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buy apple developer account:Twitter spotlights Asia democracy movements with #MilkTeaAlliance emoji

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HONG KONG — Twitter has launched an emoji to spotlight the "#MilkTeaAlliance" online protest movement that has forged links between pro-democracy activists across Asia, the social media giant said Thursday (April 8).

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The alliance — named for the shared love of sugary tea drinks across Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan — emerged last year in an expression of cross-border solidarity and shared fear of authoritarian China.

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The campaign gained steam at a time when Hong Kong was emerging from months of pro-democracy protests and urban youth in Bangkok and other Thai cities were beginning their own street confrontations with authorities, demanding reform to the country's military-drafted constitution and other rights.

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It has since spread to Myanmar — where tea with condensed milk is a staple breakfast accompaniment — after a coup ousted the country's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February, sparking a mass uprising.

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Today we are launching an emoji for the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online solidarity alliance first started in April 2020 as a Twitter meme which has grown into a global pro-democracy movement led by activists and concerned citizens in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar and around the world.

r— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) April 8, 2021rrr

"To celebrate the first anniversary of the #MilkTeaAlliance, we designed an emoji featuring three different types of milk tea colours from regions where the Alliance first formed online," Twitter said on Wednesday.

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The image appears in any tweet featuring the hashtag in English, Thai, Korean, and several other Asian languages.

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"Always in solidarity, no matter how hard the times," veteran Hong Kong pro-democracy Joshua Wong tweeted in response to the news, using the English and Chinese versions of the hashtag.

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The term has been used on Twitter more than 11 million times since last April, the platform said, with usage again spiking after the Myanmar coup.

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The military regime there has imposed overnight internet shutdowns and blanket mobile data restrictions to try and bring weeks of unrest to heel.

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It has also directed local telecom service providers to block access to social media sites, which protesters have skirted by using virtual private networks and foreign SIM cards.

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"We strongly believe that having access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential right and remain a staunch defender and advocate of free expression and condemn #InternetShutdowns," Twitter said in its announcement of the new emoji.

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Thursday's move follows similar recognition by Twitter in recent years of the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter social movements, after the respective global campaigns against sexual abuse and in support of racial justice. AFP

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