One of the most powerful men in the world will be speaking at Yale, today. The mayor of New Haven and the governor of Connecticut will not be in attendance, according to the Yale Daily News:
Yale President Richard Levin said Wednesday that he extended DeStefano an invitation to hear Hu's speech in Sprague Hall, but DeStefano's spokesman said he could not clear his schedule for Hu's appearance. Neither could Rell, according to her spokesman, so she deputized the commission of the state's Department of Economic and Community Development to greet the president ceremonially. (Mishkin)Hu's visit has been about the trade deficit and opening the Chinese market ever wider, not about China's rather dismal human rights record. In fact, American leaders seem increasingly willing to overlook Chinese human rights abuses in the face of China's growing economic and political clout. Levin believes that free trade will eventually lead to democratization:
[Levin] said Western investment and open markets would encourage China to improve its human rights record and allow more freedoms. (AP)Either that, or it will encourage China to think that it can do whatever it pleases, so long as Western businesses are happy. A free market doesn't necessarily lead to a free country: ask the Russians, who seem to be sliding back towards authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin. And the Chinese Communist Party shows no signs of relaxing its grip on power, which it has held since 1949.
In any event, Rell and DeStefano could have cleared a few hours from their schedules to meet with this man, couldn't they?
Or was this a deliberate snub?
"Chinese President Hu to cap U.S. tour with Yale speech." Associated Press 21 April, 2006.
Mishkin, Sarah. "DeStefano, Rell will not see speech." Yale Daily News 21 April, 2006.