Voices

Beijing sees through allure of liberal democracy

From

Phillip Tan Fong Lip

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Published: 4:00 AM, July 18, 2017

The sad news of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo’s death has elicited criticism from some Western countries, including the United States (Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies after cancer struggle; July 14).

China replied that this was an internal matter. This is understandable, as Beijing is unimpressed by these champions of liberal democracy for good reason.

Going by what liberal democracy has done to the West in recent times, I think this form of government is uninspiring, and the Chinese see its shortcomings.

Take, for example, what freedom of speech couched in the form of fake news can do to a country: It can form fault lines in society, besides hijacking election results.

Despite that, chances are the US will not pass laws to clamp down on fake news, as that would be antithetical to its freedom of speech.

In contrast, Singapore and some other countries are contemplating laws against fake news where appropriate. Some (like Germany) have already drafted them.

Extremism in any form, including liberalism, is imprudent, and other countries cannot be persuaded to espouse it because the proof of the pudding is in the eating.