A bipartisan group of US congressmen announced Thursday they had nominated Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and the entire Umbrella Movement for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. In a letter to the Nobel Committee, the four senators and eight members of the House said the nomination was “in recognition of their peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong.”
“Wong, Law, and Chow and the entire Umbrella Movement embody the peaceful aspirations of the people of Hong Kong who yearn to see their autonomic and way of life protected and their democratic aspirations fulfilled,” they said. “Hong Kong’s pro-democracy advocates have made significant contributions to peace by actively seeking to safeguard the future of Hong Kong at precisely the time Beijing has taken steps to undermine Hong Kong’s long-cherished autonomy,” they said.
“They have shown great courage in the face of harassment, threats, detention, and legal and financial repercussions,” they added. In nominating the Umbrella Movement, the congressmen noted that the Nobel Committee has shown “past willingness to brave the displeasure, and outright retribution, of the Chinese Communist Party and government in awarding the prize to Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo.”
The 2014 Umbrella Movement was an unprecedented rebuke to Beijing as tens of thousands of protesters brought parts of Hong Kong to a standstill. They demanded fully free leadership elections to replace a system where Hong Kong’s chief executive is selected by a pro-Beijing committee.
The rallies failed to win concessions and since then, Wong and other leading activists have been charged over their involvement. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan were among the signatories of the letter to the Nobel Committee.