17 February 2019
Chan Kin-man says the student protesters will take a bigger operational role in the protest areas. Photo: HKEJ
Chan Kin-man says the student protesters will take a bigger operational role in the protest areas. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy Central leaders return to university teaching jobs

Occupy Central co-founders Chan Kin-man and Benny Tai have decided to resume their university teaching jobs after a month leading the civil disobedience campaign, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

Chan, an associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the decision does not mean they are leaving the students behind.

“The students have been taking a leading role and they will take up more operational matters in the protest sites,” Chan said.

“I hope they will be able to motivate more of their peers to help with the management of these sites such doing night patrols.”

Chan said he and other members of the team will return to the protest area every day after work.

Tai, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong, said he will return to work on Tuesday.

Chan expects the protest to continue for some time because of the high energy of the mostly young protesters but ruled out an endgame similar to that of Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The example of Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement during the past summer would be a good way to end the Umbrella Movement.

The key lies in whether the government is willing to make compromises while the students must be prepared to continue the campaign at the community level, Chan said.

He said there is room for discussion on the formation of the nomination committee for the 2017 chief executive election, a sticking point for the protesters.

If Beijing is not going to accept any changes, the Hong Kong government should make it clear a new round of consultations on political reform will be held if the existing proposal is rejected by the Legislative Council next year.

Meanwhile, Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said he has yet to hear of Chan and Tai’s plan to hand over leadership of the protest movement to students.

Joshua Wong, leader of student group Scholarism, said he will continue to collaborate with the three Occupy Central founders who could remain legal advisers to the campaign.

Occupy Central participant Shiu Ka-chun, a Hong Kong Baptist University lecturer, said many volunteers are showing signs of fatigue.

A meeting of volunteers will be held at the beginning of November to review the movement, he said.

Former HKFS secretary general Chan Shu-fai said patrols consisting of 70 people have been doing eight-hour shifts to ensure order at the protest sites.

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