Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Singapore must be liberated

Another day, another regime change suggestion. In my Messages Of The Week, I noted that Iceland, France, and Russia have all been involved in extending Falun Gong persecution to their lands outside of China. I did not go so far as to suggest "liberation" for Iceland, France, and Russia, but I've dubbed them an "Axis of Shame."

Singapore is another nominee for the "Axis of Shame." Reasons why are detailed in this Epoch Times article:

It's not the first time that Singapore has run afoul of Falun Gong and the China Support Network. In fact, I've called for regime change there before; see below.


May 2, 2005 (CSN) -- How would you like to be thrown in jail, simply for leafleting (handing out free flyers and CDs) in a public park? To those who live in freedom, the thought seems outrageous. Likewise, for those who understand the information revolution, we know that similar things are downloaded, from millions of points to millions of users, every day. Should governments stand against the tide of information dissemination?

Free speech, and the information explosion, seem to be new ideas to the government of Singapore, where their recent treatment of two women of Falun Gong seems like a throwback to the middle ages. A flap and controversy now centers around two women, Ms. Ng Chye Huay and Ms. Cheng Lujin. The seven charges from Singapore include "Assembly without a Permit," and "Possession and Distribution of VCDs without a Certificate."

This, in a nation which purportedly follows the rule of law and has Constitutional protections for religious freedom, free speech, and freedom of assembly.

It should embarrass the government of Singapore to run afoul of Falun Gong, and sympathy protests have occurred in Taiwan, the US, and the UK. "Falun Gong protests, while always peaceful and orderly, are also relentless and brook no persecution," noted John Patrick, Director emeritus at the China Support Network.

Their arrest was in May, 2004, and their verdict, rendered April 27, 2005, ordered the women to pay $20,000 and $24,000 (Singapore dollars) respectively. (Those amounts in US dollars are $12,216 and $14,660, respectively.) They were also denied bail, a procedure that should have kept them free pending appeal. They were sent directly to jail, to remain prospectively up to 24 weeks. The two women have begun a hunger strike in prison, and in Singapore, "refusing to eat" is another charge that they are being slapped with under the Prisons Act.

A Singapore resident in New York expressed astonishment. "The laws don't exist to punish people for doing something good. The courts have better things to do than treat [Falun Gong] practitioners as criminals," said Elaise Poh, as reported in the Epoch Times. Human rights attorney Terri Marsh said, "The crimes that require redress are those perpetrated by the CCP in China," referring to the human rights atrocities that China visits upon Falun Gong practitioners and many other non-communist groups in Mainland China. "Marsh believes the court ruling may have been influenced by Chinese authorities in order to obscure the issue of who the real criminals are, namely, the CCP," per the Epoch Times.

CSN's John Patrick noted, "In light of the constitutional protections and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this becomes a human rights case." The President of Singapore, and four United Nations offices, are already being pressed on the case, through a human rights working group of Falun Gong. Patrick predicted, "The right side of history will prevail, and Singapore should feel ashamed by its authorities' pandering to Communists."

Singapore releases women

May 5, 2005 (CSN) -- The outrage of the week has been last Wednesday's move by a judge in Singapore, to jail two women who had passed out free literature in a public park -- "clarifying the truth" about China's brutal crackdown and persecution against Falun Gong. After a week of incarceration, the two women were released on Tuesday. This was not accompanied by a government statement, even though Singapore should acknowledge and recognize that they violated these women's human rights -- and the judge should apologize.

No such circumstances surrounded the release, though the case became high profile as Falun Gong spotlighted this matter around the world -- bringing to bear a full court press of attention and activism. No, Ms. Cheng Lujin and Ms. Ng Chye Huay were released, because their families paid the exorbitant fines on their behalf. (They were fined $12,216 and $14,660, respectively.) Both women had been refusing to pay these fines, and they continue to want the government to return the fine money. At the China Support Network, Director emeritus John Patrick agreed wholeheartedly. "This leads me to [favor] a regime change in Singapore. I will change my position on that only if and when the government returns that money. I suppose I'm short of sympathy for Communist toadies who perpetrate outrages. My patience [with them] is long since gone."

No comments: