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Thai Gov't Sets Up Site For Snitching On Royals' Critics 329

Posted by timothy
from the yes-yes-the-king-is-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a move that would make the old eastern German Stasi green with envy, the Thai government has modernized a system that allows citizens to snitch on fellow citizens. 'Internet users are being urged to show their loyalty to the king by contributing to a new website called protecttheking.net, which has been set up by a parliamentary committee. On the site's front page it is described as a means for Thai people to show their loyalty to the king by protecting him from what it calls misunderstandings about him. It calls on all citizens to inform on anyone suspected of insulting or criticising the monarchy.' An large unknown population of political prisoners are currently being held for 3 to 15 years in Thai prisons for being interpreted as insulting the monarchy."
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Thai Gov't Sets Up Site For Snitching On Royals' Critics

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  • by syousef (465911) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:52PM (#27471225) Journal

    Their government try to sell the country as a tourist destination. Well you know what, if I have tourist dollars to spend you can bet I won't be visiting a country where I can go to jail just for criticising someone.

  • by iYk6 (1425255) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:53PM (#27471243)

    I was thinking of writing in myself. Anonymously, of course.

    "I am here to report myself, who frequently claims that the king has inappropriate sexual relations with monkeys. My name is Anonymous."

  • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:02PM (#27471307) Homepage

    Either spam it full of garbage or some important people close to the king.

  • The Thai King (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:09PM (#27471373)
    The Thai King has very little real power but he yields immense moral authority and is very popular. Thailand is legally a constitutional monarchy but in reality the situation is much more complex. They are supposed to be run by an elected gov't (which is usually a little bit corrupt) but that rule is enforced by the military and about every 10-15 years, there is a military coup (often fairly or completely bloodless) that throws out an exceptionally corrupt gov't and reboots.

    In some ways, the Thai Gov't kinda reminds me of an unpatched Windows Machine that needs lots of reboots and eventually a disk-wipe to get working again -- but talking about the gov't structure itself doesn't really explain why insulting the King is a big deal.

    Again, like I said... the King is a "moral authority". In many ways, he's the Thai equivalent to the Pope although more in the moral sense than religious sense -- he is a man who is loved by the people and is wished to be seen as "good" by most Thai's. Insulting the King (or Queen) is a personal insult to many Thai people and is one of the few things the Thai in general do not tolerate well overall. Insulting the King in Thailand is the equivalent of bad-mouthing the Pope while visiting the Vatican.

    That said, I'd rather visit Thailand again anyday than the many countries in the world that are significantly less tolerant [timesonline.co.uk].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:14PM (#27471419)
    Yep. Glad I've booked my Australia-UK flight on Singapore Airlines. I've been Thai Airways before, but no more. Too much risk of being offloaded at Bangkok for "insulting" their king during the flight or being stranded at their airport for weeks as the government falls apart.
  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:25PM (#27471505) Journal
    if you go to foreign countries and publicly insult their leaders you are kind of a douche bag.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:39PM (#27471627) Journal
    Douche bag, sure; but that doesn't make 3-15 years any more civilized.
  • Re:The Thai King (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:39PM (#27471629) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps he's popular precisely because he doesn't have real power. It's the pricks that do meddle in peoples lives that become unpopular.

    The peculiar thing about the USA is that it invents it's own royalty. What else could explain political families like the Bushes, Kennedys etc?

  • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:41PM (#27471641)

    If you take visitors into your country and jail them for speaking their minds, you probably deserve whatever it is they said about you.

  • Re:The Thai King (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:44PM (#27471665) Journal
    Once you bring in the jackbooted thugs and the jail time "moral authority" is off the table. At least the papacy hasn't had legal power in quite some time, so the pope confines himself to wearing a dress and giving terrible medical advice.
  • Re:The Thai King (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Potor (658520) <farker1@gmail . c om> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:48PM (#27471687) Journal

    If you think there is an obvious American opinion to this matter, you are a moron. Travel a bit. Open your mind and your eyes.

    The Thai people do love him, which is why it is such a problem to criticize him. They personally hate it when the king is insulted (I speak from experience, having lived and worked in Thailand for over a year). The government constantly use this popular love to pass laws that favour themselves and not the king because they can use such legislation to lock people up on the slightest context.

    The king him disfavours the lese majeste laws, and wishes aloud for their abolition.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:25PM (#27471913) Homepage Journal
    Why, is this some form of etiquette? All kings and queens should be beheaded in this day and age, be them British or Thai.
  • Idiots! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:30PM (#27471935)

    Too many people are spouting off and running off at the mouth because they are imposing their cultural views on the Thai people.

    The king of Thailand is protected by a set of old laws called Lese Majeste, which essentially means it is a crime to injure the king in any way (including verbally).You may not agree with it, and in fact, the Thai king himself is against these laws, but this is their way.

    You should also understand that the Thai people think very highly of the king and he has done a great many things to improve the lives of the everyday man. He is one of the great philanthropists of the 20 & 21st centuries.

    Be more respectful of other cultures. Contrary to what most Americans seem to think, you are NOT the highest form of culture the world has ever seen and the rest of the world DO NOT want to be like you. We in the rest of the world have our own ways and, frankly, we've been doing it a lot longer than you lot.

  • monarchies are a ridiculous anachronism

    uk, thailand, japan: follow nepal please, lose your bullshit historical baggage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepalese_monarchy [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Ants (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StarkRG (888216) <starkrg@gmai l . com> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:43PM (#27471981)

    Only on slashdot would such a post be modded insightful. Not that I disagree.

  • by mashihabong (864452) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:45PM (#27471999) Homepage Journal
    I think people here get wrong idea. You should respect the local law. Many people here try to say it is okay to drive 200 km/h in US just because driving like that in Afghanistan is NOT illegal. I think many people should respect to other cultures. Don't set anything in developed countries as the world standard. I don't think it is the fault of King that someone is found guilty of lese-majeste. It is that person's duty to know the law or at least the culture / special law of where he or she is going. The lese-majeste law has been used for more than 77 years. Saying that the king is suck just because many people violated and found guilty of Thai lese-majeste law is the same as saying that the murdered victim is stupid just because a killer is accidentally there.
  • by Microlith (54737) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:55PM (#27472065)

    Why should they, if it isn't causing problems? Last I looked, in Japan the monarchy wasn't even politically relevant or a problem.

    Last I checked, the king of Thailand was pardoning most people arrested under the law. This is the government abusing their King to silence critics.

    Or just idiocy to a phenominal degree,

  • Re:Idiots! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Monday April 06, 2009 @12:43AM (#27472317)

    The king of Thailand is protected by a set of old laws called Lese Majeste, which essentially means it is a crime to injure the king in any way (including verbally).You may not agree with it, and in fact, the Thai king himself is against these laws, but this is their way.

    And in some parts of Africa a female child may have her clitoris excised to save her from sexual temptation later in life. Now in some less-enlightened quarters, this is considered a bad idea. But hey, what do I know, I'm just an ugly American imposing my cultural views on the world, right?

    Cultural relativism is as harmful a mind virus as religion. Some things in the world are broken, and sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending otherwise does not make you morally superior.

  • Re:The Thai King (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Monday April 06, 2009 @12:44AM (#27472321)

    Insulting the King in Thailand is the equivalent of bad-mouthing the Pope while visiting the Vatican.

    Or shitting on the star spangled banner in front of the white house.

    See? Now some of you might get it - a corrupt republic is no better than a monarchy if all you've done is replace the monarch with a flag.

  • Re:Idiots! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao&hotmail,com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @01:17AM (#27472483) Homepage

    And in some parts of Africa a female child may have her clitoris excised to save her from sexual temptation later in life. Now in some less-enlightened quarters, this is considered a bad idea. But hey, what do I know, I'm just an ugly American imposing my cultural views on the world, right?

    Well, when it comes to improper use of blades, America is not all that enlightened either... (see sig below)

  • by HappyEngineer (888000) on Monday April 06, 2009 @01:25AM (#27472525) Homepage
    So you're only allowed to criticize politicians of your own country? Or are you saying that you should only criticize politicians in countries that you never intend to visit?
  • Re:Ants (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @04:11AM (#27473361)

    It's not racist. Americans don't see Thais as a race, only a nationality.

    It's really no more racist than insulting Canadians.

    Besides, the Thai king was born a US citizen, in Cambridge MA. If he's never renounced his citizenship, he still is. And we certainly reserve the right to insult our own citizens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @04:27AM (#27473471)
    Barry doesn't need a site like that. He has dailykos, CNN, the NYT, NBC, MSNBC, moveon.org, etc. etc. etc..

    Wait and watch.
  • Were are talking about a country that executes drug users [csdp.org]. They are fucking barbaric & I personally hope there whole government dies in a revolution.

  • by drsquare (530038) on Monday April 06, 2009 @08:00AM (#27474747)

    I'd rather all the politicians were executed first, Bush has done far more damage to this world than the British queen ever will.

  • Re:Ants (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Monday April 06, 2009 @08:12AM (#27474837)

    And it speaks volumes about *your* culture that you believe that freedom of expression is something that *doesn't* need to be protected.

    When something is offensive (like your post), sometimes insults are appropriate, fuckwad.

  • Fuck the UN. Rights aren't granted to people by the government. The UN has a habit of listing out in detail the rights they wish to grant, with clauses that say what may be withheld at discretion later if deemed necessary. A lot of those countries that sign those charters aren't exactly the great havens of personal rights and freedoms that you think they are.
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:14AM (#27476343)
    You post that as if signing a UN document means that a country actually intends to abide by it. Take a look at the current membership of the UN Human Rights Council.
    Based on the history of other UN documents (and my knowledge of world history), I'd rather take my chances as a child in the U.S. than in over 50% of the signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • by psychodelicacy (1170611) * <bstcbn@gmail.com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:28AM (#27476545)

    "You do realise you are subject to other countries laws right? And other countries can pass whatever laws they choose."

    Yes, they can pass whatever laws they choose; and when those laws are oppressive and specifically deny people certain human rights, challenging them in any way possible is an action which has integrity and validity.

    Let's say a country passes a law under which member of a particular racial group are all subject to execution by the state. Anyone caught sheltering or providing help to any member of that racial group will be prosecuted for it. So if some American guy decides to go to that country and smuggle out as many children from that group as possible in order to save their lives, you would condemn him for breaking the law? You would say he deserves to be executed or imprisoned for life for what he did?

    In the end, it's attitudes like yours that allow totalitarian and anti-democratic regimes to flourish. Of course we need to abide by the law, but only inasmuch as the law itself does not impinge upon our human rights or the human rights of others. To uphold the value of a law that does otherwise is to uphold the legitimacy of despotism.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson

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