Singapore Democrats secretary-general, Dr Chee Soon Juan, is scheduled to visit the US over the next couple of weeks. His trip will begin on March 3, 2003 and will take him to Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York City and Chicago during which he will meet with government officials, policy-makers and civil society leaders. He will also give interviews to the media in the US as well as conduct talks at various universities.
The tour is intended to raise awareness about Singapores political situation among Americans. In Washington DC, Dr Chee will meet with State Department officials as well as members of Congress from the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Dr Chee has also been invited back to the University of Chicago to take part in a forum on March 13 together with Mr Francis Seow, Singapores former solicitor-general now living in exile in the US, and Professor Jeanne Marie Stumpf, a Singapore analyst. Dr Chee was a fellow at the University of Chicagos Center for International Studies in 2001.
Dr Chee recently returned from a similar visit to Europe and Canada. In Europe, he stopped in Stockholm and London where he had meetings with parliamentarians and NGO leaders.
In Canada, he met with Amnesty International officials as well as Canadian political leaders. In a meeting with Canadian Minister for Asia/Pacific, Mr David Kilgour, Dr Chee made the case for democracy in Singapore and warned that sustainable development and genuine stability cannot be achieved if the Singapore government continued to ignore human rights and democratic freedoms.
Mr Kilgour expressed support for the development of democracy in Singapore and indicated that he would bring the matter up with the Singapore government as and when the situation arose.
Dr Chee also gave talks at the International Studies department at the University of Toronto and Amnesty International where he met with some Singaporean students who expressed disappointment at the lack of democracy in Singapore and showed interest in the activities of the Singapore Democrats.