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KSG Council Will Not Protest Jiang Speech

* Motion to censure Chinese rights abuses fails

By Chana R. Schoenberger, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

After a contentious debate, the Kennedy School of Government's student council voted last night against officially protesting Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit on Nov. 1. The Kennedy School Student Government (KSSG) defeated a strongly worded motion objecting to the Chinese leader's visit by a vote of 20 to 8, with four abstentions.

The motion, proposed by KSSG Vice President of Student Services Naheed Nenshi and student representative JoAnn Fan, censured Jiang for human-rights abuses in China.

The resolution also asserted that "lending the credibility of our institution to one who has so cruelly repudiated the ideas of free expression and debate demeans us all."

Nenshi said the memory of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre pushed him to draft the motion, which resolved that the KSSG "does not favor extending the privilege of a forum in the Harvard community" to Jiang.

"Inviting someone to speak at Harvard University implies giving some legitimacy to their ideas, Nenshi said at the meeting last night.

The failed motion also authorized KSSG president Patrick Normoyle to write Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine "outlining our objections to this visit." In addition, the resolution called upon other Harvard student governments to "take similar steps" in protest.

While no KSSG representative verbally supported Jiang, the majority agreed that they should support his freedom of speech.

After nearly an hour of debate, the KSSG voted against the motion. Representatives said the issue may be raised again at a special KSSG meeting next Tuesday night, if council members submit another resolution against Jiang's visit.

While Harvard and White House officials refused to confirm yesterday whether Jiang will speak on campus, the University has already held a lottery for tickets to the event. Harvard officials said a building has not yet been set aside for the speech.

While only Harvard affiliates were eligible for the lottery, many students said they did not hear of the Chinese leader's speech until the lottery was over. Harvard spokesperson Joe Wrinn said the notice appeared on the front page of the University Gazette and as an advertisement in The Crimson.

The KSSG debate included a proposed amendment to the motion, which would have criticized the lack of availability of tickets to the speech and the low level of publicity. The amendment was subsequently defeated.

The Chinese embassy in Washington will hold a news conference this morning to announce Jiang's U.S. schedule, according to White House spokesperson P.J. Crowley.

The Crimson obtained the schedule for Jiang's visit yesterday.

Jiang will visit Boston, Honolulu, Philadelphia and New York City. While in Washington from Oct. 28 to 30, he will meet with President Clinton and attend a state dinner at the White House

While Harvard and White House officials refused to confirm yesterday whether Jiang will speak on campus, the University has already held a lottery for tickets to the event. Harvard officials said a building has not yet been set aside for the speech.

While only Harvard affiliates were eligible for the lottery, many students said they did not hear of the Chinese leader's speech until the lottery was over. Harvard spokesperson Joe Wrinn said the notice appeared on the front page of the University Gazette and as an advertisement in The Crimson.

The KSSG debate included a proposed amendment to the motion, which would have criticized the lack of availability of tickets to the speech and the low level of publicity. The amendment was subsequently defeated.

The Chinese embassy in Washington will hold a news conference this morning to announce Jiang's U.S. schedule, according to White House spokesperson P.J. Crowley.

The Crimson obtained the schedule for Jiang's visit yesterday.

Jiang will visit Boston, Honolulu, Philadelphia and New York City. While in Washington from Oct. 28 to 30, he will meet with President Clinton and attend a state dinner at the White House

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