts in support of the international women’s strike and new global movement of radical women’s struggle, so we must be their voice,” she said. Pointing to the Russian Revolution in 1917, she said, “The Chinese dictatorship is right to fear the voice of women – because on this day 100 years ago the women of Russia went on strike against the world’s then most bloodthirsty dictatorship, of Tsar Nicholas, and a week later he was overthrown by revolution.”
Women from several nationalities – China, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong and the US – were present in the protest with refugees making up by far the biggest group. In a powerful speech, Mira, a refugee from Indonesia and a member of Socialist Action, spoke about her own experience of violence against women. “Rape and abuse within the family is a big problem in Indonesia as in many other countries,” she said. “But many women don’t speak out because they are afraid the authorities won’t take the woman’s side and they could lose custody of their children.” She cited a recent UN report that 1 in 3 women in the world have suffered sexual or physical violence. “We need a united movement to fight against this system,” said Mira.
Among the refugee women in Hong Kong many have suffered rape, sexual abuse and violence, but the Hong Kong government is deaf to their plight and oversees one of the lowest approval rates for asylum applications anywhere in the world. It is also part of the trend of capitalist governments attacking refugees as “criminals” and “illegal immigrants” to whip up racism as a way to attack the working class as a whole.
Donald Trump’s latest ban on Muslims and all refugee arrivals in the US was condemned by speakers. Chants of, “No ban, no wall, Donald Trump has got to fall,” echoed around the consulate building. One speaker pointed out that 78 percent of Syrian refugees, who will be banned from entering the US next week under Trump’s latest executive order, are women and children – “terrorists” according to him.
The demonstration also demanded equal pay for women and a universal pension system financed by taxing the rich. Several media organisations including Al Jazeera covered the protest.
“Today, International Women’s Day, we go to the streets – not to go shopping or organise dinners and ceremonies. We want a new fighting feminism against the rule of the undemocratic billionaire 1 percent,” said Sally Tang Mei-ching.