Wang Tiancheng’s 2008 Democracy Award Speech

For A Brighter China

Mr. Chairman,
Present members of Congress,
Ladies and gentlemen:

We are gathered here for the sake of freedom for humanity, for the sake of a brighter tomorrow, and to honor the conscience and courage of humanity.  I am privileged to stand here to accept the annual Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy on behalf of two exceptional Chinese individuals, Mr. Hu Shigen and Mr. Yao Fuxin.

At this moment, we should be attributing to them honor and admiration, but my heart is heavy when I mention their names, for as of today, they are still being held in prison.

Mr. Hu Shigen, has already spent 16 years in prison, is aging beyond his years, and is plagued by illnesses, all for his efforts to break the silence and organize citizens and workers when fear gripped the country after the June 4th massacure.

I myself and 14 others were tried along with Mr. Hu Shigen.  ……………

Do you have a personal story about how Hu Shigen inspired you that you could add in two sentences?

While I do not personally know the second awardee, Mr. Yao Fuxin, I followed his success in organizing more than 40,000 workers from 20 factories in Liaoning province who took to the streets in 2002 to protest corrupt officials.  His bravery, determination, and vision were inspiring.

The award today not only recognizes these individuals for their self-sacrifice, but also represents the international community’s sense of responsibility towards human freedom. The support of the international community does make a difference.

It is clear that the desire for freedom and justice will continue to inspire people in China to fight heroically.  It is precisely because of this, I firmly believe, that the Goddess of Democracy will one day smile upon China and its fate will be bright.  

Leaders of authoritarian regimes should take note of the words of Alexis de Tocqueville when he said: “Would it, then, be wise to imagine that a social movement, the causes of which lie so far back, can be checked by the efforts of one generation?”