Editor's Note: Following is the text of a letter dated Oct. 16 addressed to President Neil L. Rudenstine which was simultaneously forwarded by the author to The Crimson.
Dear Mr. Rudenstine,
I understand that the Chinese President Jiang Zemin has been invited to speak at Harvard University on Nov. 1. I am writing to request that you extend invitations to some of the prominent Chinese dissidents who live in exile in the United States to speak at the same event.
Such an invitation would demonstrate your concern for the free exchange of ideas, would appropriately balance the impact of the Chinese president's appearance and would provide an opportunity for some of those brutally silenced by the Chinese government to be heard by the public and by the primary silencer himself. At a time when business interests dominate the exchange between China and the United States and when U.S. foreign policy has so weakened its demands for human rights progress in China, an exchange of views between China's leaders and China's exiled political dissidents seems particularly important to promoting universally recognized freedoms.
In hopes of furthering this proposal, I am suggesting that you extend invitations to the following persons: Wang Juntao, Tong Yi and Liu Gang, who have all spent years in Chinese prisons for merely expressing their political opinions in China.
While I appreciate the short notice of this letter, I am confident that arrangements could be made to secure the participation of at least some of the people I have suggested. I would be pleased to assist in organizing this with you and appreciate your serious consideration. --Liu Qing, chair, Human Rights in China, New York