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PetroChina stake sold over Sudan link

April 2005

Harvard, the world-famous US university, is selling an estimated $4.4million (£2.35m) stake in PetroChina, whose parent company, owned by the Chinese government, is closely linked to the Sudan regime.

The decision follows protests during which senior students encouraged classmates to withhold contributions to the annual senior class gift. Harvard activists are claiming the decision as a victory in their campaign over Sudan, which the US has accused of a genocidal war in Darfur.

Lawrence Summers, the university’s president, said: ‘Divestment is not a step that Harvard takes lightly, but I believe there is a compelling case for action in these special circumstances, in light of the terrible situation still unfolding in Darfur and the leading role played by PetroChina’s parent company in the Sudanese oil industry, which is so important to the regime.’

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says Harvard owns 67,200 shares in PetroChina, a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corp, which has oil operations in Sudan.

However, Harvard may have additional PetroChina investments on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which it does not have to declare to the SEC.

The SEC also reports that Harvard owns 10,000 shares in a subsidiary of Sinopec, another Beijing company that is said to be laying an oil pipeline in Sudan. Summers has now said Harvard will consider withdrawing investment from Sinopec and other companies trading with Sudan.

During the apartheid era the university did not fully divest from South Africa despite sit-ins and hunger strikes, but in 1990 it sold its tobacco company shares.


Further Information
http://www.harvard.edu
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