Milk Tea Alliance 4th year

April 13th is traditionally celebrated as Thailand’s New Year’s Eve and also marks the beginning of the vibrant festivities of the Songkran Water Festival. During this holiday period, Thais who work outside often visit their hometowns and reunite with their families. However, when travel restrictions were imposed in 2020, the digital realm buzzed with what would become the #MilkTeaAlliance viral hashtag (today’s X) on Twitter. While the memory of the Milk Tea Alliance may have faded for some, there has been a “war” on the Internet between Thai and Chinese netizens over controversial issues related to China’s sovereignty, especially the status of Hong Kong and Taiwan. ‘ broke out only four years ago. .

The alliance attracted attention among anti-government activists and dissidents in Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan, and represented a unique cross-border coalition between netizens on social media platforms. At the time, Hong Kong and Thailand were engaged in local mass movements, while Taiwan was struggling to gain international recognition of its sovereignty. However, as protests in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Myanmar, which later joined the Milk Tea Alliance discourse in the wake of the February 2021 military coup, subside and further political fallout unfolds, the Alliance’s popularity has since waned. It seems that it has decreased.

On April 4, 2020, a seemingly innocuous retweet by Thai celebrity Vachirawit Chivaari, also known as Bright, caused an uproar online. He liked a tweet containing a photo of Hong Kong and called it “Country.The retweet suddenly attracted online attention due to Bright’s wide fan base, causing an uproar online, especially among fans in China. Bright’s girlfriend, known online as Nnevvy, post It is claimed that the new coronavirus infection originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Furthermore, her comments on Instagram during her trip to Taiwan were interpreted by Chinese nationalist netizens as supporting Taiwan’s independence and disrespecting mainland Chinese people.

Instead of remaining passive as netizens elsewhere, particularly in Hong Kong and Taiwan, join the Thai side in fighting back against the Chinese nationalists, Thai netizens reiterated this. Soon after, the term “” appeared.milk tea alliance” was coined by a Hong Kong netizen in the early hours of April 13th, and was later instrumental in efforts to forge and strengthen cross-border contacts between activists and protesters in the region. .

Thanks to existing transnational networks among activists in the region, the alliance has transcended the digital realm and made its mark in the offline space. Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and Thailand have incorporated Milk Tea Alliance-related discourse into their domestic movements, leveraging its symbolism and messages to amplify their causes. When the Free Youth Movement began in Thailand in July 2020, Milk Tea His Alliance-related symbols and messages included: Concerns The influence and policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were featured in this movement. Moreover, cross-border solidarity movements under the banner of the League erupted elsewhere.

Moreover, when Myanmar’s Spring Revolution broke out against the military coup in February 2021, Milk Tea Alliance netizens quickly welcomed Myanmar as a new member state and launched several solidarity campaigns. The period between 2020 and 2021 can be described as the apex of the Milk Tea Alliance, as it received widespread public attention and was featured in several protests and campaigns. However, after important developments such as the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the decline of youth protests in Thailand, and the transition from peaceful protests to civil protests, its visibility has gradually declined. and disappeared from the media space and street politics. War in Myanmar.

Although the Milk Tea Alliance has faded from the spotlight and public consciousness, some dedicated activists continue to keep the flame alive. In Thailand, the movement’s birthplace, some activist groups are still working to advocate for an agenda related to the Milk Tea Alliance’s discourse.this is possible saw Original and translated books published by Sam Yan Press, a student-run publisher based in Bangkok. The media, which is dedicated to promoting democracy, justice, and human rights, continually publishes books that inform readers about issues related to the Milk Tea Alliance, such as China’s foreign policy and human rights issues.

Apart from publishing and raising political awareness, any activity associated with the Milk Tea Alliance still occurs primarily online. For example, the account “#MilkTeaAlliance Friends of Myanmar‘ on X is made up of activists from various ethnic backgrounds within Myanmar and activists from abroad, and continues to advocate for human rights issues in Myanmar and abroad. They have issued multiple statements, hold weekly online meetings, and occasionally meet in person to strengthen networking and cooperation among regional activist networks. Similarly, Milk Tea Alliance Group in other Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia,Malaysia, Philippinesand Thailand, and continues to advocate for democracy and the struggle for local causes. Furthermore, support for global human rights issues is growing, as exemplified by recent support for peace between Ukraine and Palestine.

But in Hong Kong, after the 2020 National Security Law came into force, the Milk Tea Alliance, and indeed anything related to political resistance or civil disobedience, has become largely absent. Meanwhile, the symbols and conversations of the Confederacy disappeared from the townspeople. Spaces, they arose in new places – Japan. Japan, which was not involved in the Milk Tea Alliance in its early stages, is also making a surprising attempt to establish a Milk Tea Alliance.Milk Tea Alliance – Japan”. Led by a group of individuals living in Japan from Japan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Thailand, this initiative aims to strengthen diaspora activities in Japan. Additionally, the Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association continues to support Milk Tea Alliance Project, by providing technical support and facilitating cooperation and communication between likely key hubs of the alliance, including Thailand and Hong Kong. Through these efforts, the association also aims to raise global awareness of Taiwan and promote democracy in the region.

Four years later, the alliance appears to have retreated from the public’s attention, with many activist groups dropping the term from their campaigning. This decline is especially noticeable in places like Hong Kong. Despite this decline in popularity, there are still dedicated groups that continue to operate and define themselves as part of the Milk Tea Alliance, and new countries such as Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia are seeing increased activity. You can see it. These movements have internalized alliances, fostering cross-border cooperation, and turning them into part of their activism efforts to support human rights and democracy in Asia. In other words, the alliance has changed from a broad hashtag and online movement to a more localized form of activity with a transnational character and symbols of transnational solidarity.

The Milk Tea Alliance provides a new perspective to observe and consider international relations in East and Southeast Asia from a bottom-up perspective. Unlike more common approaches that use the nation-state as the main level of analysis, this alliance emphasizes the importance of people-to-people connections in shaping regional and international politics. By leveraging the theme of public diplomacy, the Milk Tea Alliance serves to express public sentiment not only on China’s policies but also on broader issues such as nation branding and public diplomacy efforts.

Further reading on electronic international relations

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