On Being a Monk and a Citizen in Thailand and China



Over the last years, there have been a handful of stories in the South China Morning Post, an important English language newspaper in Hong Kong, talking about a problem that has emerged recently: ‘fake monks.’ The problem seemed to be that men who had come into Hong Kong from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were shaving their heads, putting on robes, and pretending to be monks begging for alms. Apparently, it was a more effective way to get money for beggars than some of the usual tricks. Intriguingly, the stories from the South China Morning Post equate these ‘monks’ with prostitutes: both are immigrants from China who are not allowed to work under the terms of their visas to Hong Kong. Thus, these articles argue that, like prostitutes, the ‘fake monks’ need to be sent packing. There is an assumption in this that may seem obvious but worth highlighting nonetheless: like other people, Buddhist monks and nuns need visas.1


Political Protest Thai People Buddhist Monk South China Morning Thai Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Thomas Borchert 2016

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