Joshua Wong Receives the Westminster Award For Human Rights, Human Life, and Human Dignity.
At a ceremony today in Hong Kong, the pro democracy and human rights campaigner, Joshua Wong, (黃之鋒) was awarded the Westminster Award For Human Rights, Human Life, and Human Dignity.
Joshua had been invited to Westminster to receive the Award but a travel ban was imposed upon him by the authorities in Hong Kong.
Having been imprisoned for his courageous pro-democracy stand Joshua was singled out, banned by the Beijing-appointed Hong Kong Government, and disqualified from standing as a candidate in historic elections which were overwhelmingly won by pro democracy candidates.
Among other previous recipients of the award is Chen Guangchen, the blind Chinese human rights activist, who served four years in prison for exposing over 100,000 forced abortions in China’s Shandong Province.
Joshua is secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō. He was previously convenor and founder of the Hong Kong student activist group Scholarism.
He first rose to international prominence during the 2014 Hong Kong protests, and his pivotal role in the Umbrella Movement resulted in his inclusion in TIME magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2014 and nomination for its 2014 Person of the Year; in 2015 Fortune Magazine described him as one of the “world’s greatest leaders” and in 2017 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
An alumnus of Kowloon’s United Christian College, he developed organisational and speaking skills through involvement in church groups.
In receiving the award from David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool), on behalf of the nominating parliamentarians, Joshua was commended for his “steadfast courage” and for his “commitment to a non violent campaign to stop the erosion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong.” He was described as having “paved the way for yesterday’s landslide victory” and for having “courageously woken up the world to the dangers posed to Parliamentary democracy and the values of free societies by Communist authoritarianism.”
Joshua said that he was “greatly honoured” and that “I feel that I am accepting the award on behalf of the countless young people who have made great personal sacrifices to uphold freedom in Hong Kong.”
He said that “coming the day after the huge election victory for pro democracy candidates in Hong Kong this will encourage them, and me, as I face further imprisonment, not to tire in fighting for our future.”
At the end of the ceremony Joshua was given sustained applause and a standing ovation.
The Award is given in memory of Mrs. Phyllis Bowman DBE, Founder of the charity, Right to Life.