Travel plans don't make the news all that often. But they do today.
Joshua Wong can't get into Thailand. He was turned back at the border on Wednesday after arriving to speak at one of Thailand's top centers of higher education, Chulalongkorn University.
He's been blacklisted for unclear reasons. While China's foreign ministry says it is simply respecting Thai decisions, Wong's detention and subsequent rejection suggest that China is exerting plenty of pressure outside its own borders. Wong was deported from Malaysia in similar circumstances in July 2015.
Wong was the most-recognized leader of the Occupy Central demonstrations that paralyzed Hong Kong's main business district for months in late 2014. It's a particularly touchy time for him to be visiting and talking to Thai students because Oct. 6 will be the 40th anniversary of a massacre at Thammasat University.
That's when the Thai military and right-wing paramilitary mobs, fearing the Communist revolutions that had swept Southeast Asia, killed at least 46 people, according to this BBC report, an incident that was covered up for years.
Thursday is due to see student commemoration of the event. It's a little ironic that the Chinese government, as many speculate, does not want him to speak about the suppression of students at a time when interest in Communism was high. But Thailand's military government, in power since 2014, views this year's anniversary as a particularly problematic event, as this story in the Financial Times explains.
The anniversary is not the only, and in fact not the key, factor at work in Thailand. The country has been preparing for the death of its much-loved king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, for several years. He's the longest-serving still-living monarch, on the throne for 70 years. But he is gravely ill, according to Sky News, with a blood infection and lung inflammation.
Turmoil, if and when there's a succession of monarch, could hit the stock and property markets in Thailand. However, it may also be the case that the two-year "rule" of the military government has stabilized the economy ahead of the death of the king, which at this stage is hardly going to be a surprise when it comes.
I could be arrested for disparaging the Thai king, if I was in Thailand. I have no wish to do that. But the Thai stock market, best represented in the United States by the iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF (THD) , will be one to watch.
As will the travel plans of students who are, apparently, so dangerous that they need to be muzzled.