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Chinese student punished for calling Singaporeans ‘dogs’

/ 08:04 PM March 26, 2012

SINGAPORE—A Chinese university student in Singapore has been fined and ordered to perform community service for calling Singaporeans “dogs” in a microblog, local media said Monday.

In addition to three months’ community service and a fine of Sg$3,000 ($2,374), Sun Xu, a 25-year-old senior at the National University of Singapore (NUS), will have his scholarship rescinded in his final semester.

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“As the student had acted in a manner that was detrimental to the reputation and welfare of the university community, his actions breached the NUS Code of Student Conduct,” said a university circular posted by national broadcaster Channel NewsAsia on its Facebook site.

“The Board of Discipline has ruled that his remarks were improper, insensitive and disrespectful… The remarks had also stirred up considerable unease, distrust and ill-will within and beyond the university community.”

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Last month, Sun enraged Singaporeans by posting on popular Chinese microblogging site Weibo that “there are more dogs than people” in the city-state, whose resident population is 74 percent ethnic Chinese.

In his post, the mechanical engineering student expressed annoyance at elderly Singaporeans who stared at him or scolded him when he accidentally bumped into them in public places.

Reactions online to Sun’s punishment were split, with some netizens saying it was sufficient and others demanding harsher penalties.

“No, it isn’t enough. We want NUS to expel him and pay back all the $ spent on him,” reader David S.C. Wong posted on the Channel NewsAsia.

But NUS law undergraduate Eddy Hirono said Sun’s punishment was fair.

“Scholarship boards have a right to expect exemplary behavior from their scholars and I believe there should be conditions stating that they should not bring the institution’s name into disrepute,” he told AFP.

The incident happened amid lingering resentment against immigrants and foreign workers whose growing presence was a hot issue in the May 2011 general election and contributed to the ruling party’s decline in popular support.

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Many compared the Sun incident to the outrage in Hong Kong over a Chinese professor who called the people of the former British colony “dogs,” “bastards” and “cheats” after a spat between mainlanders and locals went viral online.

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TAGS: China, Chinese student, Education, Singapore
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