US Senator Marco Rubio and Representative James McGovern have nominated Hong Kong pro-democracy movement for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

The co-chair and chair of Congressional-Executive Commission on China sent the Nobel Peace Prize Committee a nomination letter for the city’s “impressively organized and coherent, yet notably leaderless and flexible” protest movement. The prize, they said, shall honour “millions of people in Hong Kong whose bravery and determination have inspired the world.”

Hung Hom Tsim Sha Tsui protest China extradition pro-democracy "December 1" Salisbury Garden Road
Photo: May James/HKFP.

Protests erupted last June over a now-axed extradition bill. Demonstrators are continuing to demand an independent probe into the police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.”

Other commissioners, including representatives Chris Smith, Thomas Suozzi, and Tom Malinowski, and Senators Jeffrey Merkley, Steve Daines, and Todd Young, also signed the nomination.

In the letter, they said Hongkongers “demonstrated civic courage, extraordinary leadership, and an unwavering commitment to a free and democratic Hong Kong that upholds the rule of law and fundamental human rights and freedom” and like Liu Xiaobo, made sacrifices to speak up for human rights.

Liu Xiaobo
Liu Xiaobo in 2008. Photo: FactWire screenshot.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced 11 years of imprisonment on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” and passed away in custody in 2017. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 to honour his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China” in absentia and the prize was presented to an empty chair at the ceremony. His widow Liu Xia was under house arrest for years since his death.

The letter said the US and UK “suspended the sale of police and crowd control equipment to Hong Kong” and the government has “used excessive and unnecessary” to crack down peaceful protests.

Last year, Norwegian lawmaker Guri Melby also nominated Hongkongers for the prize as “further encouragement to the movement”.

rachel wong

Rachel Wong

Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.