People of Hong Kong Receive Leadership Award
Second annual John McCain Prize for Leadership and Public Service awarded to people of Hong Kong
The second annual John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service has been awarded to the people of Hong Kong in recognition of their fight for democracy. The award, which was presented to the people of Lesbos, Greece, last year was presented this year to former lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing and activist Figo Chan Ho-wun on Saturday, November 23rd. The two accepted the award from Cindy McCain, the wife of late Senator John McCain, alongside the Halifax Security Forum, on behalf of all protesters in Hong Kong.
Giving this award to the people of Hong Kong makes the Halifax Security Forum—a network of international experts, academics, military officials, entrepreneurs and authors—the first international organization to recognize the struggles of the city’s people. This certainly comes at a delicate time: last week, the US Congress almost unanimously voted to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. This act would impose stricter monitoring of Hong Kong and, should any action be taken by the government to erode at the city’s freedoms, sanctions against China. President Trump, who has been in the process of working out a new trade deal with Beijing as a focal point of his re-election campaign, has yet to comment on whether he will sign the act into law or not.
In this context, the Halifax Forum’s recognition of the Hong Kongese could be seen as a challenge to Beijing itself. However, the Forum stands firm in its decision. Cindy McCain, who is also a board member of the Forum, said that she hopes “this tribute to those who are struggling for their rights in Hong Kong will encourage more people around the world to raise their voices in support of their cause, especially in my country’s government. They are fighting for something larger than themselves.”
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