July 8, 2013

Regarding Jackson Diehl’s June 24 op-ed column, “An F in academic freedom”:

Mr. Diehl’s labeling of Singapore as an “autocracy” is supercilious. There are different forms of democracy all over the world, shaped by each nation’s history, traditions and ethnic and religious mixes. Since its independence, Singapore has had regular, free and fair general elections with high turnout rates. Ultimately, it is the very essence of democracy for the citizens of each country, and their elected governments, to determine where to strike the balance between social harmony and the preservation of individual rights.

In addition, Singapore and the United States share many educational links and agreed in 2012 to step up collaboration in education. The objective is to encourage intellectual engagement and promote mutual exchanges of knowledge and discourse. It goes against the concept of academic freedom, which Mr. Diehl so strongly defended, for one party to attempt to impose its ideologies and views on the other.

Jerome Lee, Washington

The writer is a spokesman for Singapore’s embassy to the United States.

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