21 July 2018
Alex Chow (right) and Lester Shum address the summit in Geneva. Photo: UN Watch
Alex Chow (right) and Lester Shum address the summit in Geneva. Photo: UN Watch

Spirit of self-determination has not faded away: Alex Chow

Alex Chow, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, told the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy that Hong Kong’s fate directly affects China and the world, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.

Hong Kong has the role of safeguarding and promoting democracy, justice, freedom, and human rights in the face of China’s black-box operations and corruption, Chow said.

While the 79-day Umbrella movement has ended, the spirit of self-determination has not faded away, he said.

Chow and his deputy, Lester Shum, two of the major figures in the pro-democracy Umbrella movement, which ended in December, were invited to the summit, held on Monday and Tuesday. 

They were the first Hongkongers to speak at the summit, sponsored by a coalition of 20 non-governmental organizations from around the world dedicated to human rights, which takes place each February in Geneva, Switzerland.

Chow said China, the world’s second-largest economy, has not only influenced Hong Kong to an unimaginable extent in regard to media, rule of law and education but has also had a certain impact on the whole world.

He said the only right way for people in Hong Kong and other countries is to determine their own fate.

In front of human rights activists from countries including Iran, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea, Chow said tens of thousands of Hong Kong students and citizens fought for democracy.

One of the important messages from the city’s pro-democracy movement, he said, was that the already awakened generation has shaken the corrupt regime.

Shum said he believes there is still hope for human rights activists around the world, as his participation in the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong did not lead to his arrest, nor did it prevent him from speaking freely at the summit.

Although there is a long road ahead for Hong Kong in its fight for democracy, Shum said, there is no reason for Hongkongers to give up, and neither should all the democracy fighters in different countries.

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