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The staff is cowardly in refusing to take a stand against honoring a murderer.
In several well-researched paragraphs, the violations of the Chinese government are laid out, which in themselves might be persuasive enough to convince the staff not to welcome Jiang Zemin. Interestingly, the staff does not mention his role in ordering the tanks into Tiananmen Square eight years ago, causing the death of students just like us, who were martyred in the name of free speech.
The staff's justification--that he holds power over millions--sounds more like the appeasement of a terrorist than a defense of free speech.
That we would offer a forum to a murderer is in itself despicable, but that as a free press we would offer the right to speak without fear of persecution to a man who will not do the same is illogical.
While a hostile attitude toward China on the part of our government could conceivably exacerbate human rights abuses in that country, we doubt the University would have the same effect. If the U.S. wants to listen to Jiang Zemin, let it do so on public land, not on the grounds of a hallowed University that stands for freedom, reason and truth--things Jiang Zemin has not protected.
On a Mass. Ave. gate entering the Yard reads the admonition, "Enter to grow in wisdom. Depart to serve better thy country and thy kind."
It is doubtful Jiang Zemin will do either.
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