Hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong gathered in massive ongoing protests in recent weeks against a controversial extradition bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited to mainland China.
In a Facebook post published on Sunday (16 June), Mr Bilahari criticised the protesters and went so far as to say that Chinese President Xi Jinping must act if the protests continue. He wrote: “These HK people have lost all sense of reality. At some point Xi must act if this continues.”
The former diplomat speculated that the people in Hong Kong are “probably banking on” Mr Xi’s possible preference to let relations with the US stabilise before he deals with Hong Kong. Asserting that the demands of the protestors are “impossible” and that Mr Xi “cannot afford to look weak,” Mr Bilahari said: “If Xi’s hand is forced, it will not be pretty.”
“I am sure he would prefer to deal with HK after relations with the US stabilise and that is not going to happen anytime soon. The HK people are probably banking on just that.
“But what they want — which is essentially to separate HK from PRC domestic law in perpetuity — is impossible.
“And Xi cannot afford to look weak precisely because at least in the medium term, he has no good options on the trade and technology front with the US. If Xi’s hand is forced, it will not be pretty.”
While many agreed with Mr Bilahari’s comments, some have criticised his views. An unnamed individual has apparently written to the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) to ask whether the school condones his views.
Local activist Roy Ngerng posted partial screenshots of the emails the unnamed person sent to NUS and SMU. He wrote: “Someone has written to NUS and SMU asking if they condone Bilahari Kausikan’s behavior, after he said the Hong Kong people “have lost all sense of reality” and that “Xi must act if this continues”.”
Read the emails here:
Someone has written to NUS and SMU asking if they condone Bilahari Kausikan's behavior, after he said the Hong Kong…