You may have seen it appear in your feed if you are signed up to Twitter. The social network launched a new emoji on Thursday, April 8 depicting a glass with a straw, on a brown gradient. This new emoji represents the “milk tea alliance” or “the alliance of tea with milk”, a movement bringing together pro-democracy activists in Asia.
“Today we launched an emoji for #MilkTeaAlliance, a solidarity alliance launched in April 2020 as a meme on Twitter, and which has become a global movement for democracy, led by activists and concerned citizens in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Burma and around the world, “an official social network account tweeted.
The image will now appear in any tweet that contains the hashtag. #MilkTeaAlliance in English, Thai, Korean, and several other Asian languages.
Differentiate from China
In fact, this alliance of tea with milk was born last year with “memes”, an English word that designates funny and funny images published on social networks. These images denounced or mocked Chinese authoritarianism, defending the union of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand, united by their taste for this sweet drink.
As explained The world, Activists highlight a popular way to consume tea – with milk in Hong Kong, ice cream and tapioca balls in Taiwan, sweet in Thailand – that differentiate them from the way tea is consumed in China, where it is taken rather simply.
Pro-democracy activists in Taiwan and Hong Kong were already inspiring each other, reports The world. But the movement gained momentum in the fall when Thai activists, demanding reform of the government and the monarchy, also began to learn techniques from the people of Hong Kong.
The movement later spread to Burma., where the tea with condensed milk forms the base of the breakfast. After the February 1 military coup that toppled Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, the protesters were inspired by their more or less close neighbors and joined the alliance.
Internet closures to slow down the movement
#MilkTeaAlliance was employed on Twitter more than 11 million times since April 2020, according to the social network, and has seen a new increase after the coup in Burma. The military regime ordered nightly internet shutdowns and banned various social networks in an attempt to weaken the anti-junta movement.
“We are convinced that Free Internet access is an essential right. and we continue to be defenders and staunch defenders of freedom of expression and we condemn #InternetShutdowns ”, said Twitter accompanying its publication with the new emoji.
This decision follows the Recognition of social movements on Twitter #MeToo, to report sexual violence and #BlackLivesMatter, to report police violence against African Americans.