A radical professor whose contract has not been renewed by Lingnan University has claimed the decision makes him “the first academic casualty” of support for the pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014.

“The Hong Kong communist government took revenge on me for supporting Occupy Mong Kok in 2014,” Chin Wan said on his Facebook page on Thursday midnight.

“Chin Wan is the first academic casualty after the Occupy movement.”

Chin Wan-kan
Chin Wan-kan. Photo: Lingnan University.

Chin, whose real name is Chin Wan-kan, is an assistant professor in the Department of Chinese of Lingnan University. His seven-year tenure there will end on August 15.

A letter from the director of human resources of the university to Chin, dated on Tuesday, published on Passion Times, did not mention the reason behind the decision, saying that details would be provided to him by the dean of the faculty of arts and head of the department of Chinese.

Chin authored the book Hong Kong as a City-State and runs a popular Facebook account advocating Hong Kong’s establishment as an autonomous city-state in confederation with China and other East Asian countries.

He has also opposed the big property developers, which according to Chin caused him to lose his columns in four major Chinese newspapers since 2010.

Another reason for the decision, Chin said, was that he was attacked through letters denouncing him to the university and public advertisements from left-wing activists and the social welfare sector, criticising his speeches regarding mainland pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong and parallel traders coming across the border.

Lingnan University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Wing1990hk.
Lingnan University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Wing1990hk.

Chin received a letter from the university’s president Leonard Cheng in March 2015, warning him that his politically charged speech has hurt the reputation of the university and that he should “mind [his] words” or else “suffer the consequences.”

“Do not think I can easily withstand these blows, it is the deadliest hit to scholars when they lose their regular monthly income,” Chin said on his page to his supporters.

“Making scholars lose their source of income, forcing them to leave where they live, is the most common way to strike by communist regimes.”

Chin has claimed that he will run for a Legislative Council seat in September.

Benny Tai.
Benny Tai. Photo: HKFP.


Other major scholars who were involved in the occupy protests, including the original movement’s co-founders Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man, have been able to keep their jobs at their universities.

However, Tai was investigated by his university for a donation to the movement, and he was subsequently banned from receiving donations, assuming managerial roles and supervising researchers.

Legal scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun, who was Tai’s supervisor, was also involved in the handling of the donations. His promotion was later rejected as the pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong.

Chan Kin-man, who is unlikely to be able to go to the mainland again, cannot therefore continue his researches on NGOs in China.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.