Protests in Thailand against senators who did not choose Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister
The news of the day: Heavy monsoon rains continue across Asia, with new deaths. In Indonesia, a man was arrested after he was accused by a religious foundation. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he will create a new party if the one he currently leads is dissolved. In China, a kindergarten teacher was executed. Russia and the United States are vying for ASEAN support.
More than a hundred protesters gathered yesterday in Bangkok to protest against senators who did not choose Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the progressive Move Forward party, as the country’s new prime minister. Protesters slammed the senators, who were appointed in 2019 by the military junta, for not respecting the popular vote and called for their resignation. A second round of parliamentary consultations has been set for 19 July.
An Indonesian man was arrested for "hate speech" under a 2008 cyber law after he was accused by a powerful religious foundation, the Majlis Ta'lim Zaadul Muslim Albusyro. Wahyu Dwi Nugroho, 32, criticised the organisation on TikTok over a banner that said residents in a neighbourhood could deal with businesses approved by Muslim clerics. For human rights defenders, the cyber law can be manipulated in any kind of dispute.
ASIA – CLIMATE CHANGE
The monsoon season is intensifying across the continent. In the last two weeks, rains have caused floods and landslides in India, China and Japan, killing at least a hundred people. South Korea is on high alert after three days of flooding forcing the evacuation of more than 6,000 residents with at least 10 deaths reported so far.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he will form a new party if his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is dissolved by the current government. “Even if they disqualify me and throw me in jail, the party will still win," he said in reference to the more than 100 legal cases he still faces. According to the former cricket star, support for him among voters is still very strong.
A kindergarten teacher was executed in China for killing a child and wounding 24 others by poisoning their food with sodium nitrite. Wang Yun, 39, had unsuccessfully appealed the verdict, issued in September 2020 by the Intermediate People's Court of Jiaozuo City, Henan Province. Although China does not release data on executions, according to Amnesty International, it is the country with the most death sentences in the world.
RUSSIA – ASEAN
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, current chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with Chinese Politburo member Wang Yi and colleagues from Laos, Sri Lanka and Brunei, to prepare for a security meeting. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others will arrive in Jakarta. Moscow wants to ensure ASEAN's neutrality regarding the war in Ukraine.
The Georgian parliament is discussing the Defence Code amid continuous scandals over the government's goal to reintroduce conscription and general mobilisation, both of which are strenuously opposed by smaller parties who view some regulations as discriminatory, such as exempting Orthodox priests from the draft and conscripting students in case of need.