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Ten years ago, Jared Genser and Yang Jianli camped out on the steps of Harvard University’s Memorial Church and went on a hunger strike to protest the visit of Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Both protesters were students at the Kennedy School of Government, but that’s all they had in common. At 34, Yang was a seasoned Chinese dissident who had left the safety of his doctoral studies in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, to document the atrocities at Tiannanmen Square. The 25-year-old Genser was a well-intentioned Jewish American kid, until then mainly drawn to domestic causes. At the end of their 48-hour hunger strike, Genser and Yang helped to lead a 5,000-strong rally — according to The Boston Globe, one of the largest at Harvard since Vietnam.

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