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Protest Disrupts Chinese Ambassador’s Speech at Harvard Conference

  • 23 Apr, 2024
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Protest Disrupts Chinese Ambassador’s Speech at Harvard Conference



In an event that underscored the tensions surrounding China’s policies on Tibet, Hong Kong, East Turkestan, and Taiwan, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Xie Feng, faced a 45-minute disruption during his address at Harvard University’s Kennedy School China Conference on April 20.


According to reports from and the Taiwanese CNA news agency, the disruption was orchestrated by a group of protesters, including Tibetan and Taiwanese Americans, who accused Xie of advocating for policies they deemed genocidal. Holding Tibetan flags and banners reading "China Lies, People Die," the protesters stood up one by one during Xie’s speech, delaying its continuation.


The protest, organized by Students for a Free Tibet and Coalition of Students Resisting China, comprised roughly 35 individuals who also gathered outside the Kennedy School with Tibetan flags and signs condemning China’s actions. Among the protesters were Harvard students and local Boston residents, united in their opposition to China’s stance on various issues.


Cosette T Wu, co-founder of Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP, was quoted expressing dissatisfaction with Xie’s past actions, stating they contradicted both their values and Harvard’s. Tsering Yangchen, co-president of the Boston chapter of Students for a Free Tibet, highlighted her personal connection to the cause, emphasizing the importance of exposing the truth about China’s actions.


Harvard University Police Department spokesperson Steven G Catalano confirmed that five protesters were escorted out after refusing to cease disrupting the talk. Notably, three of the escorted protesters were Harvard students, whose names will be shared with their respective schools.


The sixth protester, who walked out during Xie’s speech, was not documented by HUPD. However, the protestors’ press statement clarified that the protest aimed at highlighting China’s human rights abuses and aggressions in various regions, with Xie as a focal point.


Responding to the disruption, an online press release from the Chinese embassy in the US quoted Xie warning Washington against interfering with China’s internal affairs. He cautioned against actions that could damage China’s interests, referencing issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and the South China Sea.


The incident at Harvard reflects the ongoing tensions surrounding China’s policies and actions, not only internationally but also within academic settings. It serves as a reminder of the complexities and controversies inherent in diplomatic relations and human rights advocacy.