Thai opposition party survives dissolution bid

A stridently anti-military Thai party survived a first legal attempt to disband it Tuesday over alleged sedition - including links to the Illuminati, a secret group conspiracy theorists say is seeking global domination.The Constitutional Court ruled Future Forward - a pro-democracy party which vehemently opposes the army-aligned establishment - had not shown any intent to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.Dismissing the charge, a judge on the nine-member bench said there was no sign key e

22 January 2020

Cambodia is criminalising democracy

The sham trial of Kem Sokha, the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), is underway in Phnom Penh. How the international community responds will send a powerful signal to Hun Sen, the world’s longest-serving prime minister, about his ability to continue to trample on Cambodia’s democracy and its people’s human rights.After Kem Sokha and I founded the CNRP, Cambodia’s first united democratic opposition party, in 2012, we quickly gained strong public support.

18 January 2020

How will Thailand’s FFP play its hand?

Earlier this week, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was quoted as saying that rallies were a “waste of time”. He was, of course, referring to Sunday’s Future Forward Party (FFP)-backed rally referred to as “Run Against Dictatorship” by some quarters and “Run to Oust Uncle” by others.“I am not an enemy of anyone.

16 January 2020

Thanathorn for Thai Prime Minister?

Last week, a survey by Thailand’s National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) named Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit “the most suitable person” for the post of Thai Prime Minister and his Future Forward Party as the best party to lead the country. Current Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha came in a distant second spot in the poll.The NIDA Poll was conducted between 18 to 20 December, 2019 and involved 2,511 Thai adults from various occupations and levels of education.

7 January 2020

Can Thailand afford another street protest?

Thailand recently witnessed, what is considered by many, to be the largest street protest in more than five years (before the military coup of 2014). Thousands of people gathered on the skywalk linking the National Stadium and Siam Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) stations, chanting “Prayut get out” at an anti-military demonstration on Saturday. Heading the protest?

17 December 2019

Protesters set fire to hold off police at HK campus

Pro-democracy demonstrators holed up in a Hong Kong university campus set the main entrance ablaze Monday to prevent surrounding police moving in, after officers warned they may use live rounds if confronted by deadly weapons.The violence extended a dangerous new phase of the nearly six-month crisis, which over the weekend saw Chinese soldiers briefly leave their local barracks to clean up streets. China has refused to budge on any of the protesters' key demands, which include f

18 November 2019

Police shoot protester, man set on fire in Hong Kong

A police officer shot a masked protester in an incident shown live on Facebook and a man was set on fire Monday during one of the most violent days of clashes in Hong Kong since pro-democracy unrest erupted more than five months ago.Protesters, who had already begun a city-wide day of action aimed at paralysing the international financial hub, reacted to the morning shooting by rampaging through train stations, barricading streets and vandalising shops throughout the day.A masked assailant al

12 November 2019

Kem Sokha freed from house arrest

Cambodia has freed a prominent opposition figure from house arrest more than two years after he was charged with treason, a court spokesperson told media on Sunday, after attempts by his colleagues to return to the country were thwarted.Kem Sokha was arrested in 2017 and accused of plotting to overthrow the government of strongman Hun Sen, who has ruled since 1985.He was sent to a remote prison, then confined to his house and the surrounding block and prohibited from talking to the m

11 November 2019

Exiled Cambodian opposition figurehead in Malaysia

Cambodia’s exiled opposition figurehead Sam Rainsy arrived in Malaysia Saturday as he sought to get home to rally his supporters against strongman Hun Sen, while security was ramped up at the kingdom’s borders and in Phnom Penh.Rainsy, who has lived in France since 2015 to avoid jail for convictions he says are politically motivated, had promised a dramatic return on 9 November, Cambodia’s Independence Day. But Hun Sen, who has ruled the poor Southeast Asian country since 1985, has r

10 November 2019

The fall and rise of Cambodia’s opposition

Nearly seven decades after Cambodia gained independence from France, its people are still struggling for the right to determine their future. But today, it is not an outside power that is stealing Cambodians’ autonomy, but their own authoritarian government, led by Hun Sen, the world’s longest-serving prime minister.

3 November 2019

Hong Kong leader struggles to end crisis

Paralysed by seething protesters and intransigent bosses in Beijing, Hong Kong's government lacks the power and experience to end the unprecedented political crisis in the city, analysts say.The semi-autonomous international hub has been riven by increasingly violent protests for more than four months, with demonstrators demanding greater democracy and police accountability as violence spirals on all sides.Yet so far, all the major steps taken by Beijing-backed city leader Carrie Lam hav

22 October 2019