NGOs Provided Crucial Insight in Beijing

Regarding the opinion-page article ''Concerning NGOs, China Had a Point,'' Sept. 21: The author implies the Chinese were wanting in hospitality. On the contrary, those of us attending the UN conference on women found our needs met with efficient transportation and with adequate meeting places, materials, and food.

Far more troubling than his misconceptions about hospitality, however, are the author's assertions that the NGO forum served no purpose useful to the United Nations meeting. He refers to an earlier NGO conference in Rio de Janeiro as a ''spectacle'' and a ''circus,'' and implies the same was true in China. In fact, grass-roots groups from all over the world met to share their ideals, and their considerable knowledge and expertise. These are the groups that, when all is said and done by the official UN c onference, will carry out much of the work of implementing the Platform for Action.

I wasn't at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, so I can't comment on the role of NGOs there. But in Beijing, the NGOs provided invaluable experience, insight, and knowledge that could only have enlightened delegates to the official UN conference.

Ami Laws Stanford, Calif.

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