20 April 2019
Occupy movement co-founders Chan Kin-man (L), Benny Tai Yiu-ting (center) and Rev. Chu Yiu-ming protest outside a district court in Hong Kong on Sept. 19. Photo: Reuters
Occupy movement co-founders Chan Kin-man (L), Benny Tai Yiu-ting (center) and Rev. Chu Yiu-ming protest outside a district court in Hong Kong on Sept. 19. Photo: Reuters

Mutual understanding needed to resolve conflicts: Chan Kin-man

Chan Kin-man, a co-founder of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement, called on democracy groups that have sprung up from the 2014 campaign to focus on explaining to the public the rationale behind their efforts and try to gain as much understanding and support as possible.

“Post-Occupy movement” pro-democracy groups must engage in a dialogue with those who are still unconvinced about the merits of the civic protests, Chan said, referring to the demonstrations that began on Sept. 28 three years ago and lasted for 79 days.

Mutual understanding between different sections of society, and even among members of a family, is essential for any democracy campaign to sustain, he said.

Chan noted that families are often manipulated by those in power to create differences between the members, which can then be used to serve political ends.

Mending the weak relationships between parents and children can build mutual understanding and trust.

The same applies to various parties in the pan-democratic camp and localist groups, which should spend more time to understand others, and what young people are thinking, in relation to the identity of being a Chinese, Chan said.

Chan is currently an associate professor of sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He will leave the post after the academic year.

Along with Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, Chan was a driving force behind the 2014 street protests in Hong Kong, which is still grappling with the repercussions of the movement.

For their role in the movement, the trio has also been charged with conspiracy to cause public nuisance, inciting others to cause public nuisance, and inciting people to incite others to cause public nuisance.

Looking back, Chan revealed that what makes him feel pleased three years after Occupy is that he and his father have finally reached a reconciliation.

Chan told Apple Daily that his father, who fled to Hong Kong from the mainland in 1949 to escape the Chinese Communist Party, had always warned him against being involved in politics.

When Chan turned an activist and helped initiate the Occupy movement, his dad found it difficult to the accept the fact, leading to some conflicts.

Chan admitted that the opposite positions held by him and his father had once affected their relationship to a great extent.

Chan had been annoyed as he wondered why his father wasn’t able to understand what he was trying to do.

But the Occupy co-founder said he is now glad to inform that the broken relationship has been mended, as both he and his dad realized the importance of mutual understanding.

To resolve conflicts in society that arose from the Occupy movement, different political groups too need to engage in dialogue and try to understand each other, he said.

In related news, Chan’s friend and Occupy co-founder Benny Tai said the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong is not even half-way through.

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