Singapore official: media distort HK

Law and Home Affairs minister says foreign coverage of unrest ‘confused’, ‘superficial’

A senior Singapore government official has said international news media have presented a “confused, muddied” picture of events in Hong Kong with “superficial analyses”, and the city-state will never benefit from troubles in the special administrative region.

“If you look at it internationally, outsiders looking in, I think a confused, muddied picture has been presented because international news organizations have dealt with very superficial analysis, engaged in labeling,” Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao.

Lianhe Zaobao is the largest Chinese-language newspaper in Singapore.

“(In their view),¬†all protesters are automatically, generally, democracy-fighters. Police on the other hand, are oppressive, attacking the forces of democracy, using excessive force. ‘They’re negative, they’re an evil force,'” he said, according to transcripts posted on the ministry’s website on Sunday.

A fair bit of the coverage reflects a skewed perspective from an ideological lens, he said.

All flights in and out of Hong Kong, except those departing flights that had completed the check-in process and arrival flights that were already headed to Hong Kong, were canceled Monday after demonstrators descended on the city’s airport to denounce what they claim is police violence.

Demonstrators in the special administrative region have been decrying what they say are heavy-handed police tactics. Yet the police actions are in response to serious public order challenges and violent crimes, China Daily reported Monday.

The ongoing unrest has led to reports that some wealthy businesspersons based in Hong Kong had begun moving their assets overseas, and Singapore was a beneficiary, the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday.

But Shanmugam said he did not abide the “superficial talk” that Singapore benefits from the troubles in Hong Kong.

“We benefit from stability across the region, including Hong Kong,” he said. “If China does well, Hong Kong does well, the region does well, we do well.”

He said that there are many Singaporeans who do believe they are lucky that similar things are not happening in Singapore.

“If this happened to us, it would be bad for our economy, and we don’t have the advantages Hong Kong has to weather such a situation,” he said.

“Hong Kong has the huge advantage of China’s support. Singapore has no one to support it.”

It possesses deep strengths, including its financial system, stock exchange and proximity to the mainland, all of which savvy investors would note, according to the SCMP report.

“Unless people become pessimistic about China, I don’t see immediate calculations being made by serious investors,” he said.

Shanmugam also said that China’s system selects competent, good people in the government, and that not enough credit is given to China’s major achievement to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the past three decades.

“No country has done that in history, in 35 years,” he said. “Could that have been achieved under any of the other systems? The Chinese leaders will also ask you about the well-being of the people in China. Is there a system, a political system that can do better for the people of China, compared to the current system?”