Thai Protesters vs. King #89

Deepnews Digest #89

Thai Protesters vs. King

Editor: Christopher Brennan
Tens of thousands of protesters have spilled out into the streets of Bangkok as they demand reforms to the monarchy under King Maha Vajiralongkorn, thought to be the world’s richest royal and sometimes called the “playboy king.” While it may have been the subject of one article in your outlet of choice, I thought it was a good use of Deepnews.ai’s technology to bring together the most in-depth pieces in one place. Here is a Digest on the protests, the crackdown, and an unexpected connection to Europe. All found with the Deepnews Scoring Model.
Editor’s note
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Published every Thursday

Financial Times ($)

Thai king’s sojourn in Bavaria causes headache for Berlin

A 21st century approach to training new infantry and armor soldiers now includes an early understanding of the legacy they’ll carry and the kind of warfighter they’ll be 22 weeks later.

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South China Morning Post

As Thailand’s pro-democracy protesters rally, Wang Yi opens China’s arms to Prayuth’s embattled government

On visit to Bangkok, Wang Yi offers investment and economic support, including integrating the Eastern Economic Corridor with the Belt and Road

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Al Jazeera

Thailand’s lese majeste law: A weapon to silence dissent?

Since the 2014 coup, more than 90 people have been prosecuted under the lese majeste law and at least 43 of them have been sentenced.

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New York Times

Thailand’s royal family glimpses the people’s discontent as motorcade rolls by

Bangkok: The cream-coloured stretch Rolls-Royce limousine crawled past the angry crowds. The queen of Thailand smiled.

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The Atlantic

How Milk Tea Became an Anti-China Symbol

The Milk Tea Alliance is emblematic of the frustration many young people feel toward Beijing’s grating assertiveness in the region.

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Editor’s Note:

While this Digest focuses on Thailand, the youth involved in the protests are part of a culture that exists across borders. Here Timothy McLaughlin looks at milk tea as a symbol and the groups of activists across Asia. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Bloomberg

Thai leaders have no easy options to end anti-monarchy protests

But this time, the Thai establishment has a bigger problem: The student-led protest movement doesn’t want power for itself – it wants to fundamentally change a political system that has seen about 20 military coups since 1932.

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Asia Times

Monarchy in the middle of Thai emergency clampdown

BANGKOK – Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha declared a state of emergency early this morning to ban protests and sensitive news, a clampdown that will give ammunition to protestors baying for his military-aligned government’s ouster and monarchal reforms.

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Bangkok Post

Thai education reform is top priority

Of the myriad reforms that have been demanded by the ongoing student-led protests, Thailand’s deficient and outdated education system is second to none. Education reform has become a self-contained and separate agenda for change. Thai students across the country, particularly in high schools, have been awakened and angry at the fact that they have been kept in the dark and cloistered in a state-imposed mind bubble for so long. Unless it is answered, this awakening and anger is likely to galvanise more protests and point to broader changes that have been pent up for decades.

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Nikkei Asian Review

Thailand’s protesters converge on new venue as PM refuses to quit

As censorship increases, leaders call for daily demonstrations in defiance of decree

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Reuters

Germany says Thai king cannot rule from there

Germany’s foreign minister has said that Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn should not be conducting politics from the European country, where he spends much of his time.

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Editor’s Note:

As mentioned above, one of the interesting nuances is that King Vajiralongkorn spends much of his time in Germany. Here is a report on the reaction of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Anadolu

Thai premier has to open dialogue with public: Experts

Amnesty International says ban on gatherings, sharing information may create fear

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LA Times

The world’s richest king, his mysterious fortune and the protesters who want answers

The crown prince of Thailand’s third marriage unraveled in lurid headlines: The princess was stripped of her titles, her parents and brothers jailed over vague corruption allegations, her uncle purged from his senior police post.

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The Economist ($)

Thailand’s king seeks to bring back absolute monarchy

Maha Vajiralongkorn has provoked something new in Thailand: open criticism of a king

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Straits Times

Thai activists avoid clash on day of protest in Bangkok

The drama began in the wee hours of yesterday, when leaders of Thailand’s anti-government protests sent out urgent messages on Facebook and Twitter calling for demonstrators to gather in Bangkok at 8am instead of 2pm.

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CNN

Thailand’s unprecedented revolt pits the people against the King

Set apart from the frenetic bustle of one of Asia’s largest cities and nestled amid the manicured gardens of Bangkok’s Dusit Palace, the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall has served as the official home of Thailand’s monarch for more than a century. Its name translates to “royal seat in the sky” but the European-style residence is known as the Ambara Villa.

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Bangkok Post

Sluggish recovery

Assurance of a gradual economic recovery has been repeated by Thailand’s financial authorities using empirical evidence, but the reality on the ground reveals more pain in the near term.

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Editor’s Note:

Protests of course don’t occur in a vacuum. Here the local Bangkok Post provides useful background on the economic state of the country and the prospects for the future. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Foreign Policy ($)

Thai Protesters Defy New State of Emergency

After a confrontation with the royal motorcade, the government is cracking down.

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Financial Times ($)

The king’s money: Thailand divided over the $40bn question

For such a big change it was a very small announcement. An unscheduled communiqué published on its website on Saturday June 16 2018 revealed that Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau had transferred its entire portfolio — royal assets worth tens of billions of dollars held for more than 80 years on behalf of the monarchy and the nation — into the hands of the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

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The Diplomat

Thailand Imposes ‘Severe’ State of Emergency to Quash Pro-Democracy Protests

While the move will dampen public protests, it will do little to address the concerns that have pushed so many Thais into the streets.

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Bangkok Post

Loss of protest leaders ‘critical’

The anti-government rally on Wednesday reflects structural conflicts in society while the anti-government movement is expected to weaken now several protest leaders have been arrested, an academic said.

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