Arts & Entertainment

Twitter dedicates emoji to pro-democratic Milk Tea Alliance in Asia

Bangkok, Apr 8 (efe-epa).- Twitter unveiled Thursday a new emoji dedicated to the Milk Tea Alliance, a movement of Internet users born in the social network in solidarity with pro-democratic groups in Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Myanmar, on the occasion of its first anniversary.

“We’ve seen over 11 million tweets tagged #MilkTeaAlliance in the last year. Conversations peaked in April 2020 and again in February 2021 when the coup in Myanmar,” Twitter wrote on its page.

The Silicon Valley company said the emoji, which represents a glass on a background with three colors representing different types of milk tea in the region, is a tribute to the movement of pro-democracy activists born around the #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag.

The emoji appears automatically when you type the #MilkTeaAlliance tag in English, Thai, Burmese, and Chinese.

Twitter said the initiative is part of its strategy to facilitate debate around important social movements such as #MeToo on abuses against women and #BlackLivesMatter against racism, which also have their own particular emojis.

The Milk Tea Alliance began in April last year as a Twitter battle between pro-democratic Thai netizens with supporters of the Chinese government through memes, jokes and ironies that ended as a front against Chinese “authoritarianism.”

The reference to milk tea is due to the fact that the drink is widely consumed in Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

When the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok intervened with a lengthy statement defending its “one China” policy, the movement was galvanized with more supporters in Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where there is a large community opposed to Beijing.

In this way, pro-democracy activists protesting Thai authorities were united with other similar groups in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, and Taiwan, a de facto independent country that Beijing considers a “rogue province.”

Recently, the label has gained huge momentum in Myanmar, where the military took power Feb. 1 and has since killed at least 600 protesters in a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

In addition, as Twitter said, the Myanmar military junta has imposed a total blockade of the internet during the night and partial one during the day, which has been denounced as an abuse against freedom of expression.

During the day, restrictions apply to mobile and wireless signals, leaving open access to the wired network, which is much less widespread. EFE-EPA

grc/lds

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