Thursday, November 1, 2007

Epoch Times: 'Nine Commentaries' Ban Tests Right to Freedom of Expression in Thailand

The Thai translation of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, an award winning editorial series published by The Epoch Times, was banned in Thailand by the Royal Thai Police on Oct. 8—although whether the government intends to enforce the ban is not clear.

The order, issued by the Royal Thai Police Printing Office of the Special Branch, describes the printing of the Nine Commentaries as using Thailand as a base to attack the Chinese regime, and says it "may affect the good relationship between Thailand and China." The office banned the sale or distribution of the Nine Commentaries using Article 9 of the Printing Act of 1941.

According to the Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) Web site, the Thai newspaper Matichon published the order to ban the book in its Oct. 10 issue. Under Thai law, a book is considered officially banned once the order is printed in a government gazette or any daily newspaper.

When The Epoch Times called the Special Branch to enquire why its publication was banned, printing officer Suttipong Changariyawong said: "This is related to the national security; I am not in the position to answer this."

Mr. Changariyawong said the decision to ban the book was made by a committee of six individuals from the Royal Thai Police.

Thailand is the first country aside from the Peoples Republic of China to prohibit the sale or distribution of the Nine Commentaries.


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