Captive Nations Week is an annual official observance in the United States aimed at demonstrating solidarity with the “captive nations” under the control of authoritarian governments such as China and North Korea.
The Congress, by Joint Resolution approved July 17, 1959 (73 Stat. 212), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week of July of each year as “Captive Nations Week.”
At the height of the Cold War in 1959, Congress established “Captive Nations Week” to show the American people’s solidarity with the hundreds of millions suffering under communist regimes.
Scheduled for the third week of July, the occasion gave rise to annual parades and rallies in major American cities, with thousands of people taking to the streets, supported by governors, mayors and officials at every level of government, to demand the liberation of communist-controlled nations.
Sixty-one years later, Captive Nations Week — which began Sunday — is all but forgotten. Yet the phenomenon of communist subjugation of free people is real and growing, and 20 percent of the world’s population still lives under single-party communist dictatorships — more than in 1989.
If ever there were a moment to bring back Captive Nations Week, this is it.
In creating this week, Congress specifically called out the “imperialistic policies” of the Soviet Union (USSR).
Today, this phrase is just as easily applied to the People’s Republic of China, which dominates a growing number of lands and peoples, and aggressively seeks to add more to the list.
Hong Kong is the latest proof. Beijing has violated international treaty obligations with its passage in June of a so-called national security law that effectively ends the “one country, two systems” policy. The law empowers authorities to arrest anyone deemed to be “subversive” or “secessionist,” which in practice means anyone criticizing the Communist Party or advocating democracy and freedom — ideals that are antithetical to Beijing’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
Hong Kong is now a captive city.
Yet Hong Kong is hardly the only place that Communist China has overrun. Congress noted the subjugation of Tibet when establishing Captive Nations Week, and to this day, Beijing seeks to stamp out Tibetan culture and the regional Buddhist faith. The regime’s favored tools include the destruction of monasteries as well as the kidnapping and torture of Tibetan activists, which has led the Tibetan government-in-exile to warn of a Chinese-led “cultural genocide.” The apparent successor to the Dalai Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was kidnapped at age 6 by the Chinese Communist Party in 1995 and remains captive to this day.
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