There have been a number of conspiracy theories swirling around the ongoing political crisis in Thailand. The most popular of all is that the whole affair is being orchestrated by certain western powers with an aim of overthrowing the current Thai government.
A recent opinion piece in the Global Times, an English-language publication under the People’s Daily which is an official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, has quickly seized on the theory.
Under the headline “Behind-scenes funding of Thailand protests show invisible Western hands”, the article noted what it described as “a striking similarity” between the ongoing protests in Thailand and those in Hong Kong. It said the protesters attempted to occupying public places, landmarks and downtown shopping malls.
“This was all done in a bid to trigger broad attention from the international community,” it said.
The article also claimed that “unidentified Westerners at rallies in Thailand openly instructed students to set up stages and barricades.”
“There was also a very professional camera team hiding in the crowd to capture ‘touching’ scenes. These images included protesters kneeing before officers and armed police swinging batons in front of unarmed protesters. Such photos went viral on social media platforms,” it said.
It said the images were intended “to incite ordinary people’s hatred against the ‘brutal’ government and thereby turned them into protesters. This was a clear recruitment campaign.”
Thai protest leaders, however, have consistently maintained that the ongoing anti-government rallies are organic and rejected claims they were influenced by foreign forces.
Global Times is a daily English-languge tabloid newspaper which is seen as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. The author of the article is identified as a deputy director of the Military Diplomacy Research Center of the College of International Relations, National University of Defense Technology.
The article in the Global Times also noted that some of the pro-democracy movement leaders in Hong Kong have openly expressed their support for their Thai counterparts.
“Some Hong Kong rioters, including their leader Joshua Wong, have publicly supported Thai anti-government protests. This reminds people of the group photo featuring Wong and Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, who served as the leader of the Future Forward Party that was dissolved by Thailand’s Constitutional Court in February,” it said.
Without citing any references, the article noted that the Thai government and mainstream media believe that anti-government protesters “have colluded with the US and other Western countries to use young people with the ultimate goal to overthrow the current political system in Thailand. Those forces aim to bring in pro-West political proxies to rule the country with Western-styled democracy. It is essentially a ‘color revolution’.”
The article ended by saying that what is happening in Thailand “is in line with the US general practice. The US manipulated color revolutions in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and other countries and regions for its political intentions, leaving many countries in a mess, threatening regional and world peace and stability.”