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Twitter includes Taiwan flag in announcement of Milk Tea Alliance emoji

Twitter takes overt political stance on Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar

(Twitter screenshot)

(Twitter screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Twitter announced on Thursday (April 8) that it is creating an emoji for the Milk Tea Alliance and included Taiwan's flag among other members of the alliance in the statement.

At 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Twitter announced that it has created a new emoji that will appear with the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance. The social media company noted that what had started out as a Twitter meme a year ago, has blossomed into a "global pro-democracy movement led by activists and concerned citizens in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, and Myanmar, with the territory and countries depicted with their respective flags."

The emoji includes three colors which are meant to represent the different milk teas found in Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The emoji automatically appears when Twitter users type in the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance.

The hashtag now joins the social movements #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter as having a specially designated emoji by the microblogging site. Twitter emphasized that at times of civil unrest and violent crackdowns, it is "more important than ever for the public to have access to the #OpenInternet for real-time updates, credible information, and essential services."

In mid-April last year, Chinese trolls attacked Thai celebrity Vachirawit Chivaaree, also known as "Bright," and his newly revealed girlfriend, Weeraya Sukaram, who goes by the nickname "New" and has the Twitter handle "nnevvy." The Chinese trolls targeted the pair 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. 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. In May last year, when Taiwan was again excluded from the World Health Assembly, India was included in the alliance, and the bond was further strengthened after a deadly border clash broke out with China.

Following the coup by Myanmar's military junta on Feb. 1 and protests by activists to restore the democratically elected government, Myanmar was added to the Milk Tea Alliance.

Updated : 2021-04-19 15:29 GMT+08:00