Chia Thye Poh: Return to Singapore

Posted by under Breaking News on 20 December 2000

Chia Thye Poh finishes his graduate studies in The Hague in December 2000 and will return to Singapore. A recent Malaysiakini article -- Spirit of Asia's Mandela, by Ang Hiok Gai -- reports on an interview with him. Chia, once one of the longest-serving prisoners of conscience anywhere in the world, speaks about the future, maintaining once again that his quest is for democracy. He states that, in regard to the struggle for democracy, "This is not about a personal battle. The struggle for democracy is much more than personal battles.

I don't feel bitter towards anyone. Democracy is not about violence. They can jail me, but how are they going to jail democracy? One day, I'll get there -- we'll all get there."

Chia is close to the heart of Amnesty International Canada, as he was the adopted prisoner of conscience of the section's Winnipeg group.

The Canadian government raised his case with the authorities at several levels, and at the end of the 1980s offered him asylum in Canada.

It was an initiative that was much appreciated, but which Chia was unable to accept, as he would accept no conditions in exchange for release.

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