Chan Shun Hing (China, Hong Kong SAR)


 

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Chan Shun Hing was born in Hong Kong in November 1954, and graduated from the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, the Hong Kong Polytechnic. In 1981-1982, she studied M.A. in Development Studies in the Institution of Social Studies in the Netherlands, then pursued her master degree and doctoral degree of Chinese Language and Literature in Peking University, China, starting from 1989. She had taught in the Cultural Studies Department of Lingnan University, Hong Kong, until her early retirement in 2013 in order to pursue full time her social commitments.   She first learnt about the housing and welfare problems that Hong Kong grassroots people faced in the 1970s, when she was invited to be a volunteer translator for Elsie Tu, an elected member of Urban Council of Hong Kong. During her undergraduate studies, she joined the student Catholic Society which emphasized service for the local community, while the students union paid more attention to what was happening in China. This experience in local services enabled her to rethink the problems of the system, society and capitalism under the British colonial rule. In 1976, after the fall of the Gang of Four, she started to read the works of Marx, Engels and Mao, trying to learn about socialism and explore possible ways to build a better Hong Kong.   After graduation, she worked for the Tsuen Wan Ecumenical Social Service Centre, organising social movements for the local people and fighting for their rights. Meanwhile, she volunteered for helping poor people who could not afford housing on land and had their shelter in boats to fight for their rights to live on land. She has also been involved in women’s movements and is co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Feminism in the 1984.   After long-time engagement in social movements, in 1981, she felt exhausted and decided to study in the Netherlands. There, she discovered her lack of understanding of her home country China. In the past, on the basis of socialism, she pondered over institutional systems in Hong Kong. However, she could not understand China which had been practicing socialism. The reason behind this was, as she said, she never lived in a nation state. This experience prompted her to reflect on her identity and it was the beginning of her learning about China. After the democratic movement of 1989 in China, she decided to study at Peking University in Beijing. After completing the six years of studies for her master and doctoral programme, she realized that she could not stay to work in the university because of her identity as a Hong Kong person; she had to leave Peking University and part away with her beloved one.   Such a traumatic experience led her to rethink issues of ‘identity’ and ‘roots’. In the process of writing When the Gingko Leaves Glitter — a Memoir of the Time at Peking University, she came to think that it was unnecessary to associate her ‘roots’ with China. The roots could be at different places where people live. Similar to soil, water and air as necessary elements for growth, Hong Kong and Peking University as places where she spent her years could be her roots. She thinks we should not be too stubborn and inflexible about our identity, since our identity is constantly going through the process of construction.   As Associate Professor in Lingnan University from 1996 to 2013, she taught courses on modern and contemporary China, took students to exchanges with students in China for better mutual understanding, and developed courses on feminism; she had edited books on issues of women and nation. As Convenor of the Culture and Sustainable Livelihood cluster of the Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme of Lingnan University, she was much involved in the process of documenting stories of women from Greater China who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005, and was Chief Editor of the book Colours of Peace – 108 Chinese Peacewomen Stories. She headed a research project which included multiple exchange visits of peacewomen working on ecology and livelihood from PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan.   Currently, Chan continues to be rooted in the soil of Hong Kong. She and some friends have leased some farmland in Nam Chung in Northeast Hong Kong, and practice organic farming and environmental conservation. She disagrees with the idea of the localist populists in Hong Kong who try to disconnect Hong Kong from the home country China as well as from the world. Such propositions limit our visions and connections. She thinks local movements should be linked to the authenticity of every aspect of our life, leading to more possibilities for the movements in changing the world.

 

Links 

Making Possible the Impossible (2007) – Dr. Chan Shun Hing Explains the PeaceWomen Project.
 Secretary of PEACE (Nam Chung)
Coordinator of Sustainable Peace Project among Chinese PeaceWomen

Articles

http://our-global-u.org/oguorg/en/?page_id=398

Photo Gallery 

Working on the PEACE farm in Hong Kong, June 2016

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In the peacewomen action research project workshops

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Jiangxi, May 2010

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6. Shanxi, Sept 2009

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Jiangxi, Nov 2008

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Yunnan, Oct 2008

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Inner Mongolia, Oct 2008

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Chengdu, Oct 2008

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Yunnan, May 2008

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