Occupy founder Chan Kin-man to teach in Taiwan

One of the founders of Occupy Central, Chan Kin-man, has gone to Taiwan to teach for a year.

The sociology professor said on Tuesday that he’ll serve as a visiting scholar at Taipei’s National Chengchi University to teach about social movements and contemporary China, adding that he accepted the invitation while he was still serving jail time for his role in the 2014 pro-democracy movement.

Speaking on a Commercial Radio programme, the Occupy founder laughed off suggestions that what he’s doing could violate the national security law, telling the show hosts that “it’s more dangerous to host radio programmes”.

“I’m a sensitive person teaching sensitive topics. But I’ve always taught about these matters in the past,” he said.

“I never talk about my views during lectures, I try to provide an analysis on how movements happened as a sociologist…..I hope to provide a stimulus to students, for them to think, and I don’t promote my own political ideologies.”

The former CUHK professor added that he finds it unacceptable for some schools in Hong Kong to be offering one-sided views, saying students must be given room to consider different lines of thoughts.

“Contemporary China and discussions about its future will be contentious, that’s unavoidable,” he said.

“There are some discussions about whether China will crumble, whether the Communist Party will continue ruling. There are positive and negative views to these topics. I will try to present both sides.”

Chan said he hopes to return to Hong Kong a year later – if he’s allowed to do so.

Besides teaching, the scholar said he also plans to write “a historic record” on the SAR in recent years, with a focus on the Umbrella Movement.

He said he had a tough time trying to focus in Hong Kong, because he would often get emotionally drained after visiting other pro-democracy figures in jail.

The situation here is expected to deteriorate going forward without signs of a rebound, Chan added, as he urged those who decide to stay in the city to do “small, meaningful things” like continue to support activists who’re being kept behind bars.

The 62-year-old was convicted in April 2019 and sentenced to 16 months in prison for inciting others to take part in the 2014 Occupy movement.

He was freed in March last year.