Singapore has refuted a Chinese online report that claimed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made certain comments on the Chinese system.
Article's claims are untrue
In a Weibo post published on Wednesday, Apr. 21, Singapore's Ambassador to China, Lui Tuck Yew, clarified that the claims made by the article, which was circulated on Chinese social media, were false.
Lui said that while the article had claimed to have cited a Monday (Apr. 19) report by The Straits Times, he had since investigated the claim and found that the national broadsheet had not published such a report.
Lui also stressed that PM Lee had never said the remarks that the article alleged. He added:
"The article's headline and contents are misleading, and is a piece of fake news.
We urge netizens not to be taken in by such articles with false allegations, and to refrain from circulating such misinformation and any related content."
Singapore's embassy in Beijing refuted the report as well on its Facebook page.
Report surfaced at a sensitive time
The report had claimed that PM Lee said the Chinese system must overcome its internal "bureaucracy" in order to overtake the U.S.
The term "bureaucracy" in the government has a negative connotation in China, where it's associated with the idea of corrupt officials who favour stability at the expense of carrying out policies properly as they fear bearing the risks, especially in the wake of a massive anti-corruption drive.
The false report had surfaced at a time when tensions between China and the U.S. are running high.
In a keynote speech made on Sunday, Apr. 18, at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), Chinese President Xi Jinping made veiled criticisms of the U.S., warning that the world does not need "hegemony" at the moment, and "certain countries" should not be allowed to dictate the rules for the rest of the world.
Xi is set to attend a virtual climate change summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.
The two-day event, which kicks off on Thursday, Apr. 22 (U.S. time), will be attended by other world leaders, including PM Lee and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Top image adapted via Lui Tuck Yew/Weibo