Melissa Chen

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Melissa Chen
Melissa Chen on Reason TV.jpg
Chen on Reason TV in 2021
Born1985 (age 36–37)
OccupationJournalist, activist
Known forCivil liberties, human rights activism
Notable work
Ideas Beyond Borders

Melissa Chen is a Singaporean journalist and activist. Chen is an author for Spectator USA and co-founder of Ideas Beyond Borders. She resides in the United States.


Chen was born in Singapore.[1] She was raised in a conservative household. Chen emigrated to the United States at 17, living in Boston.[2] She studied at Boston University. She later became a journalist. Chen has stated her decision to reside in the United States is due to the country's freedom of the press and ideas.[2]

Chen rose to prominence when she became a strong advocate for Amos Yee,[3] a Singaporean student who had been arrested and imprisoned for publishing materials (depicting Lee Kuan Yew in a negative way) that the government of Singapore considered to be insulting. Chen assisted Yee when the latter fled to the United States and claimed political asylum.[4] Yee severed ties with Chen in 2017.[1] Chen would later call for Yee to be deported after he expressed pro-pedophilia opinions and created pro-pedophilia content.[1][4]

In 2017 Chen co-founded Ideas Beyond Borders with Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, an Iraqi advocate for free speech.[5] The foundation focuses on translating works written in English into Arabic; most of the translated works are books that are considered controversial (often to the point of being de facto or de jure banned) in the Arabic world, such as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and works by Thomas Paine.[6] Chen serves as the organization's managing director.[7]


Chen is a critic of the People's Republic of China's weak human rights record, curtailing of free speech, and foreign policy.[2] She is also a critic of her native Singapore's restrictions on free speech.[2]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chen called for the closing of Chinese wet markets.[5] An article Chen authored for The Spectator USA about the need to close Chinese wet markets was criticized in Singapore for using an image of a Singaporean wet market, though Chen later clarified the image used was chosen by an editor and not herself and her article did not criticize wet markets in Singapore.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Melissa Chen who advocated for Amos Yee's asylum in the US now wants him deported due to his advocacy for pedophilia". The Online Citizen. 2018-12-11. Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  2. ^ a b c d "Joe Rogan Experience #1427 - Melissa Chen". The Joe Rogan Experience. Feb 14, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "One-time Amos Yee supporter Melissa Chen says, 'I've done more than anyone else' to show Singapore's success in managing Covid-19 crisis". Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  4. ^ a b "Lady who helped Amos Yee get asylum in US now wants him deported from US". Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  5. ^ a b "Time to ban wet markets". Spectator USA. 2020-03-18. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  6. ^ "This man brings hope to Arab youth, one Wikipedia page at a time". Christian Science Monitor. 2020-02-05. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  7. ^ "Bringing 'weapons of mass instruction' to the Arab world".
  8. ^ "S'porean activist uses photo of S'pore wet market while slamming China wildlife markets". Retrieved 2020-04-09.