Nhu Xuan Hua for TIME

President Tsai Ing-wen is a signal lamp casting out China’s looming shadow, conveying to the world that Taiwan will not acquiesce to the Chinese Communist Party.

While Taiwan stands a mere 100 miles from mainland China, under President Tsai’s leadership, it is neither adrift nor drawn in. Freedom is its North Star, which has been clear in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan has proved that the virus can be controlled—without emulating China’s drastic policies.

When cynics said Taiwan was too small and too isolated to stand up against China’s regional ambitions, President Tsai stood tall. When China lured Taiwan’s allies into cutting off ties with the island nation, President Tsai was undeterred. I had the honor of meeting President Tsai last year during Taiwan’s National Day celebrations, and I witnessed firsthand how she stands up for the rights of Taiwan’s people.

China is the world’s largest communist regime, and this self-made woman is determined to resist it. She does not cower.

Cruz is a Republican Senator from Texas

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