Raymond Li says the award has degenerated into a political tool, being wielded against strengthening China
Alfred Nobel envisioned his peace prize being presented to those “who have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. He may not have imagined the peace prize in his name being so politicized and reduced to a laughing stock that it is even contested by the “Occupy trio” — Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and his two allies Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang — as well as the entire “Umbrella Movement” campaign thanks to a group of 12 United States congressmen who put forward their nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo.
Contrary to the congressmen’s submission made “in recognition of the trio’s peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong…” and the trio’s demonstration of “civic courage, extraordinary leadership and unwavering commitment to a free and prosperous Hong Kong that upholds the rule of law, political freedoms and human rights”, the trio in reality are never like such martyrs for democracy as Mahatma Gandhi, as what they did was to illegally storm the east wing forecourt of the Tamar Central Government Complex, triggering mass sit-ins in Admiralty and Mong Kok. It is a mockery of peace if it is on a level with the trio’s confrontational demeanor in the illegal form of “Occupy Central” protests disrupting the social order and peace for months in Hong Kong.
Moreover, by resorting to only the iron-fist face-off with “take it or leave it” mentality against authorities in lieu of a velvet glove of rational negotiation with the government, the trio no doubt became “heroes” in the limelight yet it comes with a heavy price of stalling, if not sabotaging, the common goal of greater democracy to be realized in Hong Kong. Worse still, the bright and promising futures of the exasperated youth incited by the “Occupy” trio, unaware of the dire legal consequences of their involvement in the unlawful “Occupy” protests, were mercilessly shattered as accomplices in the “Occupy” trio’s futile campaign. Despite the seemingly lofty goals the “Occupy” trio may have, the radical means they deployed, with little regard to the law and order of Hong Kong, in pursuing a political cause is disproportionate, if not trampling on the spirit championed by the Nobel Peace Prize.
In fact the award has from time to time been a subject of controversy as Clare Murphy, the then BBC journalist, once ridiculed the award as being on the basis of “unquantifiable contemporary opinion”. In 2011, Michael Nobel, the grandson of one of Alfred Nobel’s two brothers, also criticized politicization of the award. One notable example is the award to Henry Kissinger in 1973 while ironically it is also he who had presided over the carpet bombing of Cambodia. The farcical nature of the Nobel Peace Prize is evidenced by the notable omission of Mahatma Gandhi whose legacy of non-violent civil disobedience in pursuit of India’s independence is always remembered. Thus the Nobel Peace Prize itself is indeed a brainchild of Western political discourse coated in the name of “peace” only.
As part and parcel of Western political rhetoric, it is naive to align the nomination of the “Occupy Central” trio and “Umbrella Movement” to recognition of their “peaceful” efforts to foster democracy in Hong Kong as they are in fact pawns of the game masterminded by the US in containing China. Red-eyed at the meteoric rise of China as the United States’ most formidable rival as a dominator of global discourse, Nobel nomination of the “Occupy” trio — despite their being far from the original spirit of the prize — is a politically shrewd trick stirring up internal conflict in Hong Kong by pitting the radical few advocating “self-determination” in the city against the majority of public who balk at any political assertions other than our constitutional principle of “one country, two systems”.
Unless the selection of Nobel Peace Prize recipients by the Nobel committee is based on a series of transparent criteria and principles well observed and respected worldwide, the Nobel Peace Prize award, be it presented to the “Occupy” trio or not, is nothing but a merry-go-round of publicity and interviews of the Western media’s darlings through which only their favorable political agenda, instead of Alfred Nobel’s message of peace promotion, is conveyed. Having said so, even though the “Occupy” trio may realize their Nobel Peace Prize nomination could have reduced them to puppets against the anti-China backdrop, with strings pulled from behind, Wong and his allies would not fail to produce their usual China-skeptic comments as music to their US counterparts’ ears as they always did, at least in front of the camera.
Raymond Li: a member of One Country, Two Systems Youth Forum and Hong Kong Project KOL.
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