Huang Jing, 59, a former professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) has been declared a Prohibited Migrant by the Controller of Immigration after being exposed as an ‘agent of influence’, according to a media statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released today.
Huang had conspired with foreign intelligence agencies to influence the Singapore Government’s foreign policy and shape public opinion.
Huang and his wife, Shirley Yang Xiuping who was fully aware of her husband’s covert dealings will be deported today (Aug 4) under Section (8)(3)(n) of the Immigration act.
They will also be permanently banned from re-entering Singapore.
The couple are both China-born US citizens.
What is an “agent of influence”?
Agents of influence refer to an individuals or organisations who use their position to influence public opinion or decision-making to produce results favourable to the foreign country that they serve. They are typically engaged in the fields of academia, journalism, politics and a number of professional fields where they hold significant authority and credibility among their stakeholders and target audience.
Huang Jing’s role
Huang was a Lee Foundation professor of US-China relations at LKYSPP.
In the course of his tenure in Singapore, he had knowingly colluded with intelligence agents of a foreign country with the objective of influencing the Singapore Government’s decision-making on foreign policies.
It is understood that the foreign country in question is allegedly China.
Huang had also engaged key opinion leaders and influential Singaporean public figures to shape public opinion through the dissemination of what he claimed ‘privileged information’.
On one occasion, he supposedly gave ‘privileged information’ to a senior member in LKYSPP with links to top government officials directly involved in Singapore’s foreign policy decisions with the hope that the piece of information can influence such decisions.
Interestingly, there has been speculation that the senior member refers to the school’s dean and former diplomat, Kishore Mahbubani, although this information has neither been verified nor confirmed by MHA.
Kishore himself came under scrutiny recently for suggesting that Singapore should act its size as “small states should behave like small states” in a Straits Times opinion piece – a statement strikingly similar to a comment made by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson back in 2015 regarding the South China sea dispute.
This is not the first time Huang has been in the news.
He previously faced public criticism when he was entangled in a dispute with a taxi driver in June last year. He supposedly demanded that the taxi driver step out of the vehicle to open the door for him to alight, to which the driver refused, and a vehement argument ensued.
Singapore is no stranger to foreign interventions.
Huang’s deportation acts as a timely reminder that Singapore is not immune to such activities.
In 1960, a CIA agent was caught trying to purchase information from Singapore’s intelligence officials. He then attempted to bribe the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew to remain silent about his capture with $3.3 million. The late Mr Lee refused the bribe, and was later issued a formal apology by Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State then.