Americans Must Speak Up During Captive Nations Week

This Captive Nations Week, America’s lawmakers and the American people need to speak up on behalf of the many persons who continue to be victims of communist regimes around the globe.

Today, five communist countries, China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam, all  hold their own people captive through oppressive laws, arrests and show trials, fear, and censorship. They control movement of people, force abortions, and limit speech, assembly, and religion. The citizens of communist countries are truly captives of their own governments.

As China’s economy and international influence grows, the Chinese people continue to suffer. Anyone who does not submit to and embrace the ways of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is its enemy. The CCP targets minority groups like the Uyghur Muslims, and pro-democracy activists fighting for freedom like those in Hong Kong. A 2021 study from Dr. Adrian Zenz provides new evidence that the CCP has been conducting labor transfers of the Uyghur people with more than one motive. CCP documents like the Nankai Report, confirm that these transfers of people to various labor camps serves an economic purpose, as the CCP exploits Uyghurs for profit, and also displaces Uyghur communities in order to disintegrate their ethnic group as a whole. This is evidence of an ongoing genocide. The CCP’s treatment of Hong Kongers has sent a message to all Chinese people that their criticisms of the regime are not welcome and will be punished, even with death. Jimmy Lai, a staunch critic of the CCP and the founder of the news outlet Apple Daily, is currently jailed for his support of the Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations. His story is just one of thousands. The Chinese people will not be free until they escape both forced labor and imprisonment of conscience.

The Cuban people are currently suffering from economic collapse as the communist government fails to provide basic necessities to its people and punishes those who speak out against them. The people feel as though they have nothing to lose. They have flooded the streets to voice their misery and to issue the battle cry “Patria y Vida!” meaning “Homeland and Life.” Their fighting spirit shines through the hardship with this new slogan, which reclaims the communist government’s slogan “Homeland or Death.” Cuban authorities have responded to pleas for freedom by sending soldiers to subjugate the protesters in the streets and causing Internet blackouts to silence their communications online. Let there be no mistake: the Cuban people are trapped by a communist nation that will not allow them to take ownership of their future. Their protests are not over the government’s response to Covid-19 or the US embargo. Rather, they are demanding freedom from their oppressive government leaders who destroy their businesses, silence their speech, and hold them hostage in an economic crisis.

North Koreans are some of the most shackled people in the world to the brutal regime they live in. Under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-un and coupled with the international restrictions put in place after the outbreak of Covid-19, North Koreans were especially cut off from the rest of the world. In 2020 the North Korean government made travel to China illegal, with a punishment of death for violating this rule. With nowhere to escape, North Koreans are subject to a grim fate as Covid-19 put an already isolated and economically weak country in an even worse position. The government has refused much international aid, further endangering its people who already suffer from a lack of basic necessities like food and medicine. The country is unable to manufacture and produce enough supplies internally for North Koreans to enjoy any semblance of comfort. As the people live under brutal conditions and are punished by death when they try to escape them, North Korea is just a glorified prison.

Every president since Eisenhower has observed Captive Nations Week, including President Biden who recently issued this year’s proclamation. His statement serves as an emphatic denunciation of the human rights atrocities of communist regimes, past and present, and recommits the United States to stand in solidarity with those around the world who do not enjoy the blessings of liberty. The president’s position is clear as he stated that, “Communism is a failed system. A universally failed system.” As the longest standing democracy, it is critical for the United States to stand in unwavering opposition to communism and its flaws.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is dedicated to highlighting the injustices inflicted by communist governments, educating Americans about the dangers of communism, and striving to build a world free from these diabolical regimes. This Captive Nations Week we honor the 100 million who have lost their lives to communism and stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight for their freedom.