How Authoritarian Is Singapore?

China Change

By Li Yuhui, published: March 252015

Depending on which way you compare, Chinese who demand a Singapore model in China will in all likelihood end up in jail.

In China and elsewhere, people associate Singapore and the late Lee Kuan Yew with the notion of “rule of law without democracy,” “enlightened despotism,” or “modernization under authoritarianism.” Most of those who question the so-called Singapore model, including Amartya Sen, have focused their analyses on the uncontrolled variables, demonstrating that Singapore’s economic success did not derive from authoritarianism, but from a variety of elements, such as the geography, historical lineage, commercial model, and advantages specific to a small city-state. To a large degree I adhere to these analyses, but I believe many people have neglected a more important aspect: Is Singapore really as undemocratic as many people believe?

Well, if you compare Singapore to much of the world today, yes…

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