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One Harvard undergraduate carrying 13 to 15 posters for the Taiwanese Cultural Society (TCS) protest of the President of China's visit Saturday was denied admittance by guards at the entrances to the Yard, TCS members said yesterday.
"We were actually pretty upset about this," said TCS Co-President Chienlan Hsu '99. "Chinese supporters were allowed to bring in Chinese flags, which is kind of the equivalent of our signs--a symbol of your protest or your support of the president. The supporters were allowed in, and we were not."
However, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said that "there was no policy about bringing signs on to campus. We had no guards on" at the time of the rally.
About 40 people endured chilling rain outside Memorial Church to hear two Harvard professors speak about why Taiwan deserves to be an independent nation at a rally Saturday afternoon.
Tun-Hou Lee, associate professor of virology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Sidney S. Chang, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, addressed Taiwanese history and culture and the relationship between mainland China and Taiwan.
The rally sponsored by TCS was the culmination of a series of educational events, including tabling in front of the Science Center and flyer distribution to undergraduates' doors, according to James S. Chang '98, TCS co-president.
The TCS organized the event in order to help educate students about the issues involved rather than simply protesting, James Chang said.
"The people at Harvard don't really understand what's at stake here," James Chang said.
During the event, members of the group surrounded the podium carrying signs that read "Free Taiwan" and "Respect the Voices of Two Million."
"The Chinese government is obsessed with unification," Sidney Chang said in his remarks.
Lee, who protested Jian'gs speech, said he had mixed feelings about the University's response.
"I think we put up a pretty good effort," Lee said.
However, he added that "in this specific case, the Fairbank Center [for East Asian Studies, the event sponsor] has not handled this one very well."
Lee said he particularly objected to the way in which questions were selected. "I see a lack of transparency in the process," he said.
Bill Kovach, curator of the Nieman Foundation and a member of the committee that selected questions that were posed to Jiang, said the Chinese delegation was not allowed to see the questions beforehand. All questions submitted have been made public by the Fairbank Center.
The rally followed a speech by Chinese dissident Harry Wu. Originally planned for the steps of Widener Library, it was moved across the Yard to Memorial Church to coincide with Wu's speech.
TCS member Orchid L. Pusey '00 attended the event despite the damp weather.
"It's very much something that is important to me," she said. "I couldn't stay home."
Pusey said she had expected more coordination with other student groups.
"I was surprised that the Taiwanese association spoke here and the others didn't," she said. "If you're going to hold up your sign you better defend it."
But James Chang said the real coordination problems occurred between Harvard and non-Harvard groups, since people without a valid Harvard ID or parent's pass were not allowed in the Yard on Saturday.
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