Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow Friday said they were honoured to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a group of US lawmakers at a time when the city’s freedoms are “under serious attack by China”.
A bipartisan group of four senators and eight members of the House of Representatives announced Thursday that they had nominated the activists “in recognition of their peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong.”
Wong, Law and Chow — who shot to prominence as leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement — said they were honoured by the nomination, but warned that Beijing was targeting the freedoms enjoyed by residents of Hong Kong as a semi-autonomous part of China.
The city’s administration — handpicked by Beijing — has “criminalised people for their speech, deprived people of their right to stand in elections, ousted elected lawmakers and punished dissenters by jailing them,” the activists said in a statement.
The honour is with the people when the Umbrella Movement radiates again. It is our honour as three of the over a million of movement participants to receive the nomination. The glory shall be with members of democratic movements in Hong Kong and China over the past hundred years in case of laurel.
Hongkongers inherited the spirits of Mr. Xiaobo Liu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and activist from 1989 pro-democracy movement, and others in rebelling against profiteering by officials and striving for democracy, which nurtured the Umbrella Movement and the path to universal suffrage through civil disobedience instead of obedience and the belief in our fate in our hands. The same tune echoes when seeking change, as human is consistently after freedom, equality and the realization of democracy and justice in society to allow love and peace emanate through.
It is a moment when the One Country Two Systems is being dismantled by the Chinese government and the regime prosecutes people for their words, strips citizen’s right to be elected, denudates the seats of elected legislator and punishes dissidents by incarceration. At this critical juncture, we are ever more in need to join hands with the international community in defending Hong Kong as the bridgehead of democratic movements and the demonstration of the spirit and principle of democratic autonomy under One Country Two Systems.
If there is a consciousness in realizing “a community of shared future” as proposed by PRC President Jing-ping Xi, we urge related parties to accept people’s request for peaceful revolution by retrieving the Decision on August 31st and the call for democracy in Hong Kong and China. It is only in such ways that a truly peaceful world could be created and according poise demonstrated. The authorities should also release Xia Liu, widow of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Xiao-bo Liu, human right lawyers in July 9th Mass Arrest and all human right dissidents, while apologising to the families of victims at the 1989 pro-democracy movement, reflecting on the rights and wrongs over the 60 years of regime and facilitating peaceful transition to democracy in China.
Power and money are never replacement for truth. Equality, freedom and love are the due directions for a society with conscience. Power roots from people; Democracy roots from autonomy. We are blessed to be part of the Umbrella Movement, an incident that left important marks on the world and human society. The spirit of liberty and autonomy nurtured from it shall continue to lead the way forward for a few generations of people in manifesting courage in life and in continuous pursuit for freedom, equality, democracy and other values that human acclaims.
The spirit of the Umbrella Movement shall persist.
Nathan Law, Alex Chow, Joshua Wong
“At this critical juncture, we need to join hands with the international community and together defend Hong Kong as a bridgehead for democratic movements.”
Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” deal since 1997, when Britain handed the territory back to China, and its residents have rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech.
But there are growing concerns that these liberties are being eroded. Wong, Law and Chow said Friday the system is “under serious attack by China”.
Officials at the foreign ministry in Beijing did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Tens of thousands of protesters paralysed parts of Hong Kong during the Umbrella Movement, demanding fully free elections for the city’s leader.
The rallies failed to win concessions and since then, Wong and other leading activists have been charged over their involvement.