What with the million person demonstration to come in Bangkok this weekend and the theft of weapons from the army by …. well, we all have suspicions as to what is going on there … what with all this, we could do without an outbreak of anti-Chinese sentiment but the ongoing problems with the River Mekong may provoke just that. Today it is being reported that Chiang Rai residents are planning to demonstrate outside the Chinese Embassy, on the basis that it is the dams in China which are contributing to the low level of water and the floods over a couple of years.
According to the leader of the Chiang Khong Conservation Group, Niwat Roykaew, “”We can’t stand by idly on the issue … No one is telling China about the painful experience we are facing. As the prime victims, we will make our voice heard and take action to deal with the problem.”
The principal issue seems to be that people feel no one is acting on their behalf – which is a reasonable position to take given the nature of the current regime. It is certainly the case that the government (or at least its few grown-up members) is generally unwilling to upset the Chinese leadership for a wide range of reasons. Flap-mouthed buffoon Kasit Piromya might be persuaded to say something different, after all. This is exacerbated by the unwillingness of the Chinese government to participate in regional agencies to discuss the relevant issues.
This could all turn nasty. Let us hope for some leadership (presumably by someone actually elected by the people).