How Congress Can Help a Chinese Dissident

I released the following statement in the wake of an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that highlights the plight of Chinese political prisoner, Dr. Liu Xiaobo. The op-ed outlines how Congress can once and for all stand up to China on human rights and champion Dr. Liu’s cause for political freedom.

It is far past time to honor Dr. Liu Xiaobo and stand up to his Communist oppressors in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been imprisoned for eight years – the entirety of Barack Obama’s presidency – yet his fate remains unchanged. As I argued on the Senate floor last year, we must be willing to stand up to China on human rights and reevaluate our priorities. Courageous human rights activists in China like Dr. Liu are willing to risk everything to secure freedom, and we should craft a foreign policy that supports them instead of their oppressors. Just as Reagan stood up and renamed the street in front of the Soviet embassy ‘Sakharov Plaza’ – after another wrongly imprisoned Nobel laureate – we should show the same resolve with the PRC.

In February, the Senate unanimously passed my bill to rename the street in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington after Dr. Liu to force the issue with the PRC. It unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, received a veto threat from President Obama. Now is the time for the House of Representatives to act. This is our last chance to force President Obama to do the right thing and stand with Dr. Liu, his fellow Nobel laureate, in championing the cause for political freedom in China. I urge all my colleagues in the House to support and pass S.2451, and for human rights in the PRC.


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