If you needed any more reason to think Harvard University has a serious lack of ethics, then this story should seal the deal.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Harvard canceled a human rights discussion centered around Hong Kong back in 2015 because Chinese President Xi Jinping was going to be visiting the school around the same time and Harvard thought the two events happening simultaneously would be “embarrassing.”
The event was organized by Teng Biaou, a human rights lawyer who had fled from China after he had been kidnapped and tortured by authorities for participating in the 2014 Hong Kong protests. The event was canceled and never rescheduled after vice-dean William P. Alford of Harvard Law ordered the event postponed. Alford told the Free Beacon that it was done because he didn’t want to jeopardize Harvard’s Chinese operations:
“I did ask that an event Mr. Teng planned to hold to coincide with a meeting between this university’s President and the Chinese President be postponed until after her short Beijing visit because I thought that timing might have an impact on university activity there (regarding academic, scientific, humanitarian and rights matters),” Alford said. “As the person who first invited Mr. Teng to spend a year here, I felt some responsibility for whatever impact his undertakings might have for others at the university.”
Teng said he was shocked.
“Academic freedom should be an important principle of Harvard or any universities,” Teng said. “I was shocked when I saw this obvious self-censorship by Harvard. The Chinese government’s increasing influence on American universities is really alarming.”
We should all be shocked. The Free Beacon looked into the relationship between China and our own ivy league Universities and found a very lucrative and even illegal relationship:
China has spent eye-popping sums of money on elite Western universities. Chinese companies, universities, and nationals have gifted more than $900 million to U.S. universities since 2013, according to the Department of Education. Harvard has received $93 million, nearly 10 percent of all grant money of Chinese origin. Those figures, however, may be underestimating the degree of financial dependence between elite schools and the Chinese regime. The Education Department launched a probe into Harvard and Yale University in February, citing concerns that the two universities might have failed to report hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign gifts and contracts. Harvard did not respond to a request for comment.
While university administrators are quick to defend the Chinese grant money as benign donations, U.S. officials see some of the grants as a national security risk. A 2019 Senate report concluded that recruits of China’s flagship Thousand Talents Program, a state-backed initiative that offers grant money for researchers, are illegally stealing U.S. funded research. The controversial program’s reach extended to Harvard, where Professor Charles Lieber, the chair of the chemistry department, was arrested this January for concealing his ties to the Thousand Talents Program to federal agents.
As you can imagine, this kind of relationship has lead to Universities benefiting from the money to censor talk inconvenient to China just like the example given above. This includes an event Teng attempted to organize in June of 2015 to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre at Harvard, which was canceled by the university because the room supposedly had audio issues.
The brightest minds and the future leaders of the United States are supposed to come from places like Harvard. It’s disturbing to think that China has its grasp on the university, and by relation, its students.