Published: Sat, February 03, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

USA lawmakers nominate Hong Kong pro-democracy activists for Nobel Peace Prize

USA lawmakers nominate Hong Kong pro-democracy activists for Nobel Peace Prize

"In reference to the controversial nature of the nomination, the congressional lawmakers reminded the Nobel Committee of its past "willingness to fearless the displeasure, and outright retribution, of the Chinese Communist Party and government", with the example of the prize awarded to Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo".

Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong (right) and Nathan Law arrive at the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong on Nov 7 previous year.

Beijing is accusing the USA congress of interfering in China's affairs following nomination of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement and its most prominent student leader for this year's Nobel Peace Prize by some members of the U.S. Congress.

Wong, 21, Law, 24, and Chow, 27, were among a group of student leaders who led the 2014 protest movement against the Chinese parliament's decision to allow only approved candidates to run in Hong Kong's leadership election.

A letter of nomination, signed by a dozen members of the US Congress-four Democrats and eight Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio-was sent to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Reuters reported on Thursday.

"While the democracy movement in Hong Kong faces tremendous opposition from the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong government, these young leaders have continued their fight to improve the welfare of Hong Kong", wrote the lawmakers.

"This nomination could not be more timely as Hong Kong's long-cherished autonomy continues to erode, and Umbrella Movement leaders face reprisals simply for espousing basic human rights and freedoms", said Rubio in a statement accompanying the nomination letter.

Tim Collard, a former British diplomat who once worked in Beijing and is a Sinologist, said the award "should not be a stick for one country to beat the other over the head with.

They obviously want to send a signal that whoever opposes Beijing in Hong Kong will be supported by the United States", it said.

Recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize are announced by the Nobel committee every year in or around October, with an award-giving ceremony held in Norway's Oslo on December 10.

Wong, who was out on bail on public order charges linked to a separate 2014 incident, had earlier said he was ready to go back to jail.

It also said "Occupy Central" is an utterly illegal activity, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, with resolute support of the central government, has tackled it in accordance with laws.

"The nomination of Wong and the other two for a Nobel Peace Prize showed the USA congressmen's ill will toward China".

In a statement Friday, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing urged the USA lawmakers to "stop meddling" in Hong Kong and China's internal affairs, saying the 2014 protests were "downright illegal".

"How fitting would it be for Hong Kong's champions of freedom to receive the peace prize a year after the death of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo", Smith said in a statement accompanying the letter.

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