PRC Chinese netizens have taken the opportunity to gloat over the ongoing public spat between members of the Lee family, with many taking the chance to criticize what they perceive to be an anti-China administration in the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) government.
When Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s sister, Lee Wei Ling, and younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang, first uploaded an explosive condemnation of their eldest brother the Prime Minister, the news was snapped up by Chinese papers and tabloids from news agency Xinhua to Communist mouthpiece People’s Daily and The Global Times.
The majority of nationalist comments from the Chinese gloated over the problems faced by the Lees, and ridiculed Lee Hsien Loong over his perceived anti-China stance.
“The Lee family is the vanguard of anti-China [forces]. But if you want to oppose China, you should first get your family matters in order,” read one comment on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Another top comment from a Global Times article on the dispute, which fetched 1,440 “likes” on Weibo, read: “Lee Hsien Loong, an anti-China lackey of the United States. Even his siblings are breaking from him. Chinese people should forever remember this anti-China lackey of the West. He is more anti-China than anyone else.”
The sentiments are unsurprising, coming from a China that is still smarting over Lee Hsien Loong’s remarks about China’s bullying actions towards Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea. Although the 2 nations share deep ethnic, cultural and historical bonds, the rising Asian superpower believes Singapore to be a threat to its regional hegemony and has been seen making moves to circumvent and diminish Singapore’s influence.
However, not all comments were directed against Singapore. Some netizens, who compared the situation faced by the younger Lee siblings in Singapore with their own government’s treatment of dissidents in China wrote cautiously about the similarities, but not without a sense of deju vu.
One of the most “liked” comments on Weibo made reference to authoritarian rule in China. “[Such feuds] are more spectacular in China, but they’re never made public,” it read.
“Surprising that they did not unite around the core leadership of Lee Hsien Loong,” read another comment on social media, a tongue in cheek reference to Xi’s status as the “core” leader of the party.