Fake News About a ‘Video’ of PM Lee Commenting About China’s Bureaucracy Surfaces Again

A video of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering a speech regarding China’s “bureaucracy” has surfaced on the internet once more.

The Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI) has clarified that the video is false, and that Mr Lee has never given such a speech.

Last year, Singapore’s Ambassador to China Lu Deyao also refuted a similar video on social media.

The video appeared on the social media platform WeChat on Friday (5 Aug) at around 9:32am. The account was listed as a “newly registered public account”, and its IP address was from Jiangxi.

According to the Frequently Asked Questions page on WeChat Help Center, the display name “newly registered public account” means that their names are being protected because they haven’t completed the verification process which then allows them to change their pseudonym.

In other words, the account did not finish the verification process.

The “sharp and acute criticism” is six minutes long, and the visuals were taken from Mr Lee’s keynote speech at the 2015 Shangri La Dialogue.

The term “bureaucracy” (官僚主义) is an especially sensitive in China, as it holds negative connotations of sycophant officials who would rather go for stability instead of carrying out the policies properly, out of the fear of bearing the risks, especially when there was a recent purge of corruption.

In response to a query from Lianhe Zaobao, on Thursday (11 Aug), a spokesperson for MCI stated that the authorities have taken note of the video involving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s comments on the Chinese government and its bureaucracy.

The MCI also noted that using technology to create false impressions is not a new practice. The video that is currently circulating is not new; it has been around since the early months of 2022.

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Besides, Ambassador Lu had to refute a similar rumour last year too, even describing it as “fake news”.

After the Singapore-China Ambassador reported it to the relevant social media platforms, these videos were removed.

The MCI spokesperson added, “False information can bring about serious threats. We advise Singaporeans to be careful about what kind of information they may be exposed to on social media or closed messaging platforms. Please do not repost or disseminate such information.”

As a rule of thumb, it is always good to fact-check your sources or cross-reference the information with other reports to get a better understanding of the situation.

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Featured Image: Lianhe Zaobao (联合早报)