Despite the junta’s nationalistic rhetoric, the deportation of Joshua Wong has sparked debate over Thailand’s sovereignty and foreign policy as the regime appears increasingly eager to please Beijing.
Three prominent universities in Thailand will host commemorative events for the 6 October Massacre to remind society about the culture of impunity, political violence and the role of student activists in Thai politics. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Thailand’s 1976 massacre, also known as the 6 October.
Since 1991, 101 Thai citizens have been subjected to enforced disappearance. This has motivated a drive to draft a law against enforced disappearance to make accountable state officials and their supervisors if they are aware of the offence, to prohibit defamation prosecutions against complainants and to ensure that every minute is counted. Academics are concerned that the bill will be dropped or distorted and noted that Article 44 of the Interim Constitution alone can override any law against enforced disappearance because of its supra-constitutional power.
Thai soap operas play a crucial social role in constructing political ideas of nationalism, Buddhism and morality. This mechanism, however, is not a stagnant process. The recent airing of a nationalistic soap has shown how Thai soaps adapt to changing political contexts.
Students from Chulalongkorn University have organised an event commemorating 6 October, viewing the 40th anniversary of the massacre as also inaugurating a new generation of student activists.
A physical theatre piece marking the 40th anniversary of 6 October has opened in Bangkok, exploring the mob mentality that sustained the event’s violence.
Human rights advocates have attributed the junta’s recent order to cease trials of national security crimes in military courts to international pressure and the incapacity of military courts themselves, rather than the junta’s commitment to human rights. NCPO Head Order No.
A medical expert has revealed that Thailand could become a medical marijuana hub in the region if the drug is decriminalized.
The recent disrobing of Venerable Sermsak Thammasaro or “Monk Ti” for his dwarfism has spurred discussion about Thai Buddhism and discrimination. According to liberal Buddhist monk Venerable Phramaha Paiwan Warawunno, Monk Ti was disrobed because ordination of the disabled is against the Buddhist Vinaya. According to well-known religious scholar Surapot Thaweesak, Thai Buddhism tends to rule in favour of the clergy, and under the power of the Sangha Supreme Council (SSC), does not allow other parties to pass judgement on cases or issues that crop up.
To amend woes in the new constitution, the Thai junta premier has once again enacted absolute power to issue an order aimed at patronising and protecting Buddhism and other faiths. However, experts warn the order could be used by the authorities as a license to suppress rights and liberty.