Sen. Cruz: Freedom Gives Hope, Solace, and Encouragement to the Persecuted and Spreads Fear to Their Captors

I addressed the “Change not Chains” rally to honor Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Liu Xiaobo and celebrate the freedom of his wife Liu Xia, who have fought ceaselessly to promote democracy and freedom in China. 

My full remarks may be viewed here and below: 

Thank you very much. We stand here today in support of freedom. We stand here today in support of life. We stand here today in support of the fundamental human right that every man and woman and child deserves: a right to recognize that each life is a precious gift from God. That government should not be in the business of murdering its citizens. That government should not be in the business of torturing its citizens.

For far too long, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has committed human rights abuse, after human rights abuse, after human rights abuse: murder, torture, a state policy of forced abortions. That is a crime against women and a crime against humanity.

Yet we stand here today also reflecting on the power of truth. On the power of light and sunshine. Communist dictatorships fear the truth. Communist dictatorships fear light and scrutiny, because their evil flourishes in darkness.

We stand here today celebrating. Celebrating that Liu Xia has finally been released. That she is out of imprisonment. She is free. And I will say, that is a testament to the men and women here. That is a testament to millions of voices across America, across China, across the world, who spoke out - who spoke out against her unjust imprisonment. Who spoke out against the unjust imprisonment of her late husband Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xiaobo, awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his relentless clarity shining light on the practices of the PRC. Bringing attention where the government didn’t want attention focused.

I was proud to introduce legislation to rename the street in front of the Chinese Embassy after Liu Xiaobo. Now that is a particular strategy that follows what Ronald Reagan and the United States did successfully during the Cold War with regard to the Soviet Union. And in particular in the 1980s, under President Reagan’s leadership, we renamed the street in front of the Soviet Embassy after the famed Russian dissident Sakharov.

Now the effect of it, some might say is minor. After all, what difference can a street sign make? But that street sign means, that any time the Embassy is giving directions to how to get there, they have to acknowledge that brave and courageous dissident. Anytime you go in modern days to the website to find out where might the Embassy be, they’re forced to acknowledge the brave and courageous dissident. Anytime someone writes a piece of mail that they want to get to the Embassy, they have to write the name of that dissident.

And I go back to where I started before, that what tyranny fears most is light and truth and exposure. I’m proud to say the legislation I introduced to rename the street in front of the Chinese Embassy passed the United States Senate unanimously. Republicans and Democrats standing together, and I can tell you right now the government in the PRC was none too pleased. Indeed, they have repeatedly, over and over and over again, raised with the United States State Department that this effort to rename the street is highly worrisome to them, highly bothersome to them.

I will tell you what I have consistently told, what I’ve told former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, what I’ve told current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is you can tell them if they don’t want to see this legislation passed both houses of Congress. If they don’t want to see the street sign go up, release Liu Xia. Talk is cheap. They acted too slowly to release Liu Xiaobo, and he died in their captivity. But I will tell you, the concerted effort of shining a light is why Liu Xia has been released.

Now, that does not suggest that we collectively should cease our efforts. It does not suggest that we’re done. Rather, it should encourage us to redouble our efforts. Because, what released Liu Xia was not an aircraft carrier pulling up along the Chinese coast. It was not tanks rolling across the border. It was not billions of dollars. It was simply light and truth. That light and truth is powerful. It is what each and every one of us are engaged in doing: shining the light and speaking the voice of human freedom. Tyranny hates inconvenient truths.

Sometime ago, I was in Jerusalem, I had the opportunity to visit with Natan Sharansky, the famed Soviet dissident who spent years and years in the Gulag. He described how the prisoners in the Gulag would pass message from cell to cell, ‘Did you hear what President Reagan said? Evil empire! Ash heap of history! Tear down this wall!’ The words we say here are heard far beyond one lawn in Washington, D.C. They are heard in darkened prison cells. They are heard by those facing unspeakable agony and torture. And the words of support and freedom give hope, give solace, give encouragement to those being persecuted, but they also spread fear in their captors.

We are here today in defense of justice. And I am deeply honored, I am humbled, to stand alongside you. God bless you.


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