Chinese-American academic Huang Jing – who used to work with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) before he was permanently banned from Singapore – has told the media that he has “no hard feelings” about his expulsion.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced in 2017 that Chinese-born US citizen, Professor Huang Jing, had lost his appeal against Singapore’s decision to permanently ban him from the country for allegedly being an “agent of influence of a foreign country.”
The interior ministry announced that it expelled the academic for knowingly interacting with intelligence organisations and agents of a foreign country and cooperating with them to influence the Singapore Government’s foreign policy and public opinion in Singapore.
It also cancelled the Permanent Residency of Huang’s wife, Yang Xiuping, as well since she was allegedly aware that her husband was using his position as a senior professor “to advance the agenda of a foreign country.” The couple has also been permanently banned from re-entering the country.
The MHA charged that Huang used his position as Director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation, and Lee Foundation Professor on US-China Relations at LKYSPP to “deliberately and covertly advance the agenda of a foreign country at Singapore’s expense. He did this as he collaborated with foreign intelligence agents.”
Huang was charged with engaging and disseminating “privileged information” about a foreign country to prominent and influential Singaporeans, with the aim of influencing their opinion in the favour of that country. This, the MHA asserted, represents subversion and represents foreign interference in domestic politics.
One of the people Huang allegedly shared such “privileged information” with was a senior member of the LKYSPP so that the member could convey the information to the Singapore Government. The senior member eventually relayed the information to “very senior public officials who were in a position to direct Singapore’s foreign policy. However, the Singapore Government declined to act on the “privileged information.””
MHA asserted that the clear intention was to use the information at hand to cause the Singapore Government to change its foreign policy. Claiming that Prof Huang recruited others to aid his operations, the ministry said the decision to expel the academic and his wife was final.
In response, Huang challenged MHA’s accusations and appealed their decision. He told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that he would also seek help from the US embassy in Singapore, adding:
“It’s nonsense to identify me as ‘an agent of influence’ for a foreign country. And why didn’t they identify which foreign country they’re referring to? Is it the US or China?”
In a new interview with SCMP published on Monday (17 June), Prof Huang revealed that he is now working in Beijing after spending a year working in the US to “prove himself.” He said:
“I worked the whole year in Washington DC, my home, to show that I am not what Singapore implied I am. Right now Singapore has not clarified which foreign country I work with so I wanted to show that at least the US doesn’t think I am working for whoever.”
He added: “I don’t have any hard feelings against Singapore. I think they overplayed their hand for whatever reason, but Singapore has treated me very well.”
Revealing that he had been planning on retiring in Singapore after spending close to a decade working here, Prof Huang admitted: “Thinking back, I made some mistakes, for which I should pay the price. But bygones are bygones, the world is very big. I try to be a good scholar and deliver some public good, do my research. Whatever Singapore did or has done or will do, they have their own reasons and interests to take care of and I understand that. So I am fine.”
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