Kong Yee Sai Mau! Junk WTO!!

AISA leader and JNU Students Union President Mona Das participated in the protest activities of Asian Students Association (ASA) at Hong Kong during the WTO Ministerial. Mona Das reports on the mood of protest at Hong Kong.

Hong Kong , the venue for the 6 th Ministerial meeting of WTO, also witnessed congregation of thousands of protestors from across the globe. When rulers of the world met in the Convention and Exhibition Centre to decide upon the modalities of “free trade”, a few meters from them across the harbour thousands of protestors were determined to derail any agreement which would push millions in the developing world towards extinction. Farmers, workers, women, students, youth, indigeneous people all were united in their protest against US and EU dictated terms of globalization. One of the main agendas of this round of ministerial meeting was to sign Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). Thousands of farmers staged militant protests because the AoA is biased in favour of capital-intensive and corporate agribusiness-driven agriculture. There were farmers from Korea , Japan , Thailand , Indonesia , Philippines , Latin America , Africa , India . For the developing world WTO means death and devastation as it threatens the livelihood of the vast masses of the small and marginal farmers. The struggle of farmers from developed countries like Korea and Japan is to protect their small sized family farms against the onslaught of Transnational Corporations. Students under the banner of ASA marching against WTO in Hong Kong

Students in one voice rejected commercialisation of education. One the main slogans of the anti-WTO protest was “Education out of GATS!”. Commercialisation of education all across the developing world has meant thousands of students being pushed out of the education system. Asian Students’ Association, a student youth platform in the Asia Pacific was a part of Hong Kong People’s Alliance against WTO and Imperialist Globalization. ASA held a Students’ Conference on Education and Globalisation.

Water cannons, tear gas, pepper spray was being used by the police at the drop of a hat. On the 17 th December more than a thousand protestors were cordoned by the police and the para-military and illegaly detained for more than 9 hours in the open on a cold winter night without food and water. They were arrested one by one only at 4a.m.on Dec. 18 th . We students, migrant workers, women decided to express our solidarity with the protesting farmers being tortured by the police and para-military. We marched on the streets of Hong Kong on the 17 th night with food and water for the farmers detained at the loading docks. We appealed to the common people on the streets in the Causeway Bay shopping area for their solidarity with the anti-WTO protestors. Our numbers swelled with common people from Hong Kong- the hub of capitalism and one of the beneficiaries of globalisation. However the para-military immediately responded by forcibly stopping our march on gunpoint. The corporate media of Hong Kong from the day one was all out to demonise the protestors. The newspapers next morning reported the protest as

“ Battle of Wanchai”. Yes! The protestors did wage a battle against WTO, people’s battle over profit.