West Lawn of Capitol Hill, Washington DC, USA

“You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

After the passage of twenty years, there are those who wish to cloud the legacy of Tiananmen by saying that democracy has many faces and Western style democracy is not for China. Some even say that the Chinese people do not want democracy. Some say that for the sake of stability China needs a strong single party government. Any logical analysis of this reasoning quickly reveals it as self serving rhetoric designed to rationalize the illegitimacy of absolute power. If one accepts this logic, then one must also accept the concept of slavery. The some people actually desire to be slaves. That one human being actually has the right to tell another human being how to think, how to pray, and how to associate. The absurdity of this logic is quite evident.

Freedom and democracy may indeed have many faces. But freedom and democracy in whatever form, have a common foundation. That foundation is truth. We are today to call for truth. Without truth there is no basis for any relationship between people or between nations. We are here today to ask why the Chinese government is so afraid of truth. We are here today to call on the government of China to confront the truth. To acknowledge what happened on the morning of June 4, 1989. We call on the Chinese government to end the blacklist of people who participated in Tiananmen. We call on the Chinese government to end its persecution of its best and brightest citizens who dare to speak the truth. In particular we call on the Chinese government to release Liu Xiaobo, signer of Charter 08, and democracy patriot Wang Bingzhang, who as we speak is in solitary confinement for life for his lifelong advocacy for democracy.

But most of all we call on the U.S. government and likeminded defenders of freedom to support truth by supporting an open and free Internet for all peoples. The technology exists to bypass the firewalls constructed by tyrannies to block the truth from their people and enslave their minds. With a modest investment the democracies of the world can open the Internet to millions of people in China, Vietnam, Iran, Cuba, Burma and North Korea. Such a large scale access to the truth will destroy these firewalls and strike a blow to tyranny much in the same way the collapse of the Berlin Wall brought an end to communism in Europe.

We are here today to remember but we are also here to call for truth. It is truth that tyrannies fear most. It is truth that builds stable societies and creates international stability. We must demand truth from the government of China. We must take up the call of our fallen brothers as they brought the goddess of democracy into Tiananmen Square, “Chinese people, arise! Erect the statue of the Goddess of democracy in your millions of hearts! Long Live Freedom! Long Live Democracy!”