Like the Uighurs, JBJ had not only to be destroyed but made a non-person
Thanks to Jolovan Wham for sharing on Twitter an article from State Media mouthpiece, The State Times:
Jolovan underlined the phrase in yellow:
“It is hard to fault China for wanting to rehabilitate the Uighurs if their ideology is anathema to to the Chinese state and hostile to other communities”
In China’s Newspeak, “rehabilitation” is a euphemism for incarceration in concentration camps and, as we have learned recently, forcible separation of children from their parents in the interests of obliterating all traces of Islam and Uighur culture.
Of course “rehabilitation” in what are euphemistically termed “re-education” camps is the standard response of totalitarian regimes in dealing with their ideological enemies. The Soviet Union, Vietnam, North Korea, the puppet regimes in Eastern Europe set up by the Soviets after WWII have all used this pretext to detain millions of people more or less indefinitely and to kill the majority through a combination of overwork and starvation. The Nazis had the same sardonic humour when they hung “Arbeit Macht Frei” above the gates at Auschwitz though that became primarily an extermination camp.
What is chilling is the ready endorsement given by our supposedly free-market loving Government to totalitarian justifications for extreme methods in dealing with their enemies, whether real or designated as such in order to unify the rest of the population behind persecution of a manufactured “outsider” who can be the scapegoat for the regime’s shortcomings.
Jolovan uses the example of the so-called Marxist “conspirators” who were detained in 1987 as being a threat to the security of Singapore. However I am struck by the echoes with the language used by Lee Hsien Loong in his hypocritical and self-serving “condolence’ letter that he wrote to me and my brother Philip on my dad’s death in 2008:
Mr JB Jeyaretnam was a Member of Parliament for Anson constituency from 1981 till 1986, and a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from 1997 till 2001. He used to engage in heated debates in the House. Perhaps it was because he and the PAP never saw eye to eye on any major political issue and he sought by all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government. Unfortunately, this helped neither to build up a constructive opposition nor our Parliamentary tradition.
It is not hard to see the similarity between “an ideology anathema to the Chinese state” and “he sought by all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government”. In my father’s case being a believer in liberal democracy and transparency meant professing an ideology which was anathema to the PAP state, or more accurately, to the interests of the Lee family. While LHL does not say openly that my dad had to be destroyed, that can be clearly inferred from his words. His father did not bother to cloak his intent, using the infamous phrase:
As long as Jeyaretnam stands for what he stands for — a thoroughly destructive force — we will knock him. There are two ways of playing this. One, a you attack the policies; two, you attack the system. Jeyaretnam was attacking the system, he brought the Chief Justice into it. If I want to fix you, do I need the Chief Justice to fix you? Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.
And according to my brother “rehabilitation” was offered to my dad in 2000 if he would only repent the error of his ways. Apparently, an ambassadorship or some other well-paid sinecure was on offer, a la David Marshall, if he would only agree to retire from “unconstructive” opposition and spend more time with his grandchildren. As we all know, he refused and ended up being made a bankrupt and denied the chance to stand again.
The Op-Ed in the State Times, using the same type of language as LHL’s condolence letter, clearly expresses the PAP regime’s ruthless totalitarian foundations. Any ideology or person who poses a threat, no matter how slight, to the interests of the state, which are synonymous with the preservation of the power, wealth and privilege of the ruling elite will be ruthlessly stamped out. In China’s case it is President Xi, his family and the circle around him and in Singapore’s case it is of course the Lee family.