Supporting Myanmar's Democratic Movement, Twitter Launches Emoji Milk Tea Alliance

UMMATIMES - Twitter on Thursday launched emojis for the Milk Tea Alliance, a global online pro-democracy movement that has brought together anti-Beijing pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan with protesters in Thailand, Myanmar and beyond.

Activists welcomed the announcement of the emoji, a white cup on a tricolor background representing the different shades of milk tea in Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan, for the first anniversary of the movement.

The Twitter emoji shows global recognition and gives the youth movement greater credibility, said prominent Thai activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, one of the Milk Tea Alliance's leading activists.

"This is important because it shows young people who are fighting for democracy that the world is with them and they are making an impact," Netiwit told Reuters. "It's a sign that online activism can go further."

The Milk Tea Alliance emerged from a Twitter war that flared after Chinese nationalists accused the young Thai actor and his girlfriend of supporting democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan's independence.

The name Milk Tea Alliance is taken from the shared penchant for sweetened milk tea in the three places.

The portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn is seen as pro-democracy demonstrators pay a three-finger salute, on the 47th anniversary of the 1973 student uprising, in Bangkok, Thailand October 14, 2020. This greeting was banned from being used in protests in Thailand. REUTERS / Jorge Silva

Twitter is blocked in China and clear support from a movement with strong opposition to Beijing is unlikely to hurt its business, said James Buchanan, a lecturer at Mahidol University International College in Bangkok.

"Twitter has many advantages by attracting young people in the Asian market that is open to them," he said.

The use of the hashtag Milk Tea Alliance went viral again in February following a military coup in Myanmar, during which protesters using the hashtag garnered regional support.

"We have seen more than 11 million Tweets featuring the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance over the past year," Twitter said in an official announcement.

Twitter pushed the hashtag to become one of the top trenders in Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan on Thursday.

Previously, Twitter launched emojis for the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter gestures.