02/02/2018, 09.34
HONG KONG-CHINA

Occupy Central leaders nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

by Paul Wang

They are Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow. They are the first Hong Kong personalities to be nominated for the prize and among the youngest. Praised for their nonviolent and peaceful commitment to human rights in the territory. The power of Beijing against the prize.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, three of the leaders of the Occupy Central movement have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Their names have been handed over to the Nobel Committee of Oslo by a group from the US Congress and will almost certainly irritate China.

It is the first time that Hong Kong personalities have been nominated for the international award.

A letter from US MPs to the Committee justifies the decision "in recognition of [the trio’s] peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong and protect the autonomy and freedom guaranteed Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration".

The three activists, who would also be among the youngest to receive the award, are praised for their "civic courage, extraordinary leadership and an unwavering commitment to a free and prosperous Hong Kong that upholds the rule of law, political freedoms and human rights".

The Occupy Central movement gathered hundreds of thousands of youths and adults from the territory for almost two months in a sit-in in the central areas of Hong Kong in response to Beijing's decision to block any democratic development of the territory, in contravention of the agreements previously made with Great Britain, at the time of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.

It is also called the “umbrella movement” after young people used umbrellas to protect themselves from the water cannons and pepper spray used by police.

The long sit-in took place in non-violence, between studies and debates and even keeping the environment clean. Some Chinese parliamentarians have judged it "counter-revolutionary", and have called for the army intervention, accusing the young men of being maneuvered by "foreign powers". But many democratic activists in China have appreciated it as a courageous way of defending human rights.

It is likely that Beijing uses all its power and diplomacy to block the nomination, as it did in the past for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the writer Liu Xiaobo, left to die in prison for his writings on democracy.

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