Chen Nahui

Assistant Professor, China University of Political Science and Law

Chen Nahui is an Assistant Professor at China University of Political Science and Law. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Political Science Department of Columbia University. She received her B.S. in economics from Zhejiang University, M.A. in anthropology from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Ph.D. in history from Nanyang Technological University. Her research interests are China-Singapore relations, China and Asia, West-East power relation, nationalism, and civilization. She has published articles in journals including Foreign Affairs Review, Southeast Asian Studies. Her commentaries have appeared in The Diplomat, People’s Daily, and World Affairs. She is also the translator of Discovering Chinese Nationalism in China: Modernization, Identity, and International Relations. She is currently working on her book, entitled Lee Kuan Yew: The Image of Singapore in Post-1978 China.

The Chinese officials' experiences help shape the Chinese public’s perception of Singapore. The photo shows a mini Merlion overlooking residential blocks in Suzhou. (SPH)

China’s misperceptions of Singapore

Chen Nahui of the China University of Political Science and Law opines that China's misperceptions of Singapore range from those which are "not too far off" from reality or similar ones, to those that differ in characteristic elements, those that differ because of time-lag, and those that have sprouted from one's imagination. These explained for China's “unrealistic expectations” of Singapore.
 Xi Jinping during a meeting with Lee Kuan Yew: “Mr Deng Xiaoping repeatedly mentioned the need to learn from Singapore when he was alive. This was necessary in the past, and remains so in the present and future.” (Graphic: Jace Yip)

The construction of the Singapore Model in Mainland China

What did the Middle Kingdom with 5000 years of civilisation learn from a country that is 13,344 times smaller and celebrated its 54th National Day in 2019?