TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After Australia refused to back down from its calls to have the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) investigated, a Thai Twitter user has added the country to the viral "Milk Tea Alliance" of like-minded netizens defying communist China.
In mid-April, Chinese trolls started attacking Thai celebrity Vachirawit Chivaaree, also known as "Bright," and his newly revealed girlfriend Weeraya Sukaram, who goes by the nickname "New," and the Twitter handle "nnevvy." Chinese began attacking both for their perceived support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and Taiwan independence activists.
Thai netizens responded to the tidal wave of Chinese troll attacks by using self-deprecating humor under the Twitter hashtag #nnevvy. Soon Taiwanese and Hong Kong netizens joined in to support their Thai counterparts, and on April 14 the #MilkTeaAlliance meme was born.
The original meme depicts citizens of Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong holding up their respective popular tea drinks: Thai tea, bubble tea, and Hong Kong-style milk tea. The Facebook post has garnered 26,000 likes, 1,200 comments, and 14,000 shares.
(Facebook, Milktealogy illustration)
Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the World Health Organization's (WHO's) botched handling of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). On Sunday (April 26), Beijing threatened a consumer boycott if Canberra did not back down from its demands for an inquest.
Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham on Monday (April 27) rebuffed the threat of boycotts by saying, "Australia is no more going to change our policy position on a major public health issue because of economic coercion or threats of coercion than we would change our policy positions in matters of national security." That same day, the editor of Chinese state-run mouthpiece the Global Times, Hu Xijin, on Weibo compared Australia to an annoying piece of gum under China's heel.
On Tuesday (April 28), Thai Twitter user Khunprix added Australia to the Milk Tea Alliance. In the latest version, Australian baby formula brand Aptamil has joined bubble tea, Thai tea, and Hong Kong-style milk tea in the new alliance.