« | Home | »

Lèse Majesté

Tags:

Over the past two years, royalists in Thailand have filed hundreds of charges of lèse majesté against their political opponents. As many as 100,00 websites have been banned for insulting the king and the royal family. The country, once hailed as a beacon of democracy for the region, is now ranked 153 out of 178 in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, just above Belarus.

Last week, an American citizen was arrested and charged with insulting the monarchy. Lerpong Wichaikhammat, who was born in Thailand but has lived in the United States for at least thirty years and holds a US passport, posted a link on his blog – four years ago – to a critical biography of the king.

The arrest of an American citizen marks a dramatic ratcheting up of Thailand’s political crisis. Conservatives who used to be constrained by foreign criticism are now so worried about their political future that virtually nothing will hold them back. Meanwhile, the growing politicisation of the royal family may be having the opposite effect to the one intended, and actually be adding to republican sentiment, as poorer Thais who supported Thaksin increasingly view the royal family and its circle as implacably wedded to elite political parties. Thailand appears headed for a political catastrophe that could make last May look like nothing.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • Charles Turner on England, Secede!: The arguments for brexit were dominated by the alleged need to control immigration. Wouldn't there have to be a serious physical border - a fence - b...
    • Locus on England, Secede!: People in Ireland really hate it when people from Britain (or Jersey, I guess) use the term "Eire." They think it sounds outdated, inaccurate and cond...
    • bggilmore on Cleveland, Day Two: I cruised through Atlantic City, New Jersey recently. Trump has some dead casinos there. He doesn't own them and yet his name is still on the building...
    • Timothy Rogers on Cleveland, Day Three: The question isn't her lying (she's an amateur compared to Trump on this front), but whether or not she's more suitable (and less dangerous) than Trum...
    • Mickstick on Yes, it was Blair’s fault: I attended a dinner at the National Gallery, Washington DC in February 2003. I was placed next to Tony Brenton, at that point the acting British Amba...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement