Thailand’s King Pumipon Adulyadej died on October 13 aged 88, after more than 70 years on the throne. Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn has been in exile since he was charged with lese majeste (insulting the monarch) over a 2006 book criticising the king’s support for a military coup. Below he assesses the monarch’s role as a block to democracy and social justice.
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King Pumipon was a weak and characterless monarch who spent his useless and privileged life in a bubble, surrounded by fawning, grovelling toadies who claimed that he was a “god”.