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“Chow Hsin-tung, like a candle, is the hope of Hong Kong’s democracy movement.”

Posted by on 2023/05/19. Filed under Breaking News,China,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The Gwangju May 18 Memorial Foundation, South Korea’s largest human rights organization, gave a human rights award to Zou Hsin-tung, the former vice chairman of the Hong Kong Solidarity Association, who is in custody. The award ceremony was held on Thursday evening as scheduled. The secretary general of the Korean human Rights organization who accepted the award on behalf of Zou Shing-tung told this station that Zou’s award is a symbol of hope for Hong Kong. He said his identity was exposed after receiving the award, and he may have been grounded in Hong Kong and the mainland since then, but he remained fearless. He and Zou Xingtong have known each other for more than 10 years, although in South Korea, every year “June 4th” for her to light candles at the Chinese Embassy, he hoped Zou Xingtong would be released and returned home as soon as possible.
“She is like a candlelight and the hope of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, so she deserves the Gwangju Human Rights Award.”
“Even though I am in Korea, I want to light a candle for her. Until she is released, I will continue to do the same thing outside the Chinese Embassy every June 4th.”
— Zou Xingtong’s friend of more than 10 years.
Accepting the award on behalf of Mr Zou was Na Hyun-phil, secretary-general of the Korean House for International Solidarity, a Seoul-based non-governmental organisation that focuses on global human rights issues. He choked up at one point as he read out a speech for Zou, in which he said the award belonged to every Hong Kong citizen fighting for freedom. “This human rights award represents that we are with the people of Hong Kong,” he said.
During an interview with this station, Lo Xianfei was asked why he accepted the award on behalf of Zou. Lo Xianfei first sighed and pointed out that due to security reasons, Hong Kong people could not come to the scene in person. So Zou’s friend contacted him because he knew that he was a cherished friend of Zou and was very concerned about human rights issues in Hong Kong.
“The main reason is based on security issues, because now Hong Kong people can’t come to South Korea (to accept the award on behalf of the award). It is a big risk for Hong Kong people to attend the Gwangju Human Rights Award ceremony, because the award ceremony is an open event and all the information is open, which means the Chinese government will recognize the person accepting the award on behalf of the people,” Lo said. In order to protect Hong Kong people, they thought I was suitable as a Korean to protect her family or friends.
Lo said he thought long and hard after receiving the invitation, and finally accepted the mission, willing to risk grounding Hong Kong and the mainland.
‘Because Chinese officials already knew about my actions, so… I didn’t even know. I want to go to Hong Kong to meet other Hong Kong friends, but I think it’s a big risk, I really want to go to Hong Kong, but I’m not sure about my safety and the safety of my other friends, so I think I will give up this opportunity and never go to Hong Kong or mainland China again.
‘I saw the news, and then one person took a candle vigil outside the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, urging authorities to release Zou,’ Ms. Lo said. Although I am in South Korea, I want to hold candlelight for her. Last year, I did the same thing with a candle outside the Chinese Embassy on June 4th. I may have the same action this year. Until she is released, I will insist on doing the same thing every June 4th.
Ms. Lo and Mr. Zou have known each other for nearly 12 years. They first met in 2011 at a Joint Asian conference in Taiwan to discuss labor rights with representatives of human rights organizations from other countries. Before Mr. Zou, an early advocate for labor rights in China, became a lawyer, the two men had known each other in Hong Kong or South Korea. Luo described Zou as a good friend and was impressed by her.
‘She is a very sincere person who has a lot of heart for the workers,’ Ms. Luo said. ‘She insists on doing the right thing. She is very principled, that is, she will do what she thinks is right.’ She is really passionate about holding candlelight vigils for **. I am very impressed by her pride in holding candlelight vigils in Hong Kong.
Lo is also an advocate of international Labour and human rights issues. Her previous work has also dealt with the human rights situation in Hong Kong. She visited Hong Kong during the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the Anti-China Movement in 2019 and smelled tear gas in the streets. However, after the implementation of the Port Area National Security Law in 2020, as the “red line” narrowed, he gradually shifted his research focus to other places in Southeast Asia, such as Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, etc., and his interest in Hong Kong became “underground”.
‘There is no action for Hong Kong because Hong Kong is a silent society and we can’t find a way to fight for democracy in Hong Kong,’ Ms. Lo said. But in any case, we will watch the situation in Hong Kong and hope to find a way.
Despite the shift in focus, Lo is concerned about the disintegration of civil society in Hong Kong, which is a pity because Hong Kong’s labor organizations have helped improve workers’ rights around the world. He remembered that the union had spoken out on Korean workers’ issues, including going to the South Korean Consulate in Hong Kong in 2016 to protest the arrest of the chairman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, and demanding the release of all arrested trade unionists and the dismissal of charges
Three Chinese consulate officials had asked the Gwangju May 18 Memorial Foundation to withdraw the human rights award to Zou, but the organizers refused. Lo believes that the Chinese officials’ visit to China further proves Zou’s decision to win the award. It also makes the award more meaningful, reflecting that the organizer only values human rights and is not subject to political repression. The incident also arouses more support for Zou among South Koreans.
Lo said Zou deserved the award and that it was a symbol of hope for Hong Kong.
“She is like a candlelight and the hope of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, so she deserves to receive the Gwangju Human Rights Award,” Lo said.
Finally, Lo sent a message to the Hong Kong people, saying, “Koreans have not forgotten Hong Kong, and we will support the Hong Kong democracy movement.”
Chow was selected as the winner of the 2023 Gwangju Human Rights Award in early May, the first time a Hong Kong citizen has won the award. The jury described Zou as “a human rights lawyer for the democracy movement and the democratic struggle” and said the award was given to Zou “for standing up to the anti-democratic and anti-human rights of the Hong Kong government and giving courage and hope to human rights activists and citizens around the world”.

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