Lese-Majeste in Thailand

Thailand goes into 2012 facing strains that could well lead to renewed tension later this year, primarily over the harsh application by the government of the country’s lèse-majesté laws, designed to prevent criticism of the royalty. Those strains are exacerbated by the fact that the secession question has dragged on for more than two years. King Bhumibol Adulyadej has spent that period in an apartment in Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, having left briefly in December to deliver his 84th birthday address, appearing so desperately frail that questions over the secession grow more urgent all the time and are a major reason for the use of lèse-majesté against even the mildest critics. He is expected to be succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, whom many including those inside the Privy Council privately believe is unfit to lead the country, according to US diplomatic cables made public by Wikileaks in 2011.

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