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Taiwanese, Tibetan students protest Chinese envoy's speech at Harvard

04/22/2024 01:42 PM
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Taiwanese-American student Cosette Wu (left) and Tibetan-American student Tsering Yangchen (right), members of Harvard University's Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP, hold banners that together read "China Lies, People Die" to protest Chinese Ambassador to the United States Xie Feng's speech at their university on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Harvard University's Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP
Taiwanese-American student Cosette Wu (left) and Tibetan-American student Tsering Yangchen (right), members of Harvard University's Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP, hold banners that together read "China Lies, People Die" to protest Chinese Ambassador to the United States Xie Feng's speech at their university on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Harvard University's Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP

Washington, April 21 (CNA) A group of Taiwanese-American and Tibetan Harvard students on Saturday disrupted Chinese Ambassador to the United States Xie Feng's (謝鋒) speech at Harvard University, accusing him of being responsible for numerous human rights violations.

Four students -- two Taiwanese-Americans and two from Tibet -- held up banners inside a conference hall where Xie was attending and delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the Harvard Kennedy School China Conference 2024.

In a video clip on the protest provided by the "Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP," Taiwanese-American Harvard student Cosette Wu (吳亭樺), who is a co-director of the student organization, was seen holding the banner that reads "China Lies, People Die."

The video chip showed Wu yelled at Xie, saying he was trying to "paint an illusion of a prosperous China, but your hands are painted with blood."

"You robbed Hong Kongers of the most fundamental freedom and devastated their democracy. Now in my country Taiwan, you sought to do the same," she yelled before being forcibly removed from the scene by a man.

The man was later identified in a press release from the protesters as "an organizer" from the Harvard Kennedy School's Greater China Society, which helped coordinate the Saturday speech.

Local police officers intervened and admonished the member of the Greater China Society, the release added.

Meanwhile, similar protests, organized by the Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP and "Students for a Free Tibet," were also staged outside the conference hall on Saturday.

Xie's speech was subsequently delayed for 45 minutes.

The protestors' press statement said Saturday's protest targeted the Chinese government for its human rights abuses and aggressions in Tibet, Hong Kong, East Turkestan, and Taiwan, and were aimed at Xie in particular.

Xie is responsible for turning Hong Kong into a dystopian state during the 2019 protests and for the enactment of the National Security Law, the statement said.

He has also made thinly veiled threats of war to intimidate Taiwan, and orchestrated propaganda trips to East Turkestan to whitewash the CCP's genocide against the Uyghurs," the statement added.

Speaking up for Taiwan

Asked to comment on Saturday's protest, Wu told CNA in a Sunday interview that Xie was the CCP's commissioner to Hong Kong during the 2019 protests and when the National Security Law was implemented.

"So this was a man who is directly in charge of overseeing the CCP's complete takeover of Hong Kong society and the destruction of their democracy," Wu said during a phone interview.

"And now in his role as the ambassador, he's making, like, thinly veiled threats of a military invasion of Taiwan," she said, adding that, as a Taiwanese, it was her duty to speak up.

Wu, a junior at Harvard, said her parents are Taiwanese and she grew up in Hawaii. She regularly visits Taiwan during summer and winter breaks.

She told CNA that Harvard should not have invited Xie in the first place.

We shouldn't invite him to our campus because that directly contradicts our values and Harvard's values, she said, adding "And these types of viewpoints and propaganda should not have any place in the Harvard community."

Meanwhile, the protestors' press statement quoted a Tibetan student, who asked not to be named, saying that her family was forced to flee Tibet after "China massacred tens of thousands of Tibetans during the CCP's military invasion and colonization of my homeland."

"Today, in occupied Tibet, China is continuing the genocide of Tibet by ripping 80 percent of all Tibetan schoolchildren from their families and forcing them to attend colonial boarding schools where speaking Tibetan is forbidden," she said.

The unnamed co-president of the "Students for a Free Tibet" Boston chapter accused Xie of being an "advocate for the genocide" of Tibetans and said that it was her duty as a Tibetan Harvard student to show the world the truth. "The occupation must end. Tibet will be free."

According to an online press release by the Chinese embassy in the U.S. regarding Xie's Saturday speech, Xie warned Washington to stop "interfering with China's internal affairs."

"If the U.S. side keeps interfering with China's internal affairs and damaging China's interests on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Xizang [Tibet] and the South China Sea, how could the two sides ever put a floor under the relationship, no matter how many guardrails there may be."

Xie also stressed that the "Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations."

The so-called "Taiwan independence" is a dead end, and the one-China principle is a red line not to be crossed, he said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Joseph Yeh)

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