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Does Lee Deserve a Honorary Doctorate?

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  • Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com
    http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=201 Signature campaign against the conferment of an honorary doctorate on Lee Kuan Yew by The Chinese
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 26, 2004
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      http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=201

      Signature campaign against the conferment of an honorary doctorate on
      Lee Kuan Yew by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
      (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

      19 November 2000
      We are deeply perturbed by the conferment of an honorary doctorate
      degree this year by The Chinese University of Hong Kong on Lee Kuan
      Yew.

      Lee Kuan Yew is a notorious dictator in Singapore who rose to power
      during the decolonization of Southeast Asia in the 1960's. He
      exploited the massive opposition against British colonialism by
      posing initially as a leftist. On assuming power, he consolidated it
      by making an about turn and spearheaded attacks on Communism in the
      Cold War. In any case, he had never wholeheartedly accepted the
      values of freedom and democracy.

      Lee's authoritarian paternalism has deprived Singapore of true
      democracy in spite of regular general elections. The rule of law is
      little more than a facade as the ruling party has constantly abused
      it to crush dissent. The country might have enjoyed economic growth
      in the past, but its people have been largely silenced for fear of
      Lee's arbitrary rule. Press freedom has been curtailed, opposition
      parties and voices severely suppressed, and the people's daily life
      controlled by the omnipresent government power.

      The Chinese University has always purported to shoulder the ideals
      and missions of Chinese education. But it was precisely under Lee
      Kuan Yew's rule when Nanyang University, established after the ideals
      of Chinese education, had been forced to close down, so that
      dissident voices among Chinese educated students could be stamped
      out. Soon, Chinese primary and secondary schools contracted into
      obliteration in Singapore. One wonders how The Chinese University
      evaluated this part of history as it decided to confer the honorary
      degree on Lee. Also, in crowning him with the highest honour of a
      university, does The Chinese University approve of and hold in high
      esteem Lee's political values of pseudo-democracy and the denial of
      human rights?

      The Chinese University has never before conferred honorary degrees on
      any foreign political figures. But then there is no lack of
      outstanding political leaders who espouse democracy in Asia. Why
      should The Chinese University grant its highest honour to such a
      notorious authoritarian politician in such haste, three years after
      Hong Kong's return to China? Here, when political conservatism is
      becoming more rampant by the day, big wigs and high officials have
      been refering to Singapore as a model. We are deeply concerned that,
      amid this adverse current, the academic honour of our universities
      may be turned into cheap political instrument to herald the coming of
      authoritarian rule in the SAR.

      We cannot allow values to be twisted around so as to cherish the
      wrong as if it were right. The Chinese University must not rub salt
      at the deep wounds inflicted on those who have fought for freedom and
      democracy in the Lion City. In the name of social conscience and
      international solidarity, we are making this protest statement as an
      expression and evidence of our discontent. We hereby call upon the
      people of Hong Kong to treasure human rights, freedom, and the values
      of an open society, and never to revere the example of a Lee Kuan
      Yew.
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