Hong Kong Sociologist Released from Prison
March 18, 2020
On March 14, 2020, sociologist Dr. Chan Kin-man was released from prison after serving 11 months of a 16-month sentence in connection with his non-violent, pro-democracy activism.
Dr. Chan is a retired professor of sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a co-founder of the “Occupy Central with Love and Peace Movement” (OCLP), a peaceful civil disobedience campaign calling for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. In April 2019, Dr. Chan was convicted of conspiracy and incitement to commit public nuisance, and sentenced to 16 months in prison, for organizing a nonviolent sit-in in 2014 in support of democratic elections. OCLP’s protest, originally planned for 2 or 3 days, escalated into a 79-day occupation of city streets after the police used tear gas and pepper spray on student protestors. (Because demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves from these chemical agents, the protest is commonly referred to as the “Umbrella Movement.”)
Dr. Chan and his OCLP co-founders were among nine activists and politicians made to stand trial for peaceful activities associated with the Occupy Central Campaign. They were charged under common (as opposed to statutory) public nuisance law, which is more ambiguously framed and carries a much harsher penalty.