More of the same I

6 12 2016

There’s a report on Vajiralongkorn’s Thailand in the Chinese Global Times, attributed to Xinhua. It begins:

Thailand’s Crown Prince … Vajiralongorn formally ascended the throne on Thursday and made his first royal decree to reappoint Prem Tinsulanonda as head of Privy Council within 24 hours after the ascension, both of which reassured those who worry that the country would be thrown into uncertainties and instability.

On Prem it states:

Observers say the reappointment of Prem indicates the new king’s reluctance to make political changes and his determination to maintain the late king’s legacy to stablize the country and to keep everything normal.

There’s considerable inaccuracies regarding Prem’s own history, but stays true to a palace narrative.

Then it’s added:

Some said that the appointment of a new Privy Council will give observers a better indication of how actively King Vajiralongkorn intends to reign as well as to reshuffle the country’s political center.

He’s done that, appointing a Privy Council full of mainly military men who have been associated with the 2006 and 2014 royalist coups. The prescient suggestion was that joining hands with the military would “ensure stability.” The report observes:

The military has long been loyal to the king, sticking with the crown through six decades and eight putsches. The alliance between military and monarchy dates back to 1957-1958, when twin coups eviscerated the country’s young democracy, and they have since dominated the nation together.

The next step in embedding the new reign and the military dictatorship is that “the new king will sign the junta-backed draft constitution to promulgate it…”. As the report states, “[k]ey elements of the new constitution will entrench military control.”

Remarkably, this account of increasing military control is then moderated by quotes from an obedient commentator, Chulalongkorn University’s Thitinan Pongsudhirak. His language is both tepid and pro-junta. He says: “The military is putting in mechanism to be empowered for some time, certainly, there will be military supervision over Thai politics…”. At best, that’s a remarkable understatement of the junta’s intent. At worst, it is a misrepresentation.

The new reign is going to look much like the repressive post-2014 dictatorship: repression, censorship, more lese majeste cases and increased palace propaganda, whitewashing everything royal and military.


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7 12 2016
More of the same I — Political Prisoners in Thailand – Thai People for Republic

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