Online Roundtable Seminar on "Milk Tea Alliance: Transnational democratic solidarity in Asia"
In April 2020, the Thai Boy’s love series 2gether became massively popular in China. The series’ prominence quickly brought Chinese fans’ scrutiny to the leading actors’ social media activity. This attention turned to backlash when posts referring to Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries by the title’s lead actor, Bright, and his girlfriend, Nnevvy, were discovered by the new fans. This perceived online impasse drew strong criticism from nationalistic Chinese citizens and became the spark of a spontaneous transnational online movement in response against China’s model of authoritarianism. Citizens from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand have called this the ”Milk Tea Alliance” and united in a common struggle for democracy. In addition to a shared stance against authoritarianism, issues such as unfair trade, the treatment of ethnic minorities, environmental degradation, and socio-economic inequalities have become widely discussed under the banner. Many of these issues were also featured in the student-led protests in Thailand in late 2020, where the ”Milk Tea Alliance” was functional in online mobilisation and as a manifestation of solidarity. The recent military coup and the mass protest movement in Myanmar casts new light on the alliance and netizen mobilization against authoritarianism in Asia. In this roundtable discussion activists, scholars, and observers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand are brought together. They will talk about their experiences and insights - answering questions about what the alliance is, why it matters, and where it is going.
Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Shue Yan University
Founder of New Bloom Magazine
Associate Professor at Chulalongkorn University
Co-founder of Kiamudom Against Dictatorship Group
Founder of Project Black Mask HK and a member of NY4HK
Roger Lee Huang
Lecturer at Macquarie University
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