I refer to the article headlined 'Thailand's quiet crackdown' (South China Morning Post, March 7), concerning the plans by Falun Gong members to hold an international conference in Bangkok, which requires clarification.
I refer, in particular, to the assertion that 'calls from Thailand's press to uphold the principles of the Thai constitution have been ignored by the new Government in favour of appeasing Beijing'.
I would like to point out the following facts:
Thailand, as an open society like Hong Kong, has always permitted the holding of any religious gathering of any faith as long as our laws and regulations are obeyed and such gatherings do not undermine our national security interests and our friendly relations with other countries.
It is true that certain groups of people in Thailand have voiced their concerns over the holding of this conference in Thailand. However, this airing of dissenting opinions is a normal occurrence in any democracy, whether Thailand or Hong Kong, where people are free to express their opinions.
In this instance, the conference was cancelled by the organisers themselves for reasons already stated in the article.
Given what I have said, the claim that the cancellation of the Falun Gong conference showed that the Thai Government ignored calls to uphold the principles of the Thai constitution, is inconsistent with the facts.
Royal Thai Consulate