Pro-democracy Milk Tea Alliance brews in Asia

first_img“The innovative idea of Milk Tea Alliance will enhance more students to push forward global solidarity which might confront hardline crackdown,” prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong told Reuters.Wong tweeted support for the Thai protesters, while users on LIHKG, a social media forum used by Hong Kong demonstrators, also called on people to highlight the call of the Thai protesters for greater democracy and the departure of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader.”The show of solidarity between different pro-democracy groups in Asia reflects a greater intensity and camaraderie,” Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, 22, one of the Thai protest leaders, told Reuters.’Under pressure’Help flows both ways.Some Thai students have shown support for Hong Kong activists as Beijing has tightened its grip and for the Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of increased Chinese rhetoric over what China views as a breakaway province.”The situation in Thailand isn’t so different from Hong Kong or Taiwan, which are under pressure from the authoritarian government of China,” said Rathasat Plenwong, 24, a student protester with a Milk Tea Alliance sign.The Thai, Hong Kong, and Taiwan governments did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the alliance of activists and whether they were concerned about its impact.A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, dismissed the activists’ cooperation.”People who are pro-Hong Kong independence or pro-Taiwan independence often collude online, this is nothing new. Their conspiracy will never succeed,” Zhao said.While the groups’ bonds may not concern China now, they were a clear sign of the challenge facing its influence in the region, Wasana Wongsurawat, a Chinese history professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, told Reuters.”It’s amazing that the Hong Kong and Taiwan bond expanded into the Milk Tea Alliance with Thailand, a sovereign country that doesn’t even list Chinese as a national language,” she said.Use of the hashtag peaked in April when Chinese internet users hit back against attacks on the Thai celebrities who had appeared to suggest that Hong Kong was a state and that Taiwan was not part of China.While a few people have promoted it almost daily since then, the Thai protests saw a big increase in its use – mostly on Twitter, but also Facebook, TikTok and other platforms.Data from a Twitter analytic tool showed the hashtag was used in more than 100,000 tweets on Sunday alone and nearly 200,000 times over the past eight days.There have also been shows of interest from the Philippines, because of a dispute with China over the South China Sea, and India after border skirmishes with China since May.Singaporean blogger and activist Roy Ngerng, who was found guilty of defaming Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a 2014 blog post, was also in the crowd in Taipei.”The Milk Tea Alliance became the common ground from which we can express our solidarity in humorous and safe spaces,” Ngerng told Reuters.”Solidarity is taking on a more organizational and structural form.” As Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates voiced support for Thai anti-government protests at the weekend, they used the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance.In Bangkok, flags representing Hong Kong and independence for Taiwan appeared on a sign bearing the tag at the biggest demonstrations in years.And in Taipei, dozens of people gathered to back the Thai protests and give weight to a nascent community of cross-border youth movements pushing for democracy at home and uneasy with China’s growing regional power. “This is the first physical expression of the Milk Tea Alliance,” said Thai student Akrawat Siripattanachok, 27, who helped organize the show of solidarity in Taipei joined by Hong Kong activists, a Chinese dissident and Taiwan students.”We don’t want to just talk about it online. We want a pan-Asian alliance for democracy.”A hashtag that began in April as a backlash to Chinese nationalist attacks on a Thai celebrity for a perceived slight to China shows signs of turning into a bigger movement uniting like-minded activists.Why milk tea? The light-hearted name represents a shared passion for sweet tea drinks in Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Zebo out with broken foot

first_imgIreland wing Simon Zebo will miss the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations after breaking a bone in his foot in the 12-6 defeat by England at the Aviva Stadium. Press Association Flanker Sean O’Brien (tight hamstring), lock Mike McCarthy (knee ligament strain), centre Brian O’Driscoll (twisted ankle) and lock Donnacha Ryan (back) also sustained injuries, but have yet to be ruled out against Scotland in two weeks time. “Simon will have surgery. Jonny will have a scan either later tonight (Sunday) or tomorrow,” Kidney said. “It looks like a couple of weeks for Jonny, but it would be wrong to try and second guess the outcome. We’ll know more by Tuesday. “It’s been an attritional couple of games and we had a few injuries leading into the tournament, but that’s the way it goes.” center_img Zebo will undergo an operation on Monday to repair the damage incurred in the 10th minute of a brutal Test in Dublin and has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks. The prognosis on Jonathan Sexton’s hamstring injury was less grave with coach Declan Kidney estimating a two-week lay-off for the Leinster fly-half, who was replaced by Ronan O’Gara after half an hour. last_img read more

Congerton takes up Sunderland role

first_img Congerton’s appointment confirms owner Ellis Short’s continued belief in the system which De Fanti was recruited to oversee. The 40-year-old Welshman said: “I’m delighted to join Sunderland AFC and would like to thank the Board and owner for this great opportunity. “Working alongside Gus and his team was one of the influential factors in me joining the club and something that I am very much looking forward to.” After his playing career was ended prematurely by injury, Congerton served as Academy Director at Wrexham before joining Liverpool in 2002. But it was at Chelsea that he made his big breakthrough, rising to the rank of chief scout during a six-year spell before following Frank Arnesen to the Bundesliga after the latter was appointed as Hamburg’s sporting director. Poyet said: “I would like to welcome Lee to the club. Recruitment is one of the most important areas in football nowadays, so I’m looking forward to working alongside Lee for the best of the club.” Sunderland will hope Congerton’s expertise in recruitment will help them to bring greater order to their transfer dealings after a chaotic summer under De Fanti last year when then manager Paolo Di Canio saw no fewer than 14 new faces arrive, some of whom have since made little or no impact. Poyet and chief executive Margaret Byrne conducted the club’s business in January as Liam Bridcutt, Oscar Ustari, Marcos Alonso, Santiago Vergini and Ignacio Scocco were drafted in, but the newcomer will now take over many of those duties. Byrne said: “Lee is very highly regarded within football circles and we have been very impressed by him. “We feel he is the perfect fit for the club in terms of developing our player recruitment strategy and helping to take the club forward.” What Congerton is able to do this summer could depend largely upon where the club is playing its football next season with the spectre of relegation from the Barclays Premier League still looming large. Poyet remains confident his players can amass the necessary points to beat the drop, and he is equally comfortable with the prospect of working with Congerton. Asked about the prospect last Friday, he said: “It’s normal all over the world. Because you are not used to it, the words ‘technical director’, ‘sporting director’ mean ‘devil’, ‘terrible’. “It’s normal. The most important thing is the relationship between that person and the manager or the head coach. It needs to be spot-on, it needs to be clear, it needs to be honest, it needs to be in the same direction. “It needs to be special because if not, it’s not going to work. It’s about working together, understanding each other, knowing what is needed and doing your job. “Apart from that, again for me, it’s natural. I would take the situation, to work with someone in that role. It’s natural, I am not worried at all. “Now, if it’s going to work or not, I don’t know. I hope.” Sunderland have confirmed the appointment of Lee Congerton as the club’s sporting director. Congerton joins the club from German outfit Hamburg, where he was working as technical director, and effectively replaces former director of football Roberto De Fanti, who left the Stadium of Light in January. He will work alongside head coach Gus Poyet, overseeing player recruitment and the club’s domestic and international scouting operation. Press Associationlast_img read more

Blake Griffin reminds Clippers it’s OK if wins aren’t all pretty

first_imgThe Clippers might have survived the brutal March schedule, but before they can enjoy a three-day respite between games, they must get through the Lakers in a designated Clippers home game.It will be the Clippers’ 19th game – roughly 23 percent of their entire regular-season slate of games – since March 1.“They’re tired, there’s no doubt about that,” Rivers said, “but there’s nothing we can do about it. They’re not going to cancel the game.”With playoff games beginning in two weeks, Rivers said he worries “every second” about the cumulative effects of the season’s busy back-end manifesting itself in further injuries. Guard Austin Rivers is already expected to miss the rest of the regular season with a strained left hamstring, suffered in Wednesday’s win over Washington.“The Austin injury is absolutely a byproduct of the schedule,” Doc Rivers said.While the Clippers are looking forward to recovering some of the energy lost in the last month, point guard Chris Paul pointed out the Clippers won’t know how the time off truly affects them until they get back on the court next week.“If we play great,” he said, “they’re going to say the rest was great for us. If we don’t, we was off too long. So let’s see what happens.” With five games remaining in the regular season, including this afternoon against the Lakers, the Clippers (46-31) could finish anywhere from fourth to sixth in the Western Conference, and will face either Utah, Oklahoma City or Houston in the opening round.The narrative around the Clippers swings dramatically with each game: Either they are destined for a brief postseason appearance or they are figuring things out at precisely the right time.Rivers’ keeps the Clippers on an even keel, reflected in Griffin’s mid-game pep talk.“Players understand it,” Rivers said. “It’s the outside that doesn’t understand it. They judge teams by their score. I never know the score of a game, I know if we won or if we lost.”Worn out During an early third-quarter timeout Thursday, as the Clippers couldn’t quite shake the Phoenix Suns, forward Blake Griffin took command of Coach Doc Rivers’ huddle.“He said, ‘Guys, you aren’t going to blow out everybody every night,’ ” Rivers said. “ ‘They’re pros, they’re going to play hard. … We’ve got to grind this game.’ ”The Clippers eventually did, beating the Suns, 124-118.“It would be great to blow everybody out, blow every team out that’s not making it to the playoffs,” Griffin said he told his teammates. “But at the end of the day, that’s not going to be the case all the time. And you have to be OK with that.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more