Hong KongThe Korean farmers and workers have made a lasting impression on the population of Hong Kong during the anti-WTO protests of the last week, teaching them new methods of struggle.
This is the real reason why Hong Kong’s unelected government didn’t want the Koreans to come.
Thousands of locals cheered on the Korean protesters despite an incessant media campaign portraying them as ’troublemakers’. Lee In-sai from the Korean Advanced Farmers Federation said that many locals gave them food, money and drinks, South China Morning Post reports today.
The Korean farmers and members of the KCTU union federation handed out leaflets to the Hong Kong population explaining why they had come to fight against the WTO. In their broadsheet ’No to WTO’ they state that Korean peasants have been pushed to the brink. In the month of November 2005 alone four farmers committed suicide or were killed by police repression.
"Whether it be Cargill or Monsanto, with transnational grain corporations expansion into new markets, rights to land, water, and seeds are taken away," they explain. "Capital has come up against a profit crisis; the strategy to overcome this crisis has been to bolster its profits from financial speculation and not from production. Thus neoliberal globalization aims to broaden the business areas for finance capital." [’No to WTO’, distributed by Korean farmers’ organsisations in Hong Kong].
Widening income gap
"Since 2004 under the pressure of the transnational grain corporations and the USA government, Korea has had to participate in negotiations over the opening of the domestic rice market despite the enormous damage this would cause to the agricultural sector. The ranks of peasants have shrunk from 10 million in 1994 to 3.5 million and farm debt exceeds 27 million won (about US$ 27,000) per farming household. The income gap between urban and farm households increased to 76.5 percent in 2003 from 95.1 percent in 1995 when the WTO system was launched. The WTO is behind these events to pave the way for food occupation by transnational grain corporations and dispossession of food sovereignty."
Our struggles against the Hong Kong WTO ministerial are those that are not only against transnational corporations and the WTO who are together playing the role of global constitution but also are a voice of dissent against our own government who is actively participating in the negotiations." [’No to WTO’]
Chinaworker.org interviewed the Korean farmer Il Houn Ponk from the Korean Peasants League on why he is protesting against the WTO:
"I’m here to struggle against WTO, to knock down WTO! I’m a farmer, and the WTO makes farmers poor. The WTO divides humans into two categories: rich and poor. The rich become richer and the poor becomes poorer. Instead of the WTO we need a new policy that makes everybody fair and equal," says Il Houn Ponk.
To read more about the Korean Struggle Mission, go to www.antiwto.org