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Private Christian college refuses to allow Chinese dissident to speak because of her criticism of woke culture

The student government of a private Christian college has denied a request by a Republican group to allow a Chinese dissident to speak on campus. They cited her criticism of woke culture and her comparisons of the ideology to her experience under communist rule.

The group at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., rejected the Turning Point USA chapter’s request to host Xi Van Fleet, arguing that her positions, represented by her tweets critical of woke culture could be deemed “hurtful or offensive,” Fox News reported.

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The Virginia mother, who endured Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution before immigrating to the United States, has emerged as an outspoken opponent of critical race theory and frequently warns about similarities she sees between the “woke revolution” and her experience living under Mayo Zedong’s Chinese Cultural Revolution, including the suppression of opposing viewpoints.

Grace Stiger, president of the Turning Point USA chapter at Whitworth University, said she wanted Van Fleet to tell her story and provide students with a different perspective as a survivor under Zedong’s rule. But the student government objected to Stiger’s request, citing Van Fleet’s anti-woke tweets, which they said target diversity, equity and inclusion; Black Lives Matter; the LGBTQ community; and “environmental justice,” among other social justice initiatives.

Van Fleet denounced the student government’s decision to block her from speaking, calling it “extra concerning that this happened at a Christian college, which is supposedly more conservative.”

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“What are they afraid of?” she asked. “Those people who believe in lived experience, then they are going to get the lived experience from me because I’m not talking about an idea that I read or researched or studied.”

Van Fleet said that although she is not surprised at all and is familiar with what’s happening on American campuses, she hopes students will learn from the history of China’s Cultural Revolution.

Stiger said that although speakers are regularly requested, her Republican group is subject to more pushback and opposing votes than any other club. The student government has voted down previous proposals from conservative groups, including a 2019 request from Young America’s Foundation to host Ben Shapiro. On its website, Whitworth writes that it seeks to affirm “freedom of expression for its students, staff and faculty” through faith.

–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice

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