by Teo Soh Lung

Read the caption on this photo, taken from The Straits Times on 26 January 2021.

“Supporters of Ms Zhou Xiaoxuan outside a Beijing court in 2020 which was hearing a case in which she accused one of china’s best-known television hosts of sexually harassing her. …”

Doesn’t this photo remind you of the three young people who recently stood in front of the Ministry of Education (MOE) building in Singapore and were promptly arrested, detained in police lock-ups, and interrogated by the police for days?

I ask the Government these questions:

  1. If China, ruled by communists, can allow peaceful protesters to protest outside the courthouse, why can’t our government let one person with a Smiley stand outside the States Court?
  2. If China does not see the need to gazette areas outside their public buildings such as the courthouse as “prohibited areas” where public assembly is not permitted, why do we need to do this under our laws?
  3. If China does not treat her citizens as national security threats, why does our government treat us like terrorists?

The courts, parliament house, and all public buildings are ideal places for demonstrations. People should be free to voice their objection or agreement to issues in a peaceful manner.

Holding up placards is not holding up weapons. It is a means to express opinions for the authorities to consider and discuss when behind close door meetings are futile or have failed.

The right to express peacefully should not be taken away by the signature of just one person – the Minister.

If China tolerates demonstrations, why can’t Singapore?

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