Whether it’s here in the United States or across Europe, immigration has become a flashpoint in policy discussions. Legitimate concerns are expressed over factors ranging from potential competition for jobs or resources to feed the needy, to worries about terrorists crossing borders in the guise of desperate refugees. Liberal thinkers frequently deride such concerns, labeling those who utter them as “xenophobes” or racists. If you happen to publish any material questioning or criticizing generous immigration policy or loose restrictions here in America you can expect to come under attack by opponents all across the media spectrum. Fortunately, that’s pretty much all you can expect.
Not so in other parts of the world. One recent example of this phenomenon is the case of 23 year old Australian Ai Takagi and her husband. Living in Singapore, they’ve been operating an opinion website where they have been critical of immigrants, particularly those of Chinese and Filipino origin. (Admittedly a risky strategy in a city state with a greater than 75% ethnic Chinese heritage.) Clearly you’d expect them to face some criticism for this, but it went considerably further than that. (Yahoo News)
An Australian woman accused of fanning hatred of foreigners in Singapore on her website said Monday she would plead guilty to sedition, an offence punishable by jail.
Ai Takagi, 23, told a district court of her intention at the opening of what was to be a joint trial with her Singaporean husband Yang Kaiheng, 27.
She will return to court on Tuesday to enter her plea while her husband’s trial will resume on Friday…
If found guilty, Yang and Takagi could be jailed up to three years and fined up to Sg$5,000 ($3,620), or both, on each sedition charge.
They face one month in jail and up to Sg$1,500 in fines, or both, for withholding information from police.
These two weren’t sneaking out in the dead of night to burn down religious centers or blow up commuters on a train. They had a website where they aired their opinions… apparently fairly topical ones based on all the traffic they drew. And now their site is shut down and they are looking at potentially lengthy prison terms. For expressing their opinions.
It’s not just Singapore. In Germany, the police have brought out tanks and fired water cannon at protesters who seek to cut back on the mass importation of Muslim asylum seekers. In Calais, 75 year old retired French General Christian Piquemal was arrested for leading an anti-immigration protest which was quashed by the state with significant force.
General Piquemal said he was shocked that the police used tear gas to break up the rally while the protesters were singing the national anthem, the Marseillaise. “I expected you to be standing at attention, singing with us,” he told them.
Hostility towards illegal immigrants is increasing in the Channel port, where an estimated 4,000 migrants are living in a squalid encampment known as the “Jungle”.
The government banned demonstrations “likely to disturb public order” in Calais after a march in support of migrants ended with the storming of the P&O ferry Spirit of Britain last month.
These stories are piling up in significant numbers across Europe and Asia. With that in mind, feel free to debate the immigration issue here on the home front, but let’s not be too quick to demonize all of those terrible “xenophobes” who are concerned over job losses or terrorist threats. Free speech is a wonderful thing which we sometimes take for granted. Consider the items linked in this article and remember how good you have it here in the United States.