Grandma Wong personifies the bravery of Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners - she would be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
Wong became a target of Beijing for her pro-democracy campaigning and for proudly waving a Union flag in poignant protests, write Baroness Bennett and Lord Alton. | PA Images
Grandma Wong represents the very best of the Hong Kong protesters in bravely and stubbornly refusing to give in to tyranny. In nominating her for the Nobel Peace Prize, we send a clear signal to China.
The Nobel Peace Prize represents a beacon of hope, a symbol of resilience and an honour of which very few are worthy. On the reverse of the medal awarded to each winner an inscription is engraved, which reads “pro pace et fraternitate gentium” or “for peace and fraternity among peoples”.
Nobody embodies peace as meaningfully as Alexandra Wong this year, and that for her grace, strength and resilience, she would be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The 64-year-old pro-democracy campaigner, commonly known as “Grandma” Wong, has consistently personified hope in what has been the darkest time for Hong Kong. That’s why we’re proud to nominate her for the Prize.
Grandma Wong began campaigning to protect the autonomy of Hong Kong and defend the freedoms of Hongkongers in 2004, after plans to move to Shenzhen in mainland China exposed her to the tyrannical grip of Beijing. She had previously lived all over the world, from Vienna to the United States, which left her with a deep understanding of the possibilities of freedoms and Hong Kong’s autonomy.
In 2019, Wong’s activism was used as a weapon against her. She became a target of Beijing for her pro-democracy campaigning and for proudly waving a Union flag in poignant protests. She was arrested for publicly expressing her dedication to freedom in August 2019 and spent the following 14 months detained. She has since described fearing that she was “going to die” during those long months.
Wong’s story does not stop there. It would have been entirely humanly understandable if at that point this inspiring campaigner was beaten down by tyranny, was silenced. Unless we were placed in that situation, none of us can say how we would react.
But Wong rose like the phoenix. Her bravery cannot be understated. Even after been detained and facing the threat of death, she never turned her back on democracy and the people of Hong Kong.
In October of this year, she was returned to Hong Kong. The second she returned to her home, she also returned to her activism. During the press conference organised initially to declare her return to Hong Kong, she openly and defiantly called for the release of the 12 young people who had recently been detained just like her. In doing so, she sacrificed her own personal safety to protect others.
She is an inspiration to all of us here in the UK who believe in democracy, and she is an inspiration to the thousands of Hongkongers who continue to fight for their freedom
Grandma Wong personifies the grit, determination and unstoppable resilience demonstrated by all pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong. She is an inspiration to all of us here in the UK who believe in democracy, and she is an inspiration to the thousands of Hongkongers who continue to fight for their freedom. In many ways, Grandma Wong is also a symbol of the Hong Kong protesters, representing the very best of them in bravely and stubbornly refusing to give in to tyranny.
Despite her bravery and her honourable use of her media platform upon release, Wong was once again arrested last week. This is unacceptable. Supporters of democracy the world over cannot leave it to brave activists like Granma Wong to stand up to China alone. We stand with her, and in nominating her for the Nobel Peace Prize, with global political support, we send a clear signal to the Chinese Communist Party and its puppet regime in Hong Kong that we will not shield our eyes from their denial of the most basic human rights, their brutal repression of pro-democracy campaigners and their undermining of the rule of law.
We hope the global community will support our nomination of Grandma Wong as a beacon of hope to all Hongkongers fighting for freedom. Yet, more must be done. Grandma Wong is entirely deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize but she would surely want this nomination to be used to draw the world’s attention to the horrors being inflicted on the people of Hong Kong.
We call upon international supporters of freedom and democracy to impose sanctions on those responsible for abusing Grandma Wong and the many hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers like her. So-called “Magnitsky-style sanctions” are a relatively new force for freedom, but a powerful one. Such abuses will not be tolerated and those responsible must be held to account.
Baroness Bennett is a Green Party member of the House of Lords. Lord Alton is a crossbench member of the House of Lords and member of the Lords International Relations and Defence Committee.