American words ring from the lips of freedom fighters around the world.

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

In China, crowds in the hundreds and thousands shout these words in major cities and top universities, protesting the zero-covid policies that remain in place three years after the initial outbreak of the disease.

After a blaze killed 10 apartment tenants last week in the capital of the Xinjiang region, it seems to have ignited the hearts of their countrymen.

Although denied by city officials, many attribute these needless deaths to strict lockdown policies, which physically locked citizens in their homes.

On the streets young men and women can be seen holding up blank pieces of paper.

These blank pages represent the censorship of the Chinese Communist Party that erases all traces of dissent from the internet and social media.

“I hope in the future, I will no longer be holding a white piece of paper for what I really want to express,” one protestor told CNN. 

Far from fearful, these crowds also cry for free speech, human rights, and the end to dictatorship, many even criticizing President Xi Jinping by name.

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From city to city, the famed words of American founding father Patrick Henry fan the fire in the hearts of these citizens, who long for nothing more or less than freedom.

Though we in the West have no shortage of failure, may the cries of the Chinese people remind us of who we are to the world.

The freedom they hope for, we have running through our country’s very veins.

It is coursing through the Constitution, through the laws of the land, through the psyche of patriots from coast to coast.

Truly, there is opportunity to bleed out, but the cry for freedom our forefathers taught us calls to us across the centuries and over the sea.

This week, the people of China took up their torches to protest the authoritarian regime.

May we, like the freedom fighters in China, resolve to cry with our dying breath, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

Catie Robertson is an intern with the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Government.