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Norwegian politician nominates ‘people of Hong Kong’ for Nobel Peace Prize

A politician in Norway has nominated the "people of Hong Kong" for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, in a move which risks drawing China's ire.

Norwegian politician nominates 'people of Hong Kong' for Nobel Peace Prize
Protesters attend a rally in Hong Kong on October 12th. Photo: AFP

“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,” Guri Melby, a member of Norway's parliament for the centre-right Liberal party, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

In an interview published by newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday Melby explained that “what they do has an impact far beyond Hong Kong, both in the region and in the rest of the world”.

The former British colony is going through its worst political crisis since its return to China in 1997.

Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong, initially against a now-dropped bid by its leaders to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

But after Beijing and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam took a hard line, the movement snowballed into a broader push for democracy and police accountability.

Activists say freedoms are being eroded by Beijing, contrary to a deal that outlined Hong Kong's 1997 return to China from British colonial rule.

Melby's initiative is likely to displease China, which was already angered by the Nobel Committee's 2010 decision to give the award to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has since died.

Although the Nobel Committee is independent from the government in Norway, Beijing froze its relations with the Scandinavian country, suspended negotiations for a free trade agreement and blocked imports of Norwegian salmon.

Relations between the countries did not normalise until December 2016, after Oslo committed to not “support actions that undermine” Chinese interests.

Nominations are however common and this year the Nobel Committee had to pick from 301 candidates.

In the end the prize was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his work in resolving the conflict with bitter foe Eritrea.

READ ALSO: Chinese newspaper: 'Ridiculous' Norway 'paid its price' for Nobel rift

RACISM

Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize

Norwegian MP Petter Eide has nominated Black Lives Matter for the Nobel Peace Prize, reportedly stating that the movement had "forced countries other than the US to face up to racism within their own societies."

Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize
A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Oslo, 2016. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB/ TT

“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Mr Eide said in his nomination papers, according to The Guardian.  

“Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice. They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” he added.

Founded in the United States in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in May 2020 after George Floyd died. A white policeman had knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

The incident fuelled protests in the United States that sped across the world.

“This movement has become one of the strongest global movements for working with racial injustice,” Petter Eide, told AFP.

“They have also been spread to many many countries, building up… awareness on the importance of fighting racial injustice,” he said.

Tens of thousands of people, including MPs and ministers from all countries, former Nobel laureates and distinguished academics, can propose candidates for the various Nobel prizes. The deadline ends on Sunday.

The Nobel prizes will be announced at the start of October. 

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