Opinion: Welcome to the Thailand special administrative region

This past week Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha praised Chinese President-for-life Xi Jinping as a visionary while our Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai gave thanks to the gods of diplomacy that Thailand was not invited to the United States forum on democracy.

Don said he was glad we were not invited to Joe Biden’s Democratic round table because it saved the government from deciding whether or not to go. Such decisions, he said, could be a double-edged sword.

Oh guided democracy, how I love thee.

No longer democratic

For all our government’s lip service about wanting to transition to democracy, the two statements by our leaders this week should push aside any qualms that we might have over the state of our government.

Our leaders have made it perfectly clear, through their statements, that Thailand should no longer be considered a democratic state or even a semi-democratic one.

Hold on one second, let me call Freedom House.

To make matters worse, a senior minister in the cabinet this week said that he plans to lead a government campaign to oust Amnesty International out of the country. That’s right, the same Amnesty that currently operates in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Ukraine is being driven out of [squints: check notes)…Thailand.

What is their crime? The audacity to call for humane treatments for political prisoners, to call for the right of expression, and to call for access to bail for detained protesters.

Hell, in my humble opinion, Amnesty aren’t even going far enough. Detained leaders in Thailand should be labeled prisoners of conscience by the group but they have stopped short because they didn’t want to push the line too far or ruffle any feathers.

Well, a lot of good that did.

Now they’re being run out of town. You know where else that happened? Hong Kong and Beijing. Our government can only be so inspired.

So what the hell kind of political system are we?

So for political observers scratching their heads and wondering what kind of political system currently runs Thailand, I have a suggestion to make.

Stop calling my country a guided democracy or semi-democratic state or run by a system of despotic paternalism. None of those actually hit the nail on the head.

My suggestion is call Thailand for what it is. In light of Prayut and Don’s statements this week, just call Thailand the new special administrative region.

After all our leaders are beholden to Chinese capital and good will, our companies court Beijing’s influence, our tourism industry is held hostage by Chinese tourism money, and our biggest conglomeration is run by the same man who was the first foreigner to invest in the People’s Republic. [Read more here]

So as Thailand sails off into the sunset onboard a Chinese submarine, counting our Yuan in one hand and eating our moon cakes in the other hand, let us give thanks to the current government.

Thank them for not only guiding our country away from the ills of western democracy but being so inspired by Xi Jinping and the Chinese political system that we have adopted it whole sale.

Workers of the world unite and buy Evergrande stock!


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