By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 3: A group of US lawmakers have nominated activists of the Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Movement’ for Nobel peace prize in what they called an act of “unwavering commitment to a free and prosperous Hong Kong” and to achieve “democratic aspirations”.
“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,” Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement when their nomination was made public.
The group including four Democrats and eight Republicans was led by US Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, the chair and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). The bipartisan group nominated Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong for the prestigious honour.
“Wong and his fellow pro-democracy advocates have been unflinching in their peaceful and principled commitment to a free and prosperous Hong Kong. They are an inspiration and their cause has reverberations far beyond their city,” Senator Rubio said in a statement.
In response, on Friday, China’s foreign ministry said that the group of American congressmen should “stop meddling” in the country’s “internal affairs” and instead contribute positively towards improved Sino-US ties.
“We urge the relevant U.S. Congressmen to stop interfering in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs and do more to benefit the development of Sino-U.S. ties rather than the opposite,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ‘Umbrella Movement’ is a mass political movement that began in Hong Kong in 2014 where activists called for democratic reforms in the country in the face of growing Chinese government political control over the island. Activists such as Wong led the protest that went on for over three months and participated by tens of thousands of Hong -Kongers who carried umbrellas during the protests.