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The E.N. Thompson Forum on World closes its fourteenth season with an address by Andrew Nathan at 3:30pm on April 11, 2002 in the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Nathan's lecture is titled "Is It Any of Our Business? Human Rights as an Issue in U.S.-China Relations."

Thompson Forum Home


free and open to the public; all events in Lied Center for Performing Arts, 12th & R Streets, Lincoln, NE, except Terrorism Panel, in Kimball Hall

Andrew Nathan
"Is It Any of Our Business?"
Thursday, April 11, 3:30pm

Mikhail Gorbachev
"Russia: Retrospect and Prospect"
Thursday, March 14, 10:30am

Anna Rosmus
"Growing Up Where Hitler Lived"
Thursday, March 7, 3:30pm

Terrorism Panel
Featuring United States Senator Chuck Hagel, with Thomas Gouttiere, Steven Hinrichs, Patrice McMahon and Peter Tomsen
Friday, Nov. 2, 2-4pm

Meave Leakey
"The Search and Discovery of Our Earliest Ancestors"
Monday, Sept. 24, 3:30pm

Civil and political rights in China are largely illusory, says Andrew Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia University and an internationally renowned expert in U.S.-China relations. Nathan is the author of numerous books, including The Tiananmen Papers and Negotiating Culture and Human Rights: Beyond Universalism and Relativism.

Nathan says although there is a widening sphere of privacy in China that allows for some political discussion, official dissent is still not tolerated. Instead of becoming more pluralistic, the former totalitarian state has instead become a police state. Nathan is such a potent critic of Chinese human rights abuses that he recently was refused permission by the Chinese government to visit the country.

In a review of Nathan's book, China's Transition, the New York Review of Books noted that what distinguishes Nathan's approach to China "is that he takes up the political question of how to negotiate with Beijing about human rights."

Nathan received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1971, and since that time has taught at Columbia University, serving as director of the East Asian Institute from 1991 to 1995. Nathan's chief publications are Peking Politics, 1918-1923: Factionalism and the Failure of Constitutionalism (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1976); Chinese Democracy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985); Human Rights in Contemporary China, co-authored with R. Randle Edwards and Luis Henkin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), China's Crisis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress (with Robert S. Ross, New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), and China's Transition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997). He is chairman of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch/Asia and serves on the editorial boards of China Quarterly, The Journal of Contemporary China, and China Information, among others. He is currently engaged in a collaborative project based on survey research, analyzing political culture and political participation in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

In its fourteen-year history, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues has established itself as one of the preeminent speakers series in higher education. Past Thompson Forum events have featured, among many others: Holocaust survivor and peace activist Elie Weisel; Camelia Sadat, the daughter of Anwar Sadat and founder of the Sadat Peace Institute; Maki Mandela, daughter of the former South African president; the Rev. Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University; Hedrick Smith, journalist and expert on the former Soviet Union; Kennedy Administration Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.