Bhumibol Adulyadej Explained

Type:monarch
Bhumibol Adulyadej
Imgw:210px
Succession:King of Thailand
Reign:
Coronation:5 May 1950
Predecessor:Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII)
Suc-Type:Heir apparent
Successor:Maha Vajiralongkorn
Reg-Type:Prime Ministers
Spouse:Sirikit Kitiyakara
(Since 28 April 1950)
Issue:Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya
HRH The Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn
HRH The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
HRH The Princess Chulabhorn Walailak
House:House of Mahidol
Chakri Dynasty
Father:Mahidol Adulyadej, Prince of Songkla
Mother:Srinagarindra
Birth Date:5 December 1927
Religion:Theravada Buddhism

Bhumibol Adulyadej (RTGS: Phumiphon Adunyadet; Thai: ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช, ; see full title below; born 5 December 1927) is the current Monarch of Thailand. He is known as Rama IX. Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he is the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history.[1]

Although Bhumibol is legally a constitutional monarch, he has made several decisive interventions in the Thai political sphere. He was credited with facilitating Thailand's transition to democracy in the 1990s, although he has supported numerous military regimes, including Sarit Dhanarajata's during the 1960s and the Council for National Security in 2006–8. During his long reign, he has authorized over 15 coups, 16 constitutions, and 27 changes of prime ministers.[2] He has also used his influence to stop military coups, including attempts in 1981 and 1985. Bhumibol is advised by a hand-picked Privy Council.

Bhumibol is respected and revered by many Thais. He is, by law passed by the Thai parliament, considered "inviolable" and lèse majesté, i.e. offence against the dignity of the monarch, may be punished. In 1957, the overthrow of the government was justified with allegations of lese majeste.[3] [4] Bhumibol however invited public criticism in a 2005 speech.[5]

Bhumibol is credited with a social-economic theory of self-sufficiency. His personal wealth is tremendous: Forbes estimated Bhumibol's personal fortune, including property managed by the Crown Property Bureau which is considered national property,[6] to be US$30 billion in 2010, and he has been consistently placed at number one of the magazine's list of "The World's Richest Royals".[7] [8] The Crown Property Bureau spends money on public welfare such as youth development, however it does not pay taxes and its finances are reported only to Bhumibol.[9] Bhumibol himself has made donations to numerous development projects in Thailand, in areas including agriculture, environment, public health, occupational promotion, water resources, communications and public welfare.[10] Commemoration of Bhumibol's contributions to Thailand are ubiquitous in the Thai media.[11]

Early life

He was born at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States on 5 December 1927.[12] He was the younger son of HRH Prince Mahidol Adulyadej and Mom Sangwan (later HRH Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother: Somdet Phra Si Nakharinthra Boromaratchachonnani). His name, Bhumibol Adulyadej, means "Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power".[13] His father was enrolled in the Public Health program at Harvard University, hence his unusual place of birth for a monarch.

He came to Thailand in 1928, after Prince Mahidol obtained a certificate from Harvard. He briefly attended Mater Dei school in Bangkok but in 1933 his mother took the family to Switzerland, where he continued his education at the Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande in Lausanne. He received the baccalauréat des lettres (high-school diploma with major in French literature, Latin, and Greek) from the Gymnase Classique Cantonal of Lausanne, and by 1945 had begun studying science at the University of Lausanne, when World War II ended and the family returned to Thailand.[14]

Succession and marriage

Bhumibol ascended the throne following the death by gunshot wound of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, on 9 June 1946, in mysterious circumstances.[15] Bhumibol returned to Switzerland in order to complete his education, and his uncle, Rangsit, Prince of Chainat, was appointed Prince Regent. Bhumibol then switched over his field of study to law and political science.

While finishing his degree in Switzerland, Bhumibol visited Paris frequently. It was in Paris that he first met Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, daughter of the Thai ambassador to France.[16]

On 4 October 1948, while Bhumibol was driving a Fiat Topolino on the Geneva-Lausanne road, he collided with the rear of a braking truck 10 km outside of Lausanne. He hurt his back and incurred cuts on his face that cost him the sight of his right eye.[17] [18] While he was hospitalised in Lausanne, Sirikit visited him frequently. She met his mother, who asked her to continue her studies nearby so that Bhumibol could get to know her better. Bhumibol selected for her a boarding school in Lausanne, Riante Rive. A quiet engagement in Lausanne followed on 19 July 1949, and the couple were married on 28 April 1950, just a week before his coronation.

Bhumibol and his wife Queen Sirikit have four children:

One of Bhumibol's grandchildren, Bhumi Jensen, was killed in the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He was the autistic son of Princess Ubol Ratana.[19]

Coronation and titles

Bhumibol was crowned King of Thailand on 5 May 1950 at the Royal Palace in Bangkok where he pledged that he would "reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people" ("เราจะครองแผ่นดินโดยธรรม เพื่อประโยชน์สุขแห่งมหาชนชาวสยาม").[20] Notable elements associated with the coronation included the Bahadrabith Throne beneath the Great White Umbrella of State; and he was presented with the royal regalia and utensils.[21]

In 1950 on Coronation Day, Bhumibol's consort was made Queen (Somdej Phra Boromarajini). The date of his coronation is celebrated each 5 May in Thailand as Coronation Day, a public holiday. On 9 June 2006, Bhumibol celebrated his 60th anniversary as the King of Thailand, becoming the longest reigning monarch in Thai history.

Following the death of his grandmother Queen Savang Vadhana, Bhumibol entered a 15-day monkhood (22 October 19565 November 1956) at Wat Bowonniwet, as is customary for Buddhist males on the death of elder relatives.[22] During this time, Sirikit was appointed his regent. She was later appointed Queen Regent (Somdej Phra Boromarajininat) in recognition of this.

Although Bhumibol is sometimes referred to as King Rama IX in English, Thais refer to him as Nai Luang or Phra Chao Yu Hua (ในหลวง or พระเจ้าอยู่หัว: both mean "the King" or "Lord Upon our Heads"). He is also called Chao Chiwit ("Lord of Life").[23] Formally, he would be referred to as Phrabat Somdej Phra Chao Yu Hua (พระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัว) or, in legal documents, Phrabat Somdej Phra Paraminthara Maha Bhumibol Adulyadej (พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาภูมิพลอดุลยเดช), and in English as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He signs his name as ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ป.ร. (Bhumibol Adulyadej Por Ror; this is the Thai equivalent of Bhumibol Adulyadej R[ex]).

Role in Thai politics

Plaek Pibulsonggram era

In the early years of his reign, during the government of military dictator Plaek Pibulsonggram, Bhumibol had no real power and was little more than a ceremonial figure under the military-dominated government. In August 1957, 6 months after parliamentary elections, General Sarit Dhanarajata accused the government of Field Marshal Pibulsonggram of lèse majesté due to its conduct of the 2,500th anniversary celebration of Buddhism.[24] [4] On 16 September 1957, Pibulsonggram went to Bhumibol to seek support for his government.[25] Bhumibol told the Field Marshal to resign to avoid a coup; Pibulsonggram refused. That evening, Sarit Dhanarajata seized power, and two hours later Bhumibol imposed martial law throughout the Kingdom.[26] Bhumibol issued a Proclamation appointing Sarit as "Military Defender of the Capital" without anyone countersigning this Proclamation. It included the following statements:[27]

Sarit Dhanarajata era

During Sarit's dictatorship, the monarchy was revitalised. Bhumibol attended public ceremonies, toured the provinces and patronised development projects. Under Sarit, the practice of crawling in front of royalty during audiences, banned by King Chulalongkorn, was revived in certain situations and the royal-sponsored Thammayut Nikaya order was revitalised. For the first time since the absolute monarchy was overthrown, a king was conveyed up the Chao Phraya River in a Royal Barge Procession to offer robes at temples.[28] [29]

Other disused ceremonies from the classical period of the Chakri dynasty, such as the royally-patronised ploughing ceremony (Thai: พิธีพืชมงคล), were also revived.[30] Bhumibol's birthday (5 December) was declared the national day, replacing the previous national day, the anniversary of the Siamese Revolution of 1932 (24 June).[31] Upon Sarit's death in 8 December 1963, an unprecedented 21 days of mourning were declared in the palace. A royal five-tier umbrella shaded his body while it lay in state. Long-time royal adviser Phraya Srivisarn Vacha later noted that no Prime Minister ever had such an intimate relationship with Bhumibol as Sarit.[32]

Contemporary thinkers differ in their views about the relationship between Bhumibol and Sarit. Paul Handley, writer of The King Never Smiles views Sarit as Bhumibol's tool, whereas political scientist Thak Chaloemtiarana asserts that Sarit used Bhumibol in order to build his own credibility.[33] [34]

Thanom Kittikachorn era and short democratic phase

Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn was appointed premier a day after Sarit's death in 1963. He continued most of Sarit's policies for a decade. In October 1973 after massive protests and the deaths of a large number of pro-democracy demonstrators, Bhumibol opened the gates of the Chitralada Palace to fleeing protesters, and held an audience with student leaders. Bhumibol subsequently appointed the Thammasat University Rector Sanya Dharmasakti as the new Prime Minister, replacing Thanom. Thanom subsequently moved to the United States and Singapore. A succession of civilian governments followed, but the return of Field Marshal Thanom and his ordination as a novice monk at Wat Bowonniwet in 1976 led to renewed conflict, culminating in the 6 October 1976 Massacre at Thammasat University by royalist paramilitary forces.

Prem Tinsulanond era

The ensuing chaos was used as a pretext for a military coup. The junta submitted three names to the king to choose from to become the next Premier: Deputy President of the king's Privy Council Prakob Hutasingh, right-wing Bangkok Governor Thamnoon Thien-ngern, and conservative Supreme Court judge Tanin Kraivixien.[35] Bhumibol chose Tanin as the most suitable. However, Tanin proved to be very right-wing himself, causing student protesters to flee to join the communists in the jungle. Tanin was himself overthrown in a military coup in October 1977 led by General Kriangsak Chomanan. Kriangsak was succeeded in 1980 by the popular Army Commander-in-Chief, General Prem Tinsulanond, later the Privy Council President.

Bhumibol's refusal to endorse military coups in 1981 (the April Fool's Day coup) and 1985 (the Share Rebellion) ultimately led to the victory of forces loyal to the government, despite some violence – including in 1981, the seizure of Bangkok by rebel forces. The coups led many to believe that Bhumibol had misjudged Thai society and that his credibility as an impartial mediator between various political and military factions had been compromised.[36] [37] [38]

Crisis of 1992

See main article: Black May (1992). In 1992, Bhumibol played a key role in Thailand's transition to a democratic system. A coup on 23 February 1991 returned Thailand back under military dictatorship. After a general election in 1992, the majority parties invited General Suchinda Kraprayoon, a leader of the coup group, to be the Prime Minister. This caused much dissent, which escalated into demonstrations that led to a large number of deaths when the military was brought in to control the protesters. The situation became increasingly critical as police and military forces clashed with the protesters. Violence and riot spread out in many areas of the capital with rumours of a rift among the armed forces.[39]

Amidst the fear of civil war, Bhumibol intervened. He summoned Suchinda and the leader of the pro-democracy movement, retired Major General Chamlong Srimuang, to a televised audience, urged them to find a peaceful resolution. At the height of the crisis, the sight of both men appearing together on their knees (in accordance with royal protocol) made a strong impression on the nation, and led to Suchinda's resignation soon afterwards.

It was one of the few occasions in which Bhumibol directly and publicly intervened in a political conflict. A general election was held shortly afterward, leading to a civilian government.[40]

2003 War on Drugs

In his 4 December 2002 speech on the eve of his birthday, King Bhumibol spoke about the rise in drug use, the high social costs and deaths caused by drugs, and called for a "War on Drugs."[41] Privy Councillor General Phichit Kunlawanit called on the Thaksin Shinawatra government to use its majority in parliament to establish a special court to deal with drug dealers, stating that “if we execute 60,000 the land will rise and our descendants will escape bad karma”.[42]

On 14 January 2003, Thaksin launched a campaign to rid "every square inch of the country" of drugs.[43] His War on Drugs campaign consisted of setting provincial arrest and seizure targets including "blacklists", awarding government officials for achieving targets and threatening punishment for those who failed to make the quota, targeting dealers, and "ruthless" implementation. In the first three months, Human Rights Watch reported that 2,275 people were killed, almost double the number normally killed in drug-related violence.[44] Human rights critics claimed a large number were extrajudicially executed.[45] [46] The War on Drugs was widely criticized by the international community.[47]

According to the Narcotics Control Board, the campaign was effective in reducing drug consumption, especially in schools.[48] The War on Drugs was one of the most popular policies of the Thaksin government. Bhumibol, in a 2003 birthday speech, praised Thaksin and criticized those who counted only dead drug dealers while ignoring deaths caused by drugs.[49]

Bhumibol also asked the commander of the police to investigate the killings.[50] Police Commander Sant Sarutanond reopened investigations into the deaths, and again claimed that few of the deaths were at the hands of the police.

After the 2006 coup, the military junta appointed a committee led by former Attorney General Kanit Na Nakorn to investigate deaths in the War on Drugs.[51] The committee found no evidence linking Thaksin or members of his government to any extrajudicial killings. However, critics claimed that the true findings of the committee were suppressed.[52]

While he was opposition leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva accused Thaksin of crimes against humanity for the War on Drugs. After he became Prime Minister, Abhisit opened an investigation led by former attorney-general Kampee Kaewcharoen, claiming that a successful probe could lead to prosecution by the International Criminal Court.[44] [53] [54] As of the August 2011 parliamentary elections, Abhisit's investigation failed to find or publicize any evidence linking Thaksin or members of his Government to any extrajudicial killings.

Crisis of 2005–2006 and the September 2006 coup

See main article: Thailand political crisis 2005-2006, Finland Plot and 2006 Thailand coup d'état.

Background to the coup

See also: Thailand political crisis 2005-2006. Weeks before the April 2006 legislative election, the Democrat Party-led opposition and the People's Alliance for Democracy petitioned Bhumibol to appoint a replacement prime minister and cabinet. Demands for royal intervention met with much criticism from the public. Bhumibol, in a speech on 26 April 2006, responded, "Asking for a Royally-appointed prime minister is undemocratic. It is, pardon me, a mess. It is irrational".[55]

After publicly claiming victory in the boycotted April parliamentary elections, Thaksin Shinawatra had a private audience with the king. A few hours later, Thaksin appeared on national television to announce that he would be taking a break from politics.

In May 2006, the Sondhi Limthongkul-owned Manager Daily newspaper published a series of articles describing the "Finland Plot", alleging that Thaksin and former members of the Communist Party of Thailand planned to overthrow the king and seize control of the nation. No evidence was ever produced to verify the existence of such a plot, and Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai party vehemently denied the accusations and sued the accusers.

In a rare, televised speech to senior judges, Bhumibol requested the judiciary to take action to resolve the political crisis.[55] On 8 May 2006, the Constitutional Court invalidated the results of the April elections and ordered new elections scheduled for 15 October 2006.[56] The Criminal Court later jailed the Election Commissioners.[57] [58]

On 14 July 2006, Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda addressed graduating cadets of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, telling them that the Thai military must serve the King – not the Government.[59]

On 20 July, Bhumibol signed a royal decree endorsing new House elections for 15 October 2006. In an unprecedented act, the King wrote a note on the royal decree calling for a clean and fair election. That very day, Bhumibol underwent spinal surgery.[60]

The coup

See also: 2006 Thailand coup. In the evening of 19 September, the Thai military overthrew the Thaksin government and seized control of Bangkok in a bloodless coup. The junta, led by the Sonthi Boonyaratglin, Commander of the Army, called itself the Council for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarchy, accused the deposed prime minister and his regime of many crimes, including lèse majesté, and pledged its loyalty to Bhumibol. Martial law was declared, the Constitution repealed and the October elections cancelled. Protests and political meetings were banned.[61] On 20 September, Bhumibol endorsed the coup, and ordered civil servants to take orders from Sonthi.

The King's role in the coup was the subject of much speculation among Thai analysts and the international media, although publication of such speculation was banned in Thailand. The King had an audience with Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda at the same time as the First Special Forces were ordered mobilised.[62] Anti-coup protesters claimed that Prem was a key mastermind of the coup, although the military claimed otherwise and banned any discussion of the topic. In a BBC interview, Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University noted, "This coup was nothing short of Thaksin versus the King... He is widely seen as having implicitly endorsed the coup." In the same interview, social critic Sulak Sivaraksa claimed, "Without his involvement, the coup would have been impossible." Sulak added that the King is "very skillful. He never becomes obviously involved. If this coup goes wrong, Sonthi will get the blame, but whatever happens, the King will only get praise."[63] On Saturday 23 September 2006, the junta warned they would "urgently retaliate against foreign reporters whose coverage has been deemed insulting to the monarchy."[64] The President of Bhumibol's Privy Council, General Prem Tinsulanonda, supported the coup. The junta later appointed Privy Council member General Surayud Chulanont as Prime Minister.

On 20 April 2009, Thaksin claimed in an interview with the Financial Times that Bhumibol had been briefed by Privy Councillors Prem Tinsulanonda and Surayud Chulanont about their plans to stage the 2006 coup. He claimed that General Panlop Pinmanee, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, had told him of the briefing.[65] [66] The Thai embassy in London denied Thaksin's claims.

After the coup

The junta appointed a Constitutional Tribunal to rule on the alleged poll fraud cases concerning the Thai Rak Thai and Democrat political parties. Guilty rulings would have dissolved both parties, Thailand's largest and oldest, respectively, and banned the parties' leadership from politics for five years. The weeks leading up to the verdicts saw rising political tensions. On 24 May 2007, about a week before the scheduled verdict, Bhumibol gave a rare speech to the Supreme Administrative Court (the President of which is also a member of the Constitutional Tribunal). "You have the responsibility to prevent the country from collapsing," he warned them in the speech, which was shown on all national television channels simultaneously during the evening. “The nation needs political parties.... In my mind, I have a judgment but I cannot say," he said. "Either way the ruling goes, it will be bad for the country, there will be mistakes."[67] [68] [69] The Tribunal later acquitted the Democrat Party but dissolved the Thai Rak Thai party and banned 111 of its executives from politics for five years.

The junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Assembly later tried to use the King in a propaganda campaign to increase public support for its widely criticised draft constitution. The CDA placed billboards saying, "Love the King. Care about the King. Vote in the referendum. throughout the Northeast of Thailand, where opposition to the junta was greatest.[70]

2008 crisis

See main article: 2008–2010 Thai political crisis. The military's constitution passed the referendum, and general election was held in December 2007. The People's Power Party, consisting of many former Thai Rak Thai Party MPs and supporters, won the majority and formed a government.[71] The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) refused to accept the election results and started protests, eventually laying siege to Government House, Don Muang Airport, and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Although the PAD claimed they were defending the monarchy, Bhumibol remained silent. However, after a PAD supporter died in a clash with police, Queen Sirikit presided over her cremation. Princess Sirindhorn, when asked at a US press conference whether the PAD was acting on behalf of the monarchy, replied, "I don't think so. They do things for themselves."[72] Questioning and criticism over Bhumibol's role in the crisis increased, particularly from the international press.[73] [74] [75] [76] [77] [78] [79] “It is more and more difficult for them to hold the illusion that the monarchy is universally adored,” says a Thai academic.[80]

In April 2008, Bhumibol appointed alleged coup plotter General Surayud Chulanont to Privy Council of Thailand. In the weeks leading up to 2011 general election, Bhumibol appointed Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pukbhasuk, a leader of the 2006 military coup, to his Privy Council.[81]

Bhumibol was admitted to Siriraj Hospital in September 2009 for flu and pneumonia.[82] Rumors about his ill-health caused Thai financial markets to tumble in October 2009.[83]

Royal powers

Constitutional powers

For a historical perspective on how Bhumibol's constitutional powers have changed over time, see the Constitutions of Thailand articleBhumibol retains enormous powers, partly because of his immense popularity and partly because his powers – although clearly defined in the Thai constitution – are often subject to conflicting interpretations. This was highlighted by the controversy surrounding the appointment of Jaruvan Maintaka as Auditor-General. Jaruvavn had been appointed by The State Audit Commission. However, the Constitutional Court ruled in July 2004 that her appointment was unconstitutional. Jaruvan refused to vacate her office without an explicit order from Bhumibol, on the grounds that she had previously been royally approved. When the Senate elected a replacement for Jaruvan, Bhumibol refused to approve him.[84] The Senate declined to vote to override Bhumibol's veto.[85] Finally in February 2006 the Audit Commission reinstated Jaruvan when it became clear from a memo from the Office of the King's Principal Private Secretary that King Bhumibol supported her appointment.

Bhumibol has vetoed legislation very rarely. In 1976, when the Parliament voted 149–19 to extend democratic elections down to district levels, Bhumibol refused to sign the law.[86] The Parliament refused to vote to overturn the King's veto. In 1954, Bhumibol vetoed parliamentary-approved land reform legislation twice before consenting to sign it.[87] The law limited the maximum land an individual could hold to 50 rai (80000m2), at a time when the Crown Property Bureau was the Kingdom's largest land-owner. The law was not enforced as General Sarit soon overthrew the elected government in a coup and repealed the law.

Bhumibol has the constitutional prerogative to pardon criminals, although there are several criteria for receiving a pardon, including age and remaining sentence. The 2006 pardoning of several convicted paedophiles, including an Australian rapist and child pornographer, caused controversy.[88] [89] [90] However under the Thailand Constitution, the King has the prerogative to grant a pardon and all laws, Royal Prescripts and Royal Commands relating to State affairs must be countersigned by a Minister unless otherwise provided in this Constitution. The pardon list is created and proposed by the government official, which was under the Shinawatra's 2006 government.

Network monarchy and extraconstitutional powers

Several academics outside of Thailand, including Duncan McCargo and Federico Ferrara have noted the active political involvement of Bhumibol through a "network monarchy," whose most significant proxy is Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanond. McCargo claimed that Bhumibol's deeply conservative network worked behind the scenes to establish political influence in the 1990s, but was deeply threatened by the landslide election victories of Thaksin Shinawatra in 2001 and 2005.[91] Ferrara claimed, shortly before the Thai Supreme Court delivered its verdict to seize Thaksin Shinawatra's assets, that the judiciary was a well-established part of Bhumibol's network and represented his main avenue to exercise extra-constitutional prerogatives despite having the appearance of being constitutional. He also noted how, in comparison to the Constitutional Court's 2001 acquittal of Thaksin, the judiciary was a much more important part of the "network" than it was in the past.[92]

The network's ability to exercise power is based partly on Bhumibol's popularity and strict control of Bhumibol's popular image. Bhumibol's popularity was demonstrated following the 2003 Phnom Penh riots in Cambodia, when hundreds of Thai protesters, enraged by rumors that Cambodian rioters had stomped on photographs of Bhumibol, gathered outside the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok. Photographs of the stomping were not published in Thailand, but were available on the internet. The situation was resolved peacefully only when Police General Sant Sarutanonda told the crowd that he had received a call from royal secretary Arsa Sarasin conveying Bhumibol's request for calm. The crowd dispersed.[93]

Royal projects

History

Bhumibol has been involved in many social and economic development projects. The nature of his involvement has varied by political regime.[94]

The government of Plaek Pibulsonggram (1951–1957) limited Bhumibol to a ceremonial role. During that period Bhumibol produced some films and operated a radio station from Chitlada Palace using his own personal funds.

In the military governments of Sarit Dhanarajata and his successors (1958–1980), Bhumibol was re-portrayed as the "Development King" and the inspiration of the economic and political goals of the regime. Royally-ordered projects were implemented under the financial and political support of the government, including projects in rural areas and communities under the influence of the Communist Party of Thailand. Bhumibol's visits to these projects were heavily promoted by the Sarit government and broadcast on the state-controlled media.

During the governments of General Prem Tinsulanond (1981–1987), the relationship between the Thai state and the monarch was at its closest. Prem, later to become President of Bhumibol's Privy Council, officially allocated government budgets and manpower to support royal projects. Most activities in this period involved the development of large scale irrigation projects in rural areas.

During the modern period (post-1988), the structured development of the Royal Projects reached its apex. Bhumibol's Chaipattana Foundation was established, promoting his "sufficiency economy" theory, an alternative to the export-oriented policies adopted by the period's elected governments. Following the 2006 coup, establishment of a "sufficiency economy" was enshrined in the constitution as being a primary goal of the government, and government financial support for royal projects boomed.

Example projects

Awards

Bhumibol has received numerous royal and state orders as befitting of his stature. In addition, the king was awarded the William J. Donovan Medal, Award of Friendship OSS, New York, U.S.A.presented by the Office of Strategic Services (soon to be CIA) on 29 October 1987.[96]

Bhumibol, who serves as head of The National Scout Organization of Thailand, was presented the Bronze Wolf award on 20 June 2006, the highest award of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, for his support and development of Scouting in Thailand by Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden and Honorary President of the World Scout Foundation. The presentation took place at Chitralada Palace in Thailand and was witnessed by Chairman of the World Scout Committee Herman Hui.

In May 2006, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, presented the United Nations' first and only Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to Bhumibol.[97]

Bhumibol set a world record for receiving the greatest number of honorary university degrees (136) in 1997.[98] Most of his degrees came from Thai universities: for instance, Kasetsart University awarded him ten honorary doctoral degrees at once.

60th Anniversary celebrations

See main article: 60th Anniversary Celebrations of Bhumibol Adulyadej's Accession. Also called the Diamond Jubilee, the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty the King's Accession to the Throne were a series of events marking Bhumibol's reign. Events included the royal barge procession on the Chao Phraya River, fireworks displays, art exhibitions, pardoning 25,000 prisoners,[99] concerts and dance performances.

Tied in with the anniversary, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented Bhumibol with the United Nations Development Programme's first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award on 26 May 2006. National holidays were on 9 June and 12–13 June 2006. On 9 June, the King and Queen appeared on the balcony of Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall before hundreds of thousands of people. The official royal barge procession on 12 June was attended by the King and Queen and royal visitors from 26 other countries. On 13 June, a state banquet for the royal visitors was held in the newly constructed Rama IX Throne Hall at the Grand Palace, the first official function for the hall. The Chiang Mai Royal Flora Expo was also held to honour the anniversary.

On 16 January 2007, the CDRM officially declared the end of the 60th anniversary celebrations and commenced year-long celebrations of Bhumibol's 80th birthday.[100]

Private life

Bhumibol is a painter, musician, photographer, author and translator. His book Phra Mahachanok is based on a traditional Jataka story of Buddhist scripture. The Story of Thong Daeng is the story of his dog Thong Daeng.[101]

In his youth, Bhumibol was greatly interested in firearms. He kept a carbine, a Sten gun, and two automatic pistols in his bedroom, and he and his elder brother, King Ananda Mahidol, often used the gardens of the palace for target practice.[102]

There are two English language books that provide extensive detail – albeit not always verifiable – about Bhumibol's life, especially his early years and then throughout his entire reign. One is The Revolutionary King by William Stevenson, the other is The King Never Smiles by Paul M. Handley. A third and earlier work, The Devil's Discus, is also available in Thai and English. All three books are banned in Thailand.

Bhumibol's creativity in, among other things, music, art, and invention, was the focus of a 2 minute long documentary created by the government of Abhibisit Vejjajiva that was screened at all branches of the Major Cineplex Group and SF Cinema City, the two largest cinema chains in Thailand.[103]

Health

Bhumibol suffers from lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the canal that contains the spinal cord and nerve roots, which results in back and leg pain and numbness in the legs. He received a microsurgical decompression in July 2006.[104] [105]

Bhumibol was taken to Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital on 13 October 2007, complaining he felt weak down his right side; doctors later found out through scans that he had a blood shortage to his brain.[106] He was discharged on 7 November 2007.[107]

On 19 September 2009, he was once again admitted to Siriraj Hospital, apparently with the flu and pneumonia. US diplomatic cables from 2009, published by Wikileaks in 2011, reported that the king is suffering from Parkinson's disease and depression.[108] His youngest daughter HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak confirmed in an April 2011 television interview that the king remains in the hospital.[109]

On 17 November 2011, Bhumibol was diagnosed with diverticulitis while being confined in Siriraj Hospital. He is also forced to remain in fast until the disease is cured, the Bureau of the Royal Household announced.[110] He received further treatment for the condition in January 2012.

Music

Bhumibol is an accomplished jazz musician and composer, particularly for his works on the alto saxophone. He was the first Asian composer awarded honorary membership of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna at the age of 32.[111] He used to play jazz music on air on the Or Sor radio station. In his travels, he has played with such jazz legends as Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. His songs can often be heard at social gatherings and concerts. In 2003, the University of North Texas College of Music awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Music. The king's abilities as a jazz musician were mentioned by Aunt Jenny (Imogene Coca) in an episode of The Brady Bunch titled "Jan's Aunt Jenny", which originally aired on 21 January 1972.[112]

Sailing

Bhumibol is an accomplished sailor and sailboat designer.[113] He won a gold medal for sailing in the Fourth Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1967, together with HRH Princess Ubol Ratana whom he tied for points.[114] This accomplishment is all the more remarkable given Bhumibol's lack of binocular depth perception. Bhumibol has also sailed the Gulf of Thailand from Hua Hin to Toey Harbour in Sattahip, covering 60nmi in a 14-hour journey on the "Vega 1," an OK Class dinghy he built.[102]

Like his father, a former military naval engineer, Bhumibol was an avid boat designer and builder. He produced several small sail-boat designs in the International Enterprise, OK, and Moth Classes. His designs in the Moth class include the “Mod,” “Super Mod,” and “Micro Mod.”[115]

Patents

Bhumibol is the only Thai monarch to hold a patent.[116] [117] He obtained one in 1993 for a waste water aerator named "Chai Pattana", and several patents on rainmaking since 1955: the "sandwich" rainmaking patent in 1999 and lately the "supersandwich" patent in 2003.[118] [119] [120]

Wealth

Estimates of the post-devaluation (circa 1997–1998) wealth of the royal household range from 10 billion to 20 billion USD.[121] In August 2008, Forbes came out with its 2008 version of The World's Richest Royals. King Bhumibol took first place on the list with an estimated wealth of $35 billion.[122] A few days later the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand issued a statement that the Forbes report erred in attributing wealth owned by the Crown Property Bureau (CPB) solely to Bhumibol.[123] In the 2009 version of its list, Forbes acknowledged the government's objections, but justified the continued inclusion of the CPB's assets on the ground that Bhumibol was its trustee.[7] The 2009 estimate was down to $30 billion due to declines in real estate and stocks.[7]

The wealth and properties of Bhumibol and the royal family are managed by the Crown Property Bureau and the Privy Purse. The CPB was established by law but is managed independently of the Thai Government and reports only to Bhumibol.[102] [124]

Through the CPB, Bhumibol and the royal family own land and equity in many companies and massive amounts of land, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok.[125] The CPB is the majority shareholder of Siam Cement (the largest Thai industrial conglomerate), Christiani & Nielsen (one of the largest Thai construction firms), Deves Insurance (which holds a monopoly on government property insurance and contract insurance), Siam Commercial Bank (one of the largest Thai banks), and Shin Corporation (a major Thai telecommunications firm, through the CPB's holdings in Siam Commercial Bank). The CPB also rents or leases about 36,000 properties to third parties, including the sites of the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, Siam Paragon and the Central World Tower. The CPB spearheaded a plan to turn Bangkok’s historical Rajadamnoen Avenue into a shopping street known as the “Champs-Élysées of Asia” and in 2007, shocked longtime residents of traditional marketplace districts by serving them with eviction notices.[126] Bhumibol's substantial income from the CPB, estimated to be at least five billion baht in 2004 alone, is exempt from taxes.[126] [127] The CPB receives many state privileges. Although the Ministry of Finance technically runs the CPB, decisions are made solely by Bhumibol. The CPB's annual report is for the eye of Bhumibol alone; the annual report is not released to the public.[126]

In addition, Bhumibol has numerous personal investments independent of the CPB. He is personally the majority shareholder of the Thai Insurance Company and Sammakorn, as well as many other companies.[128] He currently holds 30% in Siam Cement,[129] and 20% in the Siam Commercial Bank.[130]

The CPB has a fleet of three aircraft for the use of the royal family, including a Boeing 737-800 and an Airbus A319. The newer Airbus had been purchased by the Thaksin Shinawatra government for government use, but after the 2006 coup, the junta offered it to the king. The other planes are used by members of the royal family.[131]

Among other vehicles, Bhumibol owns two custom-built stretch limousines from LCW Automotive Corp.[132] The Golden Jubilee Diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world, was given to him by businessman Henry Ho.

Lèse majesté

Scope of the law

Although Bhumibol is held in great respect by many Thais, he is also protected by lèse majesté laws which allow critics to be jailed for three to fifteen years.[133] The laws were toughened during the dictatorship of royalist Premier Tanin Kraivixien, such that criticism of any member of the royal family, the royal development projects, the royal institution, the Chakri Dynasty, or any previous Thai King was also banned.[134] Jail terms for Thai citizens committing lèse majesté are usually harsher than for foreigners.

Politician Veera Musikapong was jailed and banned from politics for lèse majesté, despite the palace's opinion that the remarks were harmless. Frenchman Lech Tomacz Kisielwicz refused to switch off a reading light on a Thai Airways flight he shared with two Thai princesses and was jailed under lèse majesté for two weeks after his flight landed in Bangkok.[135] He was acquitted after apologizing to the King. Thossaporn Ruethaiprasertsung was arrested and charged with lèse majesté for making photocopies of leaflets with contents allegedly against the monarchy and the Privy Council.[136]

In 2009, Daranee "Da Torpedo" Chanchoengsilpakul was sentenced to 18 years in prison without suspension for "intending to insult" Bhumibol and Sirikit at a political protest.[137] She did not actually mention the monarchs in her speech (she criticized, among other things, the "ruling class"), however, the court ruled that the prosecution "brought evidence that makes it possible to interpret that the defendant meant the King and Queen Sirikit."[138] Social critic Sulak Sivaraksa has been charged several times with lèse majesté, but has always been acquitted.

Arrests have also occurred for sending text messages (SMSs) criticizing Bhumibol – although Bhumibol was not the recipient of the messages.[139]

During the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva, numerous people were charged with insulting Bhumibol using body language.[140]

There is controversy over whether criticism of members of Bhumibol's Privy Council also qualifies as criticism of Bhumibol.[141] Police Special Branch Commander Lt-General Theeradech Rodpho-thong refused to file charges of lèse majesté against activists who launched a petition to oust Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, claiming that the law only applied to members of the royal family.[142] Two days later, he was demoted by Police Commander Seripisut Temivavej.[143] During the Songkran 2009 unrest, Thaksin Shinawatra accused the Privy Council President of masterminding the 2006 military coup. Royalists interpreted this as an attack on Bhumibol.

The website of Same Sky Books, publishers of Fah Diao Kan magazine, was shut down by the military government after comments on its bulletin board questioned claims made by the Thai media that the entire country was in mourning over the death of Princess Galyani Vadhana.[144]

During his 2005 birthday speech, Bhumibol invited criticism; a widespread barrage of criticisms resulted, followed by a sharp rise in lese majeste prosecutions. "Actually, I must also be criticised. I am not afraid if the criticism concerns what I do wrong, because then I know. Because if you say the king cannot be criticised, it means that the king is not human", he claimed. "If the king can do no wrong, it is akin to looking down upon him because the king is not being treated as a human being. But the king can do wrong."[145] Lese majeste cases rose from five or six a year pre-2005 to 478 in 2010.[146]

Calls to reform the lese majeste laws have themselves resulted in charges with lèse majesté.[147] Political scientist Giles Ungpakorn noted that "the lèse majesté laws are not really designed to protect the institution of the monarchy. In the past the laws have been used to protect governments, to protect military coups. This whole [royal] image is created to bolster a conservative elite well beyond the walls of the palace."[148]

In 2011 an American citizen, Joe Gordon (Lerpong Wichaikhammat), was arrested on charges he insulted the country's monarchy, in part by posting a link on his blog to a banned book about the ailing king. He is also suspected of translating, from English into Thai, portions of The King Never Smiles – and posting them online along with articles he wrote that allegedly defame the royal family.[149] "I want President Obama and Hillary Clinton to intervene on on my behalf," he is quoted as saying.[150] On 9 December 2011, a court in Thailand sentenced Joe Gordon to two and a half years in prison for defaming the country's royal family by translating excerpts of a locally banned biography of the king and posting them online[www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57339098/thailand-jails-u.s-man-for-insulting-king/].

Political use of the lèse majesté law

Lèse majesté has often been used to silence discussion about Bhumibol's role in politics, particular after the 2006 coup. Dozens of radio stations have been shut down due to alleged insults.[151] As of December 2010, nearly 60,000 websites have been banned for alleged insults against Bhumibol. Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster of news website Prachatai, has been jailed without bail for nearly a year for not removing an allegedly insulting comment from an article fast enough. Although the comments did not directly mention Bhumibol or members of his family, the court found that Chiranuch displayed insulting intent. Arrested in September 2010, she could face up to 50 years imprisonment if found guilty.[152] [153]

Premier Thaksin Shinawatra and royalist activist Sondhi Limthongkul both filed charges of lèse majesté against each other during the 2005–2006 political crisis. Thaksin's alleged lèse majesté was one of the stated reasons for the Thai military's 2006 coup.[154] [155] [156] [157]

In 2005, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) issued arrest warrants for two Swedish citizens, Abdulrosa Jehngoh and Chipley Putra Jehngoh, claiming that their Manusaya.com website contained content insulting to Bhumibol.[158] [159]

After the 2006 coup, there were an increasing number of claims that Bhumibol or his advisers knew of the 2006 coup before it actually occurred. Such lines of thought was suppressed with the lese majeste law: the number of people jailed for this alleged "insult" skyrocketed to an unprecedented number.[160]

In May 2008, Minister Jakrapob Penkair of the People's Power Party resigned due to a lese majeste charge against him for statements during the interview in Bangkok's Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) on 29 August 2007..

Academics have been investigated, imprisoned, and forced into exile for lèse majesté. In 2007, Assistant Professor Boonsong Chaisingkananon of Silpakorn University was the subject of a police investigation for asking students in an exam if the institution of the monarchy was necessary for Thai society and if it could be reformed to be consistent with the democratic system. The university handed in students' answer sheets and the professor's marks.[161] Prominent historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul was arrested for proposing an eight-point plan on the reform of the monarchy. Somsak claimed that he never proposed to overthrow the monarchy and never insulted Bhumibol personally.[162] [163] Associate Professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn went into exile after his book, A Coup for the Rich, questioned Bhumibol's role in the 2006 coup.[164]

Australian Harry Nicolaides was arrested upon arriving in Thailand and sentenced for 3 years in jail for self-publishing the book Verisimilitude. The book, which sold a mere 7 copies, mentioned the "romantic entanglements and intrigues" of members of the royalty. Nicolaides was given a pardon after spending a month in jail and then deported.[165]

Jonathan Head, the head of the Bangkok bureau of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was accused of lese majeste on numerous occasions, and eventually fled to Turkey. Among his alleged insults was authoring an article where he investigated whether Bhumibol or his advisers provided backing to People's Alliance for Democracy and allowing a picture of a politician to be placed above a picture of King Bhumibol on a BBC Web site.[166] [167]

Australian foreign correspondent Eric Campbell and the entire Bangkok bureau of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation were banned from entering Thailand after they aired an investigation of Bhumibol's role in the military's violent 2010 crackdown on protesters. The report was broadcast only in Australia on the Foreign Correspondent series.

Amnesty International considers anyone jailed for insulting Bhumibol to be a political prisoner.[168]

Insults to Bhumibol's image

Acts deemed insulting to Bhumibol's image are also criminal offences in Thailand. In 2007, Oliver Jufer, a Swiss man, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for daubing black paint on portraits of Bhumibol while drunk.[169] The Thai press was requested not to publish any information about the case. "This is a delicate issue and we don't want the public to know much about it," noted chief prosecutor Manoon Moongpanchon.[170] The man originally pleaded innocent, but eventually pleaded guilty to five acts of lèse majesté. Foreign reporters were barred from the hearing.[171] Saprang Kalayanamitr publicly suspected that Jufer was hired to perform the vandalism and ordered a military investigation.[172] Jufer was pardoned by the king less than a month after his conviction and deported.

Suwicha Thakor was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison, later commuted to 10, for posting a picture on an internet web board that was deemed insulting to Bhumibol, in violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code and violating the Computer Crime Act of 2007. The CCA was passed by the military junta that followed 2006 coup; Suwicha's conviction was the first time that it had been successfully used to prosecute lèse majesté.[173] [174]

Other insults to Bhumibol's image that have resulted in arrests for lèse majesté include placing photographs of anybody above photographs of the king on websites and not standing while the Royal Anthem is played at cinemas.[175] [176]

Internet blocking measures

The government through the Office of Prevention and Suppression of Information Technology Crimes maintains a "war room" where about a dozen computer specialists monitor the content of the internet for pages which disparage the monarchy or pose a threat to national security. A web crawler is used to search widely. When an offending image or language is found the office obtains a court order blocking the site. As of 2011 70,000 pages had been blocked over a four-year period.[177] On 4 April 2007, the Thai government blocked Thai access to YouTube as a result of a video clip which it deemed insulting to the king.[178] [179] Various leaders of the military junta claimed that the clip was an attempt to undermine the monarchy, attack Thailand as a country, and threaten national security.[180] On 28 October 2008, The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) announced plans to spend about 100 million to 500 million baht to build a gateway to block websites with contents defaming the royal institution.[181] "More than 4,800 webpages have been blocked since March last year, an ICT official told AFP, notionally because they contain content deemed insulting to Thailand's deeply-revered royal family."[182]

On 29 April 2010, Wipas Raksakulthai was arrested following a post to his Facebook account allegedly insulting Bhumibol.[183] The arrest was reportedly the first lèse majesté charge against a Thai Facebook user.[184] In response, Amnesty International named Wipas Thailand's first prisoner of conscience in nearly three decades.[185]

Biographies

American journalist Paul Handley, who spent thirteen years in Thailand, wrote the biography The King Never Smiles. The Information and Communications Ministry banned the book and blocked the book's page on the Yale University Press website in January 2006. In a statement dated 19 January 2006, Thai National Police Chief General Kowit Wattana said the book has "contents which could affect national security and the good morality of the people."[186] The book provides a detailed discussion of Bhumibol's role in Thai political history and also analyzes the factors behind Bhumibol's popularity.

William Stevenson, who had access to the Royal Court and the Royal Family, wrote the biography The Revolutionary King in 2001.[187] An article in Time says the idea for the book was suggested by Bhumibol.[188] Critics noted that the book displays intimate knowledge about personal aspects of Bhumibol. However, the book has been unofficially banned in Thailand and the Bureau of the Royal Household warned the Thai media about even referring to it in print. An official ban was not possible as it was written with Bhumibol's blessing. The book has been criticised for factual inaccuracies, disrespecting Bhumibol (it refers to him by his personal nickname "Lek"), and proposing a controversial theory explaining the death of King Ananda. Stevenson said, "The king said from the beginning the book would be dangerous for him and for me."[188]

Succession to the throne

Bhumibol's only son, Prince Vajiralongkorn, was given the title "Somdej Phra Boroma Orasadhiraj Chao Fah Maha Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman" (Crown Prince of Siam) on 28 December 1972 and made heir apparent (องค์รัชทายาท) to the throne in accordance with the Palace Law on Succession of 1924.[189]

On 5 December 1977, Princess Sirindhorn was given the title "Siam Boromrajakumari" (Princess Royal of Siam). Her title is often translated by the English-language press as "Crown Princess", although her official English-language title is simply "Princess".[190]

Although the constitution was later amended to allow the Privy Council to appoint a princess as successor to the throne, this would only occur in the absence of an heir apparent. This amendment is retained in Section 23 of the 1997 "People's Constitution." This effectively allowed Princess Sirindhorn to potentially be second in line to the throne, but did not affect Prince Vajiralongkorn's status as heir apparent.

Recent constitutions of Thailand have made the amendment of the Palace Law of Succession the sole prerogative of the reigning king. According to Gothom Aryan, former election commissioner, this allows the reigning king, if he so chooses, to appoint his son or any of his daughters to the throne.[191]

Titles and styles

Royal Name:King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Rama IX of Thailand
Dipstyle:His Royal Majesty
Offstyle:Your Royal Majesty
Altstyle:Sir

King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Thai full title is "Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahitalathibet Ramathibodi Chakkrinaruebodin Sayamminthrathirat Borommanatbophit" (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาภูมิพลอดุลยเดช มหิตลาธิเบศรรามาธิบดี จักรีนฤบดินทร สยามินทราธิราช บรมนาถบพิตร;), which is referred to in the chief legal documents; and in general documents, the title is shorthened to "Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Sayamminthrathirat Borommanatbophit" or just "Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej."

The literal translation of the title is as follows:[192]

See also

Literature

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: 1996. A Royal Occasion speeches. Worldhop. Journal. 5 July 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060512194220/http://www.worldhop.com/Journals/J5/ROYAL.HTM. 12 May 2006.
  2. News: Fears for Thai monarch set stockmarket tumbling for second day. The Guardian. London. 15 October 2009. 13 April 2010. Ben. Doherty.
  3. Book: Handley, Paul M.. The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press. 2006. 136–137. 0-300-10682-3.
  4. Book: Thak Chaloemtiarana. Thailand: The Politics of Despotic Paternalism. Social Science Association of Thailand. 1979. 98.
  5. Web site: 5 December 2005. Royal Birthday Address: 'King Can Do Wrong'. National Media. 26 September 2007.
  6. .
  7. News: The World's Richest Royals. Forbes. Tatiana. Serafin. 17 June 2009.
  8. Tatiana Serafin, “The world’s richest royals”, Forbes, 7 July 2010.
  9. http://www.crownproperty.or.th/en/social.php?c=1 The Crown Property Bureau – Youth Development
  10. http://www.hasekamp.net/king.htm Some information about HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej
  11. Channel News Asia, Thais celebrate Queen's birthday as govt investigates monarchy threat, 12 August
  12. Web site: Biography of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
  13. Book: Wimuttanon, Suvit (ed.). Amazing Thailand (special collector's edition). World Class Publishing. 2001. 33. 974-91020-3-7.
  14. Web site: 1999. Biography of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Golden Jubilee Network. Kanchanapisek Network. 5 August 2006.
  15. Handley, Paul M (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, pp. 78–9. ISBN 0-300-10682-3.
  16. Web site: Bhirom Bhakdi. Soravij. Queens of the Chakri Dynasty. 1 August 2006.
  17. Web site: 5 December 2005. The Making of a Monarch. Bangkok Post. 12 July 2006.
  18. Handley, Paul M (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, p. 104. ISBN 0-300-10682-3.
  19. Web site: Khun Poom Jensen, Son of Princess Ubolratana. Soravij.com. 24 November 2007.
  20. Web site: Royal Power Controversy. 2Bangkok.com. 4 January 2007.
  21. http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/royal-regalia_utensils.html Royal Regalia and Royal Utensils of Siam
  22. Web site: 2006. Thailand Monarchy. Thailand Travel and Tours. 26 September 2007.
  23. Head, Jonathan. Why Thailand's king is so revered, BBC News, 5 December 2007. Accessed 11 May 2008.
  24. Book: Handley, Paul M.. The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press. 2006. 129–130, 136–137. 0-300-10682-3.
  25. Book: Suwannathat-Pian, Kobkua. Thailand's Durable Premier. Oxford University Press. 1995. 30. 967-65-3053-0.
  26. 16 September 1957. The Proclamation Imposing Martial Law throughout the Kingdom. The Government Gazette of Thailand. 74. 76.
  27. 16 September 1957. The Proclamation Appointing the Military Defender. The Government Gazette of Thailand. 74. 76.
  28. Web site: Evans. Dr. Grant. citing Christine Gray. 1998. The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance: Laos since 1975. Laosnet.org. 5 July 2006.
  29. Book: Evans, Dr. Grant. The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance: Laos since 1975. University of Hawaii Press. 1998. 89–113. 0-8248-2054-1.
  30. Web site: Klinkajorn. Karin. Creativity and Settings of Monuments and Sites in Thailand: Conflicts and Resolution. PDF. International Council on Monuments and Sites. 5 July 2006.
  31. http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2503/D/043/1452.PDF ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง ให้ถือวันพระราชสมภพ เป็นวันเฉลิมฉลองของชาติไทย
  32. Thongthong Chandrangsu, A Constitutional Legal Aspect of the King's Prerogatives (M.A. thesis) Chulalongkorn University, 1986, page 160
  33. ใจ อึ๊งภากรณ์, บทความ รศ.ใจ อึ๊งภากรณ์ วิจารณ์ : The King Never Smiles, 14 ธันวาคม 2549
  34. ทักษ์ เฉลิมเตียรณ, การเมืองระบบพ่อขุนอุปถัมภ์แบบเผด็จการ, สำนักพิมพ์มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์ 2525
  35. Web site: 2 February 2007. His Gracious Majesty. The Nation. 25 September 2007.
  36. Michael Schmicker, Asian Wall Street Journal, 23 December 1982
  37. สุลักษณ์ ศิวรักษ์, "ลอกคราบสังคมไทย", กรุงเทพฯ: หนังสือไทย, 2528
  38. Anonymous, "The Chakri Dynasty and Thai Politics, 1782–1982", cited in Book: Handley, Paul M.. The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press. 2006. 298. 0-300-10682-3.
  39. Web site: 2000. Development Without Harmony. Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization. 26 September 2007.
  40. Web site: 2000. BIOGRAPHY of Chamlong Srimuang. The 1992 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. 26 September 2007.
  41. The Royal Jubilee Network, พระราชดำรัส พระราชทานแก่คณะบุคคลต่างๆ ที่เข้าเฝ้าฯ ถวายชัยมงคล ในโอกาสวันเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา ณ ศาลาดุสิดาลัย สวนจิตรลดา พระราชวังดุสิตฯ วันพุธที่ ๔ ธันวาคม พ.ศ. ๒๕๔๕ (ฉบับไม่เป็นทางการ)
  42. Michael K. Connors, Ambivalent About Rights: “Accidental” Killing Machines, Democracy and Coups D’etat., Draft paper presented to Human Rights in Asia Workshop, University of Melbourne, 1–2 October 2009.
  43. Anucha Yuwadee, Bangkok Post, 15 January 2003
  44. National News Bureau of Thailand, Academics call for law to prosecute Thaksin in World Court, 28 June 2010
  45. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9405E7DF1038F93BA35757C0A9659C8B63 "A Wave of Drug Killings Is Linked to Thai Police"
  46. [Amnesty International]
  47. News: March 2003 DRUG-RELATED KILLINGS: Verify the toll, say diplomats. The Nation. 4 March 2003.
  48. http://www.mapinc.org/newscsdp/v05/n471/a09.html Thailand: Public Senses War On Drugs Futile
  49. Web site: พระราชดำรัส พระราชทานแก่คณะบุคคลต่างๆ ที่เข้าเฝ้าฯ ถวายชัยมงคล ในโอกาสวันเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา ณ ศาลาดุสิดาลัย สวนจิตรลดา พระราชวังดุสิตฯ วันพฤหัสบดีที่ ๔ ธันวาคม พ.ศ. ๒๕๔๖ (ฉบับไม่เป็นทางการ). ไอ้การชัยชนะของการปราบไอ้ยา​เสพติดนี่​ ​ดีที่ปราบ​ ​แล้ว​ก็ที่​เขา​ตำ​หนิบอกว่า​ ​เอ้ย​ ​คนตาย​ ​ตั้ง​ ๒,๕๐๐ ​คน​ ​อะ​ไรนั่น​ ​เรื่อง​เล็ก​ ๒,๕๐๐ ​คน​ ​ถ้า​นายกฯ​ ​ไม่​ได้​ทำ​ ​นายกฯ​ ​ไม่​ได้​ทำ​ ​ทุกปี​ ​ๆ​ ​จด​ไว้​นะ​ ​มีมากกว่า​ ๒,๕๐๐ ​คนที่ตาย​ ​ที่ตาย​ทั้ง​คนที่​เสพติด​ ​แล้ว​ก็ขึ้นไป​ ​ฆ่าคน​ ​หรือ​ทำ​อะ​ไร​ ​เผาอะ​ไรต่าง​ ​ๆ​ ​รวม​ทั้ง​เจ้าหน้าที่ที่​ต้อง​ไปปราบปกติ​ ​ก็ตายมากเหมือน​กัน​ ​แต่​ไม่​พูด​เท่า​นั้น​เอง​ ​ไม่​ไปนับ​ ​แต่นี้​เขา​ก็นับไปชี้​ ​ชี้​ ​ชี้นับ​ ​พวกที่ค้า​ ​พวกที่ทำ​ ​ก็ตายเยอะ​เหมือน​กัน​ ​ก่อนนี้​ ​แต่​ไม่​พูด​ถึง​ ​เชื่อว่าพอๆ​ ​กับ​ที่​ได้​จดว่า​ ​มี​ผู้​ที่ตาย​ใน​การสงครามต่อสู้ยา​เสพติด​ ​ที่ทราบว่าคนตาย​ ​เพราะ​ยา​เสพติดนี่​ ​มากมาย​. The Golden Jubilee Network. 2003.
  50. Royal Jubilee Network, 2003 Birthday Speech of King Bhumibol Adulyadej
  51. http://bangkokpost.net/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=120634 "Kanit to chair extrajudicial killings probe"
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    Tanin, a former Supreme Court justice, reinterpreted this as a blanket ban against criticism of royal development projects, the royal institution, the Chakri Dynasty, or any Thai King. See David Streckfuss. Kings in the Age of Nations: The Paradox of Lèse-Majesté as Political Crime in Thailand. Comparative Studies in Society and History. 33. 3. 445–475. The reinterpretation has stood to the present day.

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