Aside from being a 24-year foreign correspondent for CNN where he mostly worked on China and North Korea, Mike Chinoy has won Emmy, Peabody and Dupont awards for his journalism pieces and books, and is currently a non-resident senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s US-China Institute who was previously based in Hong Kong and now based in Taipei, Taiwan.
The event was moderated by Prof.Kevin Chang, an ICI associate professor who served as a legal and policy expert with the United Nations; accompanied with commentary by Prof. Viviane Wong, Associate Professor at the College of Political Science and ICI. Deputy Dean of ICI Professor Lien Hsien Ming gave the opening remarks wherein he highlighted the serendipitous timing of the book launching as the A4 Paper Revolution protests unfold in China, and lauds Mike Chinoy for being an archetype of what ICI looks for–interdisciplinary in skill and able to dissect viewpoints from different perspectives. He also highlights words from the book “What counts in life is not because we have lived, it is the difference that we make with others”–urging students to not just care about what happens in Taiwan, but also beyond the island’s borders.
Participating students from various departments were primed on the story of Kevin Boyle’s key role in the battle for human rights in 70s and 80s, especially in Northern Ireland, and his stories’ continued relevance in a time where human rights are more under threat than ever. From being a prominent figure in resisting injustice in Northern Ireland to a key contributor in the peace process in the Anglo-Irish agreement, the humanitarian career of Boyle was discussed in length including his role in decriminalizing homosexuality in Northern Ireland, his work for Amnesty International in studying Apartheid in South Africa, founding Article 19 defending freedom of expression and prisoners of conscience, and advising Mary Robinson when she was UN High Commission for Human Rights. Such lecture ended with Chinoy remarking Boyle’s words, “Human rights can never be taken for granted, and needs to be fought for again and again. For every victory, there will always be setbacks”
Viviane Chang also commended Kevin Boyle’s contribution to International Law of Human Rights and in strengthening the human rights courts of Europe, bringing the Courts the authority they need, and to speak up. Chang also highlights one lesson that can be taken away from Boyle’s lifelong work is that if one wishes to push for political change, one also needs to work on legal mobilization.
Chinoy’s talk was followed by a Q&A portion where questions were asked concerning promoting human rights where legal avenues are not strong, the role of journalists in reporting, and Boyle’s work and perspective in East Asia. Mike Chinoy reiterates that in cases where the law is unjust, one needs to look back towards the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and how human rights in a suppressed region can still be advocated for on the international stage. “If one person says it’s raining and another says it’s not, the role of the journalist is not just present both sides, but look outside the window and see what’s the truth”, Chinoy emphasized while discussing the role of journalists. Furthermore, Chinoy stated that Boyle would be sympathetic to the protests happening in China, and how Boyle stressed how “human rights is not just a Western value” during the latter’s conference in South Cambodia where he was censored for mentioning the uprisings in Tibet.
The event concluded with a photo session along with an exclusive sale of Mike Chinoy’s book offered to participants. Such book launch is part of a series of flash courses and timely talks inviting esteemed speakers and professionals from all over the world held by the International College of Innovation to speak on current issues that covers a variety of interdisciplinary subjects concerning global democracy and governance, Asian studies and sustainable development, and global technology and innovation management.