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Chinese-American professor and his wife to be expelled from Singapore

Huang Jing and Shirley Yang accused of collaborating with foreign intelligence agents, government statement says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 6:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 12:19am

A Chinese-American professor and his wife will be expelled from Singapore for collaborating with foreign intelligence agents, according to a statement from the city-state’s home affairs ministry.

China’s Ministry of Foreign ­Affairs said on Friday night that it had no knowledge of the incident.

Huang Jing – director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) and a former fellow at the Brookings Institution – and his wife will be permanently banned from re-entering the country, the statement released on Friday, carried by Singaporean media, said.

It said Huang’s permanent residency status would be revoked and his wife Shirley Yang Xiuping had been declared a “prohibited immigrant”.

Huang interacted with intelligence organisations and agents of a foreign country, it said, and cooperated with them to influence the Singaporean government’s foreign policy and public opinion.

Huang used his senior position to “deliberately and covertly advance the agenda of a foreign country at Singapore’s expense”, it said.

The statement did not name the country the couple is accused of working for. But Huang is known for his Beijing-friendly stance in regular articles for international and mainland Chinese publications. Huang and Yang were born on mainland China but both have US citizenship.

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Huang, who is still in Singapore, told the South China Morning Post that he had been notified by the government but he denied the allegations.

“It’s nonsense to identify me as ‘an agent of influence’ for a foreign country,” he said. “And why didn’t they identify which foreign country they’re referring to? Is it the US or China?”

He said he would seek help from his lawyer and the US embassy in Singapore.

“My family and my home are all here. I have property in Singapore, too. How can they treat me like this? If they have evidence, they should take me to court,” he said, adding that he had not been given a deadline to leave.

Huang went to the United States to study in the 1980s after completing a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in China. He has a PhD from the Department of Government at Harvard University.

Before he joined the LKYSPP, Huang was a senior fellow at the John L Thornton China Centre at the Brookings Institution and a Shorenstein fellow at Stanford University, according to his profile page on the National University of Singapore website. He specialises in international relations in Asia and he has won academic awards for his work on US-China relations.

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Huang is often quoted by international media outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Post and also writes pro-China opinion pieces for mainland newspapers including Beijing mouthpiece People’s Daily. In June, he wrote in Global Times that the chaos in US politics posed a threat to China and the rest of the world. Last year, he wrote in a Singaporean paper that a ruling by The Hague against China’s claim to sovereignty in the South China Sea had caused great damage to regional peace.

Friday’s statement said that in one case, Huang had given “privileged information” about the foreign country to a senior member of the LKYSPP, who then conveyed that information to “very senior public officials” who were “in a position to direct Singapore’s foreign policy”.

But the Singaporean government declined to act on the information, it said.

The statement also said Huang’s acts amounted to subversion and foreign interference in Singapore’s domestic politics, and that Huang had recruited others for his activities.

Yang was also aware that Huang was using his position at the LKYSPP to advance the agenda of a foreign country, it added.

In a written reply to queries from the Post, a US State Department official said: “We are aware of the press release from Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs and media reports regarding a US citizen. We have no further information to share due to privacy considerations.”

Additional reporting by Minnie Chan