An on-the-ground report from our good friend and Babalú roving reporter Nathalie Vogel:
Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation honors Chinese dissident
The 100 million victims of communism were commemorated yesterday at the annual event of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington DC.
The event was widely attended by 20 embassies, heads of the foreign affairs Committee from parliaments of Nordic and Baltic states, several NGOs, and members of the U.S. Congress.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), delivered a keynote speech in which she noted that while the cold war was over, the fight against communism was not a closed case. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, herself a recipient of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom in 2011, urged the US government to continue fighting the evil of communism:
“While some people demanding freedom were able to overcome communism in Germany and Poland, many regimes such as Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and China continue to oppress their people and violate human rights,” she said
“We must stand in solidarity with these brave pro-democracy activists in Cuba who are engaged in a daily struggle against tyranny and a brutal dictatorship that stops at nothing to hold on to power and squash any and all dissent for over half a century of dictatorship,” she added.
She also noted that educating the population on the crimes of communism was still much needed:
“As a victim of the Castro regime, I am particularly concerned about the growing number of young people walking around in Castro and Che Guevara t-shirts.”
The Memorial was dedicated by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2007, the 20th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s famous “tear down this wall” speech at the Brandenburg Gate. During this year’s ceremony, The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation presented the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom to Chinese dissident Dr. Yang Jianli. Mr. Jianli is a survivor of the 1989 massacre at Tienanmen Square and was a political prisoner from 2002-2007.