Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck–both former prime ministers of Thailand, both ousted in coups–just visited China, causing such a stir back home with a viral panda-hugging photo that the current Thai prime minister warned the media to stop “presenting news” about Thaksin. The Shinawatra siblings, along with Yingluck’s son, also visited their ancestral home in Guangdong last Friday.
While news of the Shinawatra’s visit isn’t being blocked, Chinese netizens can’t follow Yingluck’s travels on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. (Cyberspace czar Lu Wei insists that China has never “shut down” a foreign website.) To help Chinese Yingluck fans understand their situation, “NewsThailand” (泰国头条新闻) offered a gentle reminder to Weibo users:
泰国头条新闻: Kind Explanation: Recently, former prime minister of Thailand Yingluck visited China with her older brother, former prime minister Thaksin, and her son. She posted photos and text to various social media platforms throughout her trip. Does this raise questions for mainland readers, many of whom cannot access [these platforms]? Let us offer a kind explanation. Foreign phone numbers set to international roaming in China can access all social media platforms. It is only Chinese phone numbers that are blocked.
【 温馨解释 】近日泰国前总理【 英拉 】和他哥哥泰国前总理【 他信 】以及她儿子在中国旅游，频频用她个人的各种社交平台发表图片和文字，让国内很多无法使用的读者充满疑问？在这里做个温馨解释，外国电话号码到中国大陆使用国际漫游，所有社交平台都可以畅通无阻的使用，封锁的只是中国国内号码。 [Chinese]
Not that Thailand doesn’t restrict the Internet or punish citizens for their online activity. Yet the weibo offered a rare chance for Chinese netizens to reflect on the world beyond the Great Firewall:
游小龙YXL: Too many people in China don’t understand the actual situation. What would we do if everything were open and they were harmed by outside forces? This question will keep you up at night.
BoyanJLU: That’s why young people in TW [Taiwan] and HK [Hong Kong] started protests again and again. It’s not about whether they love China. It’s not about whether they wanna be Chinese. It’s about defending a LIFESTYLE.
刘强UP: Thank you for your “kind” hint. It looks like I know what I’m not supposed to know.
Via CDT Chinese.