US Congress members angers China over Nobel Peace prize Nomination

Beijing is accusing the US 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. The US lawmakers nominated Joshua Wong, 21, his colleagues Nathan Law, 24, and Alex Chow, 27, who led tens of thousands in the
largest pro-democracy protest in 2014 because of “their peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong”.

Authorities in Beijing say the notion is inconsistent with the “one country, two systems” principle under which the Asian financial centre returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Former presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, in a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, 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 that Beijing has taken steps to undermine Hong Kong’s long-cherished autonomy.”

The Chinese and Hong Kong governments called the protests illegal and  the nomination provoked anger from Beijing’s Communist Party rulers who say the city is an inalienable part of China.

China’s Foreign Ministry in a statement sent to Reuters  said that Wong and the others involved in the protests had been punished in accordance with the law and  labelled the protests they led as “illegal from head to toe”. It also stated: “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.”

Mostly a peaceful protest, it failed in its attempt to pressure Hong Kong and Beijing authorities to give full democracy to the city but it is becoming a part of a populist uprising, one of the greatest challenges Communist Party rulers in Beijing have faced in decades.

Wong would become the second youngest winner of the Nobel prize, if he wins, after Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, who became a laureate in 2014  when she just 17. Winners will be announced in October.

Wong faces two appeals over separate jail sentences. The student leader said he hoped the nomination would give the city’s democratic movement more bargaining power.

“I believe the nomination would show the international community and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping how the young generation will persist in fighting for democracy, even if we have to face imprisonment or a permanent ban from public office,” Wong said.

The only Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner was a dissident intellectual, Liu Xiaobo, who died July last year, becoming the first Nobel Laureate to die in custody since Carl von Ossietzky died under Nazi Germany’s watch in 1938.

Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, is still under effective house arrest and suffers from severe depression


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