Handling and freedom of expression in Asia


PhilippinesAsia has several regimes that are handling situations and rule countries historically different from western style. Think about China for example. The country of Wuhan, the Tibet issue and the south China sea hotbed. Beside China there is a strict regime in Burma (Myanmar) regarding Rohingyas en rebel zones. Which can lead to limited or guided tourism. Vietnam handled the covid crisis with a sort of iron fist but with success and appreciation from over the world.

Philippines is under criticism from human rights organizations regarding the army style handling of covid. Locking up 30.000 violators of some sort and killing another 20.000 in a war on drugs. This can be found on international media online. Laos media is under govt control and strictly censored but a great country to visit. Cambodia has just as Laos and China one party rule. Thailand had many army take overs. All those countries have some sort of restrictions, limitations, censorship, laws and the like.

Handling Thailand

ThailandOne year after (unfair?) elections the former army general, now PM of Thailand, keeps his grip with handling sensitive things. Reporters without borders came out with their annual World Press Freedom Index. Thailand ranks 140 out of 180. Even one place behind Myanmar and only four above Cambodia. Voices of dissent and critics can be penalized with 5-7 years prison.

People exercising freedom of expression online are being arrested, threatened and harassed by the regime. Amnesty came out with a 26 page report titled ‘They are always watching’.


ThailandCritizing the monarchy or king is heavily punished in Thailand. The king lives most of the time in Germany. Internationally published but banned in Thailand. He didn’t return to his country for occasions like his coronation day. The king was seen making face masks on his one short visit to Thailand though. We like to warn our visitors not to criticize or speak about Asian monarchies and leaderships. Also not to participate in local protests and movements to stay out of trouble as visitors.

In Philippines

PhilippinesThis regime handling has not only the blood of over 20.000 war on drugs deaths on its hands. Now also over 30.000 arrests of curfew and quarantine violators. Human Rights Watch came with the news of some put in a dog cage. Three people of the LGBT community were not only booked. They had to dance and kiss in public while being recorded on video. Then placed on FB.

Detention facilities are at a 300% congestion rate. Prisoners sleep in shifts even on stairs. Infections have reached the prisons and infected inmates and guards. Now 10.000 will be freed but it seems all a little too late. On the other hand are family members denied proper funerals of their loved ones. No final goodbye’s. All can be found online on international media.

In Cambodia 

CambodiaCambodia’s handling goes usually against any form of opposition. A tuktuk driver was arrested for being critical over policies on his FB. The corona crisis wasn’t the issue but the broken deal of EBA (Everything but arms) with Europe was. Another arrest was made when a female sold clothes and cosmetics on a FB page. Bikini’s or short skirts are now seemingly pornography. More here https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1906915/cambodian-woman-jailed-for-skimpy-outfits


Freedom of expression is very limited and pornography too. The definitions of that obviously vary from country to country. Beware that not all Asia is like Thailand. In Vietnam it’s officially banned to sleep with a local without being married. Hotels might not allow you with a local girl. Some countries have a culture police. In some countries you can smoke weed and in others not. Or in some cities you can and other cities not. As a foreigner you better be careful because you’re being watched!

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