One of the human rights activist who played a major role in helping Youtuber and blogger, Amos Yee seek political asylum in the US now wants his status revoked.
The change in position isn’t new as Melissa Chen, originally from Singapore, has been vocal about her disagreement over the ‘cause’ Yee has chosen to align himself with of late and the content he’s been posting on social media that appear to be advocating for pedophilia.
I think he deserved asylum. But that was before he went on supporting pedophilia and child porn.
These views crossed the line into unprotected speech. He is on very shaky legal territory.
— Melissa Chen (@MsMelChen) November 25, 2017
He is either:
D) Malicious as he's a pedo himself
What a waste of a life.
— Melissa Chen (@MsMelChen) November 18, 2017
For those who are unaware of who Yee is, he was this 16-year-old teenager who got into trouble in 2015 after making a video about late Lee Kuan Yew after his passing. 8 police officers turned up at his home to arrest him in cuffs after more than 20 police reports were filed against him. While some were in response to Yee’s passing remarks on Christianity but majority of the reports centered around him disparaging the revered political leader.
Yee was detained in police custody and eventually found guilty of the charge of obscenity for having uploaded a picture of the late Singapore prime minister in a sexual depiction with the former British prime minister, the late Margaret Thatcher and charge of wounding the feelings of Christians for remarks he made in a video of Mr Lee and the Christian religious icon, Jesus Christ, which he had uploaded onto Youtube. He was released on the spot in May 2015 after his sentence was read as he had already been detained past the sentenced term by the judge.
Yee subsequently got into trouble again for his blog and video posts in 2017 where he was sentenced to six weeks’ jail, after he pleaded guilty to six charges for wounding the religious feelings of Christians and Muslims.
After being detained in December 2016 by US officials for declaring himself as a visitor to the country despite applying for political asylum in US, a Chicago immigration judge concluded in March 2017 that the Singapore government persecuted Yee on account of his political opinion, and that Yee is deserving of asylum as a matter of discretion. Although the U.S. Department of Homeland Security filed an appeal against the decision to grant Yee asylum, the court of appeal upheld the decision of the immigration judge in September 2017.
Now coming back to where we are now, Ms Chen made a strong statement in a video post on Facebook condemning Yee’s recent reprehensible actions of actively advocating for pedophilia and organising to promote it.
Apparently, Amos’ Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Patreon accounts have already been deleted after being reported.
You can watch the 10-minute video here:
Here’s the rundown of what Ms Chen said in her video:
Yee cut ties with Ms Chen in February 2017 as he felt she was being too authoritarian. She says she has rarely spared him a thought since then.
However now, as Amos’ continues to promote something as heinous and harmful as peadophilia, she feels he should be deported out of the US.
“Today my conscience does weigh really heavy due to Amos going down the rabbit hole of agitating for the morally corrupt cause of legitimising pedophilia and actively organising to promote it. As a result, I am compelled to say that Amos needs to be deported from the United States. And if he in the process gets sent back to jail in Singapore for going AWOL on national service, I found find it extremely difficult to actually sympathise with that.”
She also added that while she understand the irony of what she’s saying – advocating now for Amos to be silenced and deported when she’s also a strong advocate for free speech and free thought – she emphasised that some ideas are unacceptable:
“Some repulsive ideas generate too much negative externalities. And especially when these externalities involve the welfare of children, I think society cannot allow them to have free reign…He has betrayed basic human decency. He has betrayed innocent children everywhere. And he has also betrayed the moral fabric of society.”
Ms Chen stressed that being in America is a privilege, not a right. And Amos has abused that privilege.
She then also gave a condensed version of Amos’ case in Singapore, highlighting the fact that international humans rights organistions had adopted Amos’ cause and championed for his release and subsequent asylum while there were articles in reputable new sites like The New Yorker and the BBC showering Yee with glowing praise. These did not age well, she said.
Ms Chen also talked about the blindspot that had developed among some activists, including herself, when it came to Amos, such as his intelligence:
“The obvious problem in hindsight is that the desire to see him as a figure, as some sort of figure that could take the shape of our own cause, our very own causes admittedly led to developing blind spots and biases. For example, I think his brilliance and genius have been vastly overstated.”
She also said that Yee had ‘almost zero redeeming qualities’ and had ‘almost no capacity to learn of correct course’. She described him as difficult and erratic. She said, “Amos is stain on Singapore and he’s a stain on the human race”.
Ms Chen did also say that she feels part of why Yee turned out this way was the strongly conformist society he was brought up in in Singapore.
“His neurodivergent idiosyncrasies instead of being encouraged creatively and intellectually were constantly supressed and coerced into submission. The final traumatic nail in the coffin of his mental state very well might have been the loss of his personal freedom when he was charged and sent to jail…The devils of his worse nature were instead stoked and inflamed by certain experiences.”
Despite that, she emphasised that at 20 years of age, Yee is no longer a child and he must be held accountable for his actions.
“While I disagree with how he was treated and dealt with as a child, it’s become clear that Amos cannot be granted any platform to air his horrendously harmful views. “
She also personally apologised for her part in Yee’s case and for the ripple effect Yee’s case will have on the work of human rights activists in Singapore.
“I’m personally sorry for how he turned out and how the ripple effects of his case will have on all legitimate responsible activist doing good work in Singapore”