Many people ask me how the United States can claim to promote human rights after its abandonment of Afghan women — and its inability to move China on rights violations in Xinjiang or Hong Kong.
Indeed, as autocrats seize power or grow bolder, those who believe in freedom of speech and peaceful dissent are increasingly silenced. The United States seems to have less and less leverage to mitigate this repression.
So it is especially appropriate that Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center has chosen to award its 33rd annual Liberty Medal on Sept. 21 to two prominent rights advocates, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai and Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. The award will be presented virtually because Lai sits in prison, while Hathloul is under house arrest after prison and torture.