Discover three of Asia’s Republics–Singapore: Part 3 of 3

January 16, 2014

I’ve written about the Republic of Singapore before in The Reasons Why China is Studying Singapore.

Singapore is a model “republic” respected around the world. In fact, Singapore is tied for number one in the Corruption Perception Index for 2010 with a score much better than the U.S. Source: Transparency.org

Focus Singapore says, “It is interesting to note that Singapore laws are very strict with harsh punishments for smoking and littering in public places.”

For example, “A drug offence in Singapore can attract severe penalties including a death penalty.… Homosexual acts, including kissing between men, are illegal in Singapore and penalties include imprisonment.”

Human Rights Watch reports, “Singapore officials should cease using criminal defamation and contempt laws to silence government critics. … Free speech is an endangered species in Singapore.”

In fact, “Singapore remains the textbook example of a politically repressive state,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Individuals who want to criticize or challenge the ruling party’s hold on power can expect to face a life of harassment, lawsuits, and even prison.” Source: Human Rights Watch

But the Western media often ignore human rights violations in Singapore, because, “The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since it became independent in 1965. Singapore’s efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries.”

About religion — “Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.” Source: U. S. Department of State

Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990, was the world’s longest serving prime minister and was elected seven times. His son Lee Hsien Loong has been Prime Minister since 2004. When he runs for office, there is no competition.

When examined closely, Singapore seems similar to China except for China’s policy that leaders may only serve two five-year terms and must retire at sixty-seven.

Return to Discover three of Asia’s Republics: Part 2 or start with Part 1, South Korea

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Discover three of Asia’s Republics–Thailand: Part 2 of 3

January 15, 2014

Transparency.org ranks Thailand’s corruption at 78—tied with China.  India, for comparison, ranks 87th—worse than China and Thailand.

A Blog about Political Prisoners in Thailand claims that there is no freedom of speech in Thailand. Saying what you feel or think can get you thrown in jail.

Thailand also passed a Computer Crimes act in 2007. The language in one section sounds similar to language in China’s Constitution that Western Critics often complain of.

The Asian Human Rights Commission writes that Thailand chained wounded detainees recently under an Emergency Decree. “For many years, the AHRC and other concerned organizations and individuals have voiced outrage at the shackling and otherwise barbaric treatment of accused criminal prisoners in Thailand.”

In May 2010, Reuters reported that Bangkok was being cleaned up after the worst riots in modern history. “At least 54 people were killed and more than 400 injured in the latest bout of violence which began on May 14. Almost 40 buildings in the city were set on fire and the tourism and retail sectors have been devastated.”

And analysts report that “The political problems are not over….”

About women in Thailand, the 1997 Constitution increased legal protections for women and persons with disabilities. However, some inequities in the law remained and some protections were not enforced. Violence and societal discrimination against women were problems. Societal discrimination against hill tribes and religious and ethnic minorities continued. There were reports of forced labor and child labor. Trafficking in women and children, coerced prostitution and labor were serious problems. Source: U.S. Department of State

We seldom hear about Thailand in the Western media for problems that don’t exist in China. Even when there is turmoil and unrest in Thailand, the news reports in the West are friendly compared to the language used to report incidents that take place in China.

However, the reason for this soft treatment is obvious. Thailand has had close relations with the United States since the end of the Second World War. Threatened by communist revolutions in neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the Cold War, Thailand actively sought U.S. assistance to contain the spread of communist in the region. Source: U.S. Department of State

Continued on January 16, 2014 in Discover three of Asia’s Republics: Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Discover three of Asia’s Republics–South Korea: Part 1 of 3

January 14, 2014

This three part series will focus on three Asian Republics: South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. All three are staunch allies of the United States. I will also compare these Asian republics to China.

The first republic will be South Korea, and in 1998, the BBC News produced a special report on South Korea: A Political History.

With US support, Syngman Ree was the President of the “Republic” of South Korea in the 1950s until April 1960. His government was autocratic and the country had limited political freedom.

In fact, South Korea would be an autocratic state with limited political freedom (fancy language for a dictatorship) from 1948 to 1987.

Then there was a military coup in 1961 and General Park ruled until he was assassinated in 1979. Mao ruled China eight years longer than Park Chung Hee ruled South Korea.

In 1980, martial law was declared in South Korea after the army killed 200 during student demonstrations. Recently, South Korea’s constitutional court upheld a controversial military ban (censorship) on 23 books considered subversive. Source: Time

However, the Western media seldom reminds us of those democracy demonstrations in South Korea. Instead, we are annually reminded of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident in China that did not start and never was a democratic movement by the people of China.

It wouldn’t be until 1986 that South Korea’s constitution was changed and in December 1987, Roh won the first direct presidential election since 1971. The first free parliamentary elections took place in 1988.

China revised their Constitution in 1982. Instead of becoming a democracy, China remained a one-party Republic with tight controls over the political influence of religions, which remains very unpopular with Christians.

South Korea ranks 39th among 178 countries when measured for corruption. China is ranked 79th and we often hear about corruption in China but little about South Korea and the hundred countries with more corruption than China. Source: Transparency.org

Continued on January 15, 2014 in Discover three of Asia’s Republics: Part 2

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline