Beginning in 2020, the virtual #MilkTeaAlliance movement brought together a transnational group of citizens across the Asia-Pacific that were critical of censorship and nationalism. While the decentralized movement is limited by its lack of cohesion, it has become a force to be reckoned with, gaining the attention and ire of the Chinese government.
With Thailand’s national elections planned for early 2023, the mood among the opposition and even members of the pro-military ruling coalition is increasingly sour. This growing anger, focused on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, is setting the stage for political chaos in the coming months, and possibly a problematic election next year.
Myanmar’s return to the position of international pariah has created a new opening for Beijing. By moving in where the West, reeling from the junta’s shocking human rights abuses, has been reluctant to step in, Beijing hopes to boost China’s regional influence and secure access to vital natural resources.