Wednesday, 16 August 2017 | 17:30 – 19:00
Professor of Government
“The Sino-Thais’ Right Turn towards China”
Abstract: Thailand’s drastic political and economic twists and turns over the past two decades have increasingly inclined the Sino-Thais (Jeks or Lookjins i.e. Thais of Chinese descent) who predominate its business and political elite and constitute the plurality of its established urban middle class, to the political right as well as towards China. From the main supporters and mass base of pro-Western democratization and free-market economy against the threat of communist dictatorship from China and its allies in the Cold War period, they have turned in recent years into rightwing royal-nationalists who mistrust and oppose U.S.-led economic globalization, Western liberal values, and majoritarian democracy. In this dramatic shift, China has become the magnetic pillar of a new regional axis whose economic clout, cultural values, and alternative model of political and economic development the Sino-Thais find congenial and appealing and are oriented towards.
KASIAN TEJAPIRA is a professor of political science at Thammasat University in Bangkok. He is the author of numerous academic publications and a score of books in both Thai and English. He is also a noted columnist, burgeoning poet, and was formerly a radical political activist in northeastern Thailand.