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Senate Passes Cruz Bill to Express Solidarity with Chinese Dissidents

Legislation would rename plaza in front of Chinese embassy after imprisoned Nobel laureate Dr. Liu Xiaobo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate unanimously passed legislation authored by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to rename the plaza in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. as “Liu Xiaobo Plaza,” after pro-democracy dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Liu Xiaobo. Dr. Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, have been imprisoned for seeking basic human rights denied to them by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Detained in 2008, Dr. Liu continues to be unjustly imprisoned under the authority of PRC President Xi Jinping. Dr. Liu was one of the authors of “Chapter 08,” an anti-Communist manifesto calling for political freedom and human justice in China. The bill is now headed to the House for consideration, where Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has introduced companion legislation.

Sen. Cruz has spearheaded the effort to rename the plaza in Dr. Liu’s honor since 2014, and delivered speeches on the Senate floor in September, October, and November of 2015 to call attention to Dr. Liu’s plight and human rights abuses in communist China. While seeking passage of his legislation on the Senate floor, Sen. Cruz also highlighted a similar successful effort by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to rename the street in front of the Soviet embassy ‘Sakharov Plaza’ after Soviet dissident and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov during the height of the Cold War.

“When Ronald Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate and said, ‘Tear down this wall,’ he didn’t listen to the voices of timidity saying, ‘Well, that’s going to embarrass the Soviets,’” said Sen. Cruz. “I would note that White House staffers repeatedly crossed that line out of his speech. They said, ‘No, no, no, that will upset the Soviets. That will set us back diplomatically’ ... And each time President Reagan wrote that line back in with his own hand, explaining to those staffers, ‘You don’t understand – that is the entire point of giving the speech. That’s why I’m there. Because when we speak the truth, the truth has power.’ And the U.S. Senate should not be aiding and abetting the oppression of the Chinese government. I am grateful to my colleagues for passing this legislation today, for standing with Dr. and Mrs. Liu and for standing and speaking for truth and for freedom.”

Complete bill text can be viewed here. Watch Sen. Cruz’s floor speech from September here. Watch Sen. Cruz’s floor speech from October here. Watch Sen. Cruz’s floor speech from November here.


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