AsiaPundit has been accused of having too much of a China focus since all co-pundits were sacked last year. This is a scurrilous accusation that we deny. Our analytics show that this site has a strong regular readership among Asian states outside of the Middle Kingdom. That would not be the case if this were solely a China-oriented site.
However, we were alerted to some great news for our Chinese readership this morning – for the Kingdom of Thailand. This will certainly lower airfares just ahead of China’s week-long Autumn Festival/National Day holiday. It may also free up seats as some of those who have already booked seats will certainly cancel.
However, this isn’t all good news. As from shows there is still something incredibly unappealing on the streets of Bangkok.
That’s right, it’s raining.
As well, amid the euphoria about the inevitable seat sales, we should also pause for a moment to consider the shattering of democracy in a Southeast Asian state that has a lively press and civil society. AsiaPundit does not generally advocate boycotts. However — given that AP have volunteered to work in the Shanghai office over the holidays — this site is recommending that potential travelers avoid the country until an elected leader is returned to power and all restrictions on domestic media are lifted.
Instead, try visiting neighboring press-repressing dictatorships in Laos, Vietnam or even Singapore.
Austin was also live blogging the coup at his site. Global Voices has other links. For background on the political situation in Thailand ahead of the coup, the Far Eastern Economic Review’s Colum Murphy has one of the better summaries. Written ahead of the coup, but for this month’s issue, the following line stands out:
To be sure, a military intervention to oust Mr. Thaksin is always a possibility, although some—but not all—analysts agree that this seems unlikely at this point. Those with less sanguine views predict that there will be no compromise between the two (the prime minister and king), and say that this game will produce only one winner and one loser. If this turns out to be the case, then the next weeks and months could see bloody confrontation on the streets of Bangkok and throughout the kingdom.
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