CSN to Harvard:
Unhand Meghan Howard
In the case of this protestor,
now bullied by Harvard University,
CSN calls for protest and asks,
'Who is doing injustice to whom?'
By John Kusumi
Today's story begins in ancient times,
when Tibet developed its own language, culture, nationhood -- and its unique
brand of Buddhism. Tibet sits on a high plateau surrounded by the mountains of
the Himalayas. Because of its altitude, Tibet is the source of the major rivers
in Asia, and Tibet has been referred to as 'the roof of the world.'
ancient times, fast forward to the middle of the twentieth century. As communism
took over China, in 1949, the Red Army of Chairman Mao also pressed into Tibet,
beginning a holocaust of Chinese occupation. Tibetans bravely resisted the
occupation of their homeland, but by 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee
We could tell
innumerable stories of suffering and of the destruction of lives and cultural
treasures like monasteries; of vicious Chinese attempts to wipe out Tibet's
religious heritage; and of China's population transfer into Tibet -- a cultural
genocide, of sorts. There are over one million Tibetans who are now dead, having
been killed at the hands of the Maoist Red Chinese regime that is still in power
today in Beijing.
colonized, and more than that, Tibet has been raped. Tibet had no more than a
few million in its population at the time of China's invasion, and the one
million deaths represent at least 20% of Tibet's entire population. By any
standard, theirs is a hideous story of genocidal persecution. Today, in prisons
and in the Chinese gulag -- concentration camps for slave labor, known as the
Laogai -- Tibetans still languish, perhaps for being monks, nuns, or nationalist
Tibetans who campaigned for the freedom of their homeland.
have faced a desperate situation for far too long. Feeling
that their voices are ignored, they are happy when they receive help -- for
example, from Caucasians who speak English. Enter
Meghan Howard -- with blond hair, this 21-year old senior at Harvard does not
present your usual Asian face.
story has arrived at December of 2003, the time of a visit by Chinese leader Wen
Jiabao to the U.S. He would be giving a speech at Harvard among his travels,
and by having her name drawn in a lottery, Meghan Howard would be attending his
The opportunity was
knocking, and at the last minute, Meghan Howard was devising her plan for how
she would raise the issue of Tibet. She made headlines by disrupting the speech
of Wen Jiabao, and it is already a legendary story that she smuggled a flag of
Tibet into the speech by hiding it in her pants. About ten minutes into Wen's
talk, she unfurled the flag of Tibet and began shouting. Slogans of protestors
for the purpose often say, "Free Tibet now!" and "Stop the
killing in Tibet!" Howard added that she was a voice for those who could
not speak for themselves there, and vowed that the Free Tibet movement would
never stop fighting until Tibet is free.
her protest, Ms. Howard was escorted out of the gathering by Harvard police.
That she was escorted out is the only Harvard action that is understandable in
this story. Howard was not violent and did not cause any property damage; so,
having left the gathering, this is where the story should
Ms. Howard gave a round of
media interviews, and Tibetans around the world wrote to her, thanking her and
hailing her as a hero. Next, we might expect the story to simmer down, but
Harvard proceeded to throw fuel onto the fire by moving to discipline Meghan
Howard. This, too, became reported in the media, and drew a fresh round of
outrage, condemnation, and attention for Meghan Howard.
discipline? For what crime? Has the Harvard administration bothered to
acknowledge the over one million crimes against humanity that Meghan Howard was
protesting? Howard's outburst at the Wen Jiabao speech was a textbook example of
political free speech in action -- speech, that is constitutionally protected in
the United States under the first amendment of our Bill of Rights.
McUniversity? --Harvard University appears bent on revenge, and proceedings
against Ms. Howard are unfounded; unconstitutional; insensitive where I have
described them as 'genocidally correct;' and, a flagrant, heinous affront to the
civil liberties of all Americans. If the U.S. establishment is responsible to
provide leadership by example, this example suggests that 'creeping Maoism' is
afflicting our national politics.
is no punishment, no penalty, and no retribution that Meghan Howard should
suffer in consequence of exercising her constitutional rights. Harvard
University is miles and miles off the page with America's system, values, and
national identity. How low can they go? They are now persecuting an American
girl, because she raised the issue of persecution under Communist China.
though the Administrative Board (that will hear her case on January 13) may be
sympathetic, and she is told to expect a light penalty, the simple fact that
they are having a proceeding at all is outrageous. The China Support Network is
outraged at this un-American, unconstitutional harassment, bullying, and
persecution of an American girl who was fully within her rights, and who ought
instead to be offered the podium to give her own speech about the holocaust in
Tibet. Too many Americans are still in the dark about these genocidal crimes,
and the entire matter needs to have more of an airing.
China Support Network is calling for a protest at Harvard to accompany the
hearing in proceedings against Meghan Howard. [Details will follow at www.chinasupport.net.] Her case was discussed at a recent
dinner of the Free China Movement, and people there suspect Red Chinese
involvement, in the form of political pressure upon Harvard University.
are more questions to ask in this case, because a memo signed by the President
of Harvard in advance of the speech called for any and all disruptors to be
disciplined. Was Harvard President Summers flagrantly violating the U.S. constitution of his own accord? What pressure was he facing? What are his
financial interests in China? Did any new cars appear in his driveway as tokens
or gestures from the Red Chinese in connection with the speech and appearance at
The China Support Network
is calling for the President of Harvard to fully disclose any financial benefit
that he derives from his relationship with Communist China. And, most
importantly, we are calling for the President of Harvard to unhand
episode leads to our upcoming visit to protest the proceeding by
Harvard's "Ad Board" against Ms. Howard. The China Support Network
calls upon all activist organizations in the Boston area to send people in
solidarity to the Meghan Howard protest. [Details will follow at www.chinasupport.net.] The appeal of this case ranges beyond
the Tibet issue and the China issue. Civil libertarians and concerned Americans
should likewise be concerned, outraged, or livid about this case. We need to
protest the genocidal correctness and the creeping Maoism that is represented in
the smoking-gun memo that was regrettably issued by Harvard's President.
hope that you will join us in this protest. We can consider the question, "Who is doing injustice to whom?" We feel that
there are two clear answers. China is doing injustice to Tibet, and Harvard is
doing injustice to Meghan Howard. The former is an issue where people are
fighting for their lives -- some Tibetans remain near death due to torture in
Chinese run prisons. In a life-and-death issue, Ms. Howard was more than
justified in her actions. The latter actions by Harvard merely add insult to
injury, and speak to the character of some, hopefully few, people in the U.S.
Possible slogans and signs for this
protest include, "Shame on Harvard University," "Unhand Meghan
Howard," "Respect Meghan Howard's rights," "Discipline
China, not Meghan Howard," "Freedom of Speech," "Freedom,
not Maoism," "True Americans respect the first amendment,"
"Two wrongs don't make a right," "Harvard is genocidally
correct," "We're back... China Support Network," "Free Tibet
now," and "Stop the killing in Tibet!"
Published by the
China Support Network (CSN). Begun as the American response group in 1989, CSN
represents Americans who are "on the side" of the students in
Tiananmen Square -- standing for democratic reform, human rights, and freedom in
China. For dissident news; to support a stronger China policy; or get more
information, see http://www.chinasupport.net.