Walking Around: Chow Hang-tung Wins Gwangju Human Rights Prize Amidst Pressure

On the path of historical legacy, Hong Kong once had a presence. As Hong Kong’s role changes, a South Korean human rights organization commemorates the “Candlelight of Hope for the Hong Kong Democracy Movement” with the 2023 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. The award ceremony for the 2023 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights took place on May 18th amidst heavy rain, marking the 43rd anniversary of the day when the Korean military began its bloody crackdown on the people of Gwangju.

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights has been established for 23 years. The event is organized by South Korea’s largest human rights organization, the May 18 Memorial Foundation. The foundation stated that the democratic movement back then, as well as the subsequent quest for truth and vindication, always had international support and assistance. They hope this award will carry on the spirit of that time and encourage like-minded people in other places.

Earlier this month, the organizers announced that this year’s award would go to former Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China vice-chairwoman Chow Hang-tung, who is still in prison. The organizers described her as someone who has continually held “candlelight vigils” for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. Despite the National Security Law in Hong Kong, she remains a “symbol of courage and hope” for the people of Hong Kong.