US Senator accuses PM Lee of prioritising deals with “Communist China” over human rights in Hong Kong

A United States senator on Fri (15 Nov) condemned Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for allegedly prioritising his economic and political deals with Beijing at the expense of “human rights” in Hong Kong.

Rick Scott, a representative of the State of Florida, in a tweet had branded Lee’s “shaming” of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors “fighting for their human rights” as “shameful”.

“Singapore’s Prime Minister is so concerned with his deals with Communist China that he is shaming the brave people of #HongKong for fighting for their human rights.

“This is shameful! The global community should stand together against human rights violator President Xi,” said Scott.

Scott is a vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party, and has stated that the protests in Hong Kong are a sign of “Democracy in action”, and not an “abuse of Democracy”:

 

In a closing dialogue at the Forbes Global CEO Conference on 16 Oct, Lee told around 500 global CEOs, tycoons, entrepreneurs and investors in a closing dialogue that the five main demands put forth by the anti-government protestors serve to “humiliate” the city’s administration.

Responding to questions from Forbes Media editor-in-chief Steve Forbes regarding the Hong Kong crisis, Lee said: “I don’t see any easy way forward because the demonstrators, they say they have five major demands, and not one can be compromised … But those are not demands which are meant to be a programme to solve Hong Kong’s problems.

“Those are demands which are intended to humiliate and bring down the government,” he opined.

Giving in to the five demands, Lee added, will not likely pacify the deep-rooted issues tied to the “one country, two systems” framework.

Several Twitter users replied to Scott in the same vein, alleging that the governments of Singapore and China are in essence similarly “authoritarian”, which they suggested explains Lee’s comments on Hong Kong:

One Twitter user, however, opined that Lee is actually “caught in the middle” between Beijing and Hong Kong – as seen in investigations by Singapore police involving Hong Kong businessman Alex Yeung, who was accused of organising a gathering on 11 Oct for people of Chinese ethnicity living in Singapore to share their views on the current protests in Hong Kong.

A staunch supporter of the Hong Kong police and the establishment, and allegedly pro-Beijing, Yeung accused young students in Hong Kong of being paid to attend anti-government protests.

The owner of a YouTube channel called Wah Kee Positive Energy, with currently around 150,000 subscribers, also expressed his respect for the city’s police force in making Hong Kong what used to be one of the safest areas in the world for many years prior to the protests.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) noted that while the event was initially held at Kimoto Gastro Bar, located at The Sail @ Marina Bay, it was shifted “after some time” to the public space in the vicinity of The Promontory at Marina Boulevard.

Police added that Yeung is “neither arrested nor in Police custody”. However, his passport has been impounded in the meantime.

“The Police would like to remind the public that organising or participating in a public assembly without a Police permit in Singapore is illegal and constitutes an offence under the Public Order Act.

“The Police will not grant any permit for assemblies that advocate political causes of other countries. Foreigners visiting or living in Singapore should abide by our laws,” SPF warned.

Hong Kong DBS branch vandalised with graffiti containing vulgarities against PM Lee and PAP, Hong Kong shopping mall owned by Temasek-linked company damaged by protestors allegedly among signs of disapproval of PM Lee’s comments on Hong Kong unrest

Lee’s comments on the current unrest in Hong Kong have also previously triggered displeasure among some of the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

A DBS Bank branch in Hong Kong was recently vandalised with vulgarities aimed at Lee, his family and the People’s Action Party (PAP).

The Straits Times reported last Fri (15 Nov) a spokesperson for the Singapore bank as saying that the graffiti was removed upon its discovery.

Festival Walk, a shopping mall in Hong Kong owned by Singapore-based Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust Ltd, suffered “extensive damage” in another round of protests on Wed (13 Nov).

Bloomberg reported Mapletree, a Temasek Holdings-linked company, as saying that protestors had “smashed” glass panels at the mall’s entrance, and that they had also “damaged the office lobby and balustrades on various levels” of the centre.

Festival Walk’s Christmas tree was also “torched” during the protests.

The special administrative region has been rocked by seismic pro-democracy protests for nearly eight months, which began as a rally against a controversial extradition Bill on 31 Mar. While the Bill has now been fully withdrawn by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the movement has expanded into rallying calls for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong.

The four other demands placed by the protesters from the Hong Kong government are the resignation of Carrie Lam as Chief Executive, an inquiry into police brutality during the protests, the release of those arrested during the course of the protests, and greater democratic freedoms.

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