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‘People of Hong Kong’ Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

A Norwegian politician made the nomination in the hopes that it would further encourage the pro-democracy movement.
October 17, 2019, 7:11am
hong kong protests
Protesters in the streets of Hong Kong. Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

Four months after pro-democracy protests started in Hong Kong, all eyes are still on its fight for greater autonomy. Demonstrators have made use of technology to organise and spread their message, with many risking their lives for the cause. And for at least one Norwegian politician, these efforts ought to be recognised.

Guri Melby, a member of Norway’s parliament announced, announced on Twitter on Tuesday, Oct. 15 that she nominated the "people of Hong Kong" for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

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"I have nominated the people of Hong Kong, who risk their lives and security every day to stand up for freedom of speech and basic democracy, to the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020,” Melby said. “I hope this will be further encouragement to the movement.”

The international community celebrated the nomination, with many thanking her on Twitter.

“I chose to nominate the people of Hong Kong, more specifically the (anti-)extradition bill movement, because it is the democracy movement in its entirety which deserves recognition for its brave efforts,” she told the South China Morning Post.

“I realise that the government of Hong Kong has tried to paint protesters as violent hooligans, but my impression from the streets of Hong Kong is that these are ordinary people, protesting against a city government bent on curtailing their freedoms.”

Melby visited Hong Kong last month.

“Although I left Hong Kong with a heavy heart, knowing that the people will have tough times ahead defending their freedoms, I was reassured by their unflinching commitment to the rule of law, freedom of the press and democracy. I hope this peace prize nomination helps to reverberate that message from the people of Hong Kong to the rest of the world,” Melby added.

This isn’t the first time Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. In 2018, members of the United States Congress nominated activists and leaders of 2014’s Umbrella Movement.

Melby’s decision to nominate Hong Kong people will likely spark the ire of China, which froze relations with Norway and blocked shipments of Norwegian salmon after the Nobel Committee's 2010 decision to award Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo the Peace Prize. Relations between the two countries only warmed in 2016, after Norway agreed to not “support actions that undermine” Chinese interests.

Nominations are considered by the Nobel Committee, which creates a shortlist of candidates with the help of permanent advisers. The Committee aims to select a laureate based on a unanimous decision but when this is not possible, they settle for a majority vote.

The Committee receives hundreds of nominations every year. This year, it had to choose from 301 candidates.

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