Tuesday, April 18, 2006

# Posted 8:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

YALE WELCOMES ANOTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATOR TO CAMPUS: Actually, I think there is a fair case to be made for inviting Chinese President Hu Jintao to speak at Yale. Yale has educated thousands of Chinese students, whose experiences at Yale may contribute more to the future of Chinese freedom than any US government program.

On the other hand, Hu Jintao is the final authority responsible for the brutal oppression still practiced by the Chinese state. Yes, there is more personal freedom in China than ever before. No, its brutality is not even a drop in the bucket compared to that of Mao. But how much time would you want to spend in a Chinese prison?

What I hope is that Yale's president and faculty make it very clear to their guest that liberty is the essence of education, in both the arts and the sciences.
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

"But how much time would you want to spend in a Chinese prison?"

I'm afraid you have cited the worst possible area in which to compare China's and America's relative commitments to human rights. Chinese prisoners get beaten and killed by the guards. American prisoners get beaten and killed by their fellow prisoners. John Geoghan and Jefferey Dahmer come to mind - we've heard about their deaths simply because they were famous before they went to prison. I also think of those Texas prison wardens who joke about anal rape as being part of the package of being in prison. "Should have thought of that before you got arrested, buddy!"

I also think of John William King, who was sentenced to death in 1999 for dragging a black man to death behind his pickup in Texas. He had previously served three years in prison - for burglary. Did you get that? He went into prison a burglar, and came out a racist murderer.

If you ask whether I would rather live in America or in China, the answer, after about a milisecond's thought, is America. But if the choices are either American prison or Chinese prison - well, how much time will you give me to decide?
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