F310 Fall 2018 Human Rights in China: Repression and Torture—Should Americans Care?
Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Oct. 31–Nov. 14
Note Dates (Nov. 14 is in the makeup week)
Instructor: Burt Wides
Coordinator: Dick Young
China’s human rights violations against ethnic and faith minorities have been well known and widely reported, but the responses by America’s leaders in government, business, and academia have oscillated, ranging from condemnation to silence, which is excused by cultural and historical national differences. This course will focus on (1) the breadth and depth of China’s human rights atrocities and violations, (2) the obstacles in the United States and United Nations to challenging China’s abuses, including the worldwide increase of Chinese influence and self-censoring in the United States based on alleged national security interests, and (3) the whys and hows in our actual national security interests, as well as professional and personal interests in the private sector. The instructor will relate his experiences as legislative counsel for Falun Gong, the most repressed faith group in China; as pro bono advocate for thousands of Chinese students studying in the United States after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre; and as pro bono counsel to Initiatives for China, the largest umbrella coalition advocating for all faith and ethnic minorities, journalists, and political dissidents in China, Tibet, and Hong Kong.
Burt Wides, a Harvard College and Law School graduate, served in senior positions in the US Senate, House, and White House for decades, and in private law practice in Washington, DC, and Wall Street. At OLLI, he has lectured on the development of the Voting Rights Acts and voter suppression, and on “Explosive Exposes” in Washington, DC, during the 1970s and ‘80s (the Watergate Affair, the Pentagon Papers, the Senate Select “Church Committee,” and post-9-11 wars and surveillance).