SINGAPORE – Singapore said Friday it would expel a professor of Chinese descent working at a local university from the city-state, accusing him of acting as an “agent of influence” for a foreign government.
Huang Jing, a US citizen who held a senior position at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, had engaged in “activities inimical to Singapore’s national interests”, said the city-state’s Ministry of Home Affairs.
His wife Shirley Yang Xiuping, who the ministry said knew he was acting as an agent for a foreign government, was also permanently banned from Singapore.
Authorities did not say which foreign government he was accused of working for.
But he has written extensively on China and contributed articles to state news agency Xinhua and the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, according to his biography on the Lee Kuan Yew School’s website.
If authorities confirm that he was working for Beijing, the development could dent a relationship that has already faced turbulence in recent times.
“He has been identified as an agent of influence of a foreign country,” said the ministry in a statement announcing the decision.
“He knowingly interacted with intelligence organisations and agents of the foreign country, and co-operated with them to influence the Singapore government’s foreign policy and public opinion in Singapore.”
It went on: “Huang’s continued presence in Singapore, and that of his wife, are therefore undesirable. Both will be permanently banned from re-entering Singapore.”
Their status as Singapore permanent residents was revoked. Anyone who has their permanent residency status cancelled has the right to appeal.
The statement said he had recruited others to aid his operations and passed supposedly “privileged information” to a senior member of the Lee Kuan Yew school for it to be passed on to the Singapore government.
It was conveyed to senior public officials who could have influenced Singapore’s foreign policy but the officials did not act on the information, the statement said.
“Huang used his senior position in the (Lee Kuan Yew School) to deliberately and covertly advance the agenda of a foreign country at Singapore’s expense,” said the ministry.
“He did this in collaboration with foreign intelligence agents. This amounts to subversion and foreign interference in Singapore’s domestic politics.”
The National University of Singapore, of which the Lee Kuan Yew School is part, said it has suspended Huang. The US embassy in Singapore declined to comment.
While Beijing and Singapore have historically had good relations, there were tensions earlier this year when Hong Kong seized nine Singapore armoured troop carriers as they returned to the city-state after conducting military exercises in Taiwan.
Beijing considers self-ruling Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification. Following the seizure, China lodged a diplomatic protest to Singapore over its military cooperation with Taiwan. — AFP