Across the Strait: The Impact of the Taiwan Elections

Zoher Abdoolcarim, the senior editor at Time magazine who was a guest in class last semester, recently wrote an essay on the Taiwan elections and the rise of Ma Ying-jeou, the island's new Hong Kong-born leader. Can Hong Kong learn anything from how Taiwan's politics have developed? Even though the "worst-case scenario" for Beijing happened - the election of the DPP's Chen Shui-bian - the sky didn't fall and the Taiwan Strait didn't become a war zone. Now, the Kuomintang are back in power. This is in many ways a more important milestone for Taiwan than Chen's election as President back in 2000.


Amb. Harvey Feldman of the Heritage Foundation on Hong Kong

Ambassador Harvey Feldman of the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, has written an analytical piece on Hong Kong in which he argues that Hong Kong is in trouble because political development has stalled. He concludes:

"Hong Kong seems to be in a box with shrinking walls. The box is shrinking economically for most of the population and politically because important issues are going unmentioned and certain voices are being ignored.

"When people wondered a dozen years go whether Hong Kong would become more like Shanghai, they were thinking in economic terms. In fact, Shanghai is moving ahead economically and with an élan and optimism that seem to be lacking in Hong Kong today. Where Hong Kong most resembles Shanghai is in a sense that nothing is happening politically and that reform and reformers have no where to go."



You may be interested in the latest edition of Time Asia which has a cover story focusing on New York, London and Hong Kong and "how these three connected cities drive the global economy." Also in the issue is an article on Hong Kong and its role in the global economy.


POLI0019/POLI0068: Papers Available

I have deposited all the papers at the PPA Department office (622 Meng Wah). Please approach the counter staff at your convenience. I will be approaching some students with suggestions for polishing their editorials for submission to the SCMP or some other newspaper for publication.

Thanks to all for your hard work and participation during the semester!


Season's Greetings - and Happy New Year!

Best wishes to you and your families on this holiday season and for a Peaceful and Prosperous 2008!

POLI0019/POLI0068: Returning Papers

I have finished all the grading - with great help from Mr Wong, I should note. I would like to return the papers to you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I am in Manila and have them all with me, as well as the exam scripts. I will be back in Hong Kong early in the New Year. I will be in my office all of the afternoon of Friday, 4 January, if you wish to come by. Otherwise, you can pick them up from the PPA Department counter. Thanks for your patience.


Returning Papers

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner on returning your papers. This is the first time I'm grading such a large number of students. Unfortunately, I need to hold on to your papers a little longer as I feel I need to have them at hand as I finalize all the marks just to make sure there are no errors, particularly given that there are 85 people in the class. I hope you will bear with me a little while longer. Thank you.


Good Luck!

...and to those taking exams, Good Luck! I'm sure you'll do fine.

Hong Kong to the World

I don't know if any of you click on the sitemeter which is on the side of the blog. I regularly check it to see how much traffic the blog is getting and from where people are logging in. Most of the hits of course come from Hong Kong - and as I've mentioned, I do notice that a number of you come to the blog in the wee hours.

We have had an increasing number of overseas visitors, from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia and even Africa. We get a lot of people who find us through Google searches, e.g. "hong kong cultural desert" or "regina ip facebook". We also have been getting a fair number of visitors from other universities including Princeton, Fudan University (yes, he have had hits from the mainland...just how, I don't know), the University of Virginia, the University of Ottawa, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, the University of Sheffield, and others. Unfortunately, the only outsider who has posted is some weird guy from Brazil who was selling something in Portuguese and whose comments are probably posted by a bot. Still, at the end of this course, the accumulated comments and postings form a substantial collection of ideas, thoughts and wisdom on Hong Kong's role in the world, from which we all and others out in cyberspace can learn. They are your ideas, thoughts and wisdom - and for your contributions I am thankful.

Blog posts are welcome through today (for coursework credit) - and beyond. After the course is done, you may never wish to come back to this blog again. But if you do, always feel free to post a comment - or just say hello.

Reposting: Not Just the Mainland's Fault

This news item relating to toy safety underscores how the actions of a Hong Kong company can affect not just Hong Kong's reputation but China's. And in this case, it is China's reputation that takes the battering.
You might also read this article on Yale Global by two researchers at Australian National University's Contemporary China Centre, Anita Chan and Jonathan Unger. They write: “The neglect of safety standards in these factories used to be more severe before the big brand-name corporations that contract out their production to China-based factories came under attack in the 1990s in an anti-sweatshop campaign by Western NGOs.” According to Ms Chan and Mr Unger, "multinationals have adopted strict community-responsibility programs, and yet do not speak out for injured Chinese workers. Products will only be truly safe when companies extend respect to workers and consumers – monitoring all steps in the long supply chains that create many popular products."


Rush Hours

I am impressed by the amount of traffic on the blog, not to mention the number of postings over the past few days. In the 24-hour period from noon yesterday to noon today, the blog received a record 117 visits! I'm sorry for the rush but appreciate your participation. The next time I teach this course, if there is a next time, I will likely have staggered deadlines so that there isn't such a heavy turnout at the eleventh hour.

If anybody wishes to break out from commenting on anything that's posted or any of the the posed questions and would like to start an original thread, it's never too late. Please just send me your comment or question and I will post it for you.

China and the U.S.: Looking at Each Other

The Committee of 100, the New York-based organization of prominent Chinese-Americans, yesterday released a "mirror survey" of Chinese and American attitudes towards each other. Conducted by Zogby International in the U.S. and Horizon Research Consultancy Group in China, it found that a majority of Americans see China's rising economic and military power as a threat, while many Chinese view the U.S. as trying to prevent their country from becoming a world power. According to the study, 60% of the Chinese public surveyed had a favorable impression of the U.S., while just over a quarter had a unfavorable view. Among the Americans polled, 52% had a favorable view of China, while 45% had an unfavorable opinion.

You may be interested in looking at the report. I should note that the Committee of 100 is one of my clients.


Reaction to the By-Election: A View from Washington

In this Heritage Foundation Web memo reacting to Anson Chan Fang On-sang's by-election victory, Ambassador Harvey Feldman, Distinguished Fellow in China Policy at the Asia Studies Center of the influential conservative think tank in Washington, says that Mrs Chan's "election likely will give new energy to the movement for greater democracy and universal suffrage in Hong Kong, but the obstacles imposed by Beijing remain many and daunting." Ambassador Feldman, who served as an American foreign service officer in Hong Kong for eight years, calls on the United States to "continue to insist on the path toward an autonomous Hong Kong, governed by the rule of law and having universal suffrage and greater democracy, as provided in the Basic Law itself." He concludes: "Through its Consul General in Hong Kong, as well as through Congressional and Executive actions, America should support the democratic forces within Hong Kong society."


Nasty Habits

I was chatting with a friend about the nasty feud between Emily Lau and Ronnie Chan and how it spilled over into our class. He noted that in the past week we saw former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa shouted down by protesters as he was delivering an address at a convocation at which he received an honorary degree. In addition, he remarked, a senior government official sharply criticized Anson Chan Fang On-sang on her first day as a legislator. The political climate in Hong Kong is getting so tense and the attacks from all sides are becoming more pointed and vitriolic, he observed. Is this simply a natural development as we approach legislative elections next year? Or is our society becoming more and more fragmented and the debate divisive and negative? Maybe this has always been the case and the enmities are harder to hide as crucial polls near.

I would think that the public would prefer a kinder, gentler approach to political discourse and resolving our disputes, but is that likely? And if indeed the environment is becoming more tense, will this affect Hong Kong's stature as a global city? Perhaps it only shows to the rest of the world that, like any society, we have differences of opinion - and that we are a free, open and vibrant community. Any thoughts?

Cabled and Wireless

Hong Kong is one of the best wired cities in the world (in terms of broadband penetration, in 2006, the SAR was ranked ninth by the International Telecommunications Union, the ITU, just behind Sweden and ahead of Canada and the U.K.) - and by 2009, it aims to have one of the best wireless networks anywhere. This has to be an important factor in boosting Hong Kong's global competitiveness, particularly if we take competitiveness essentially to mean productivity.


POLI0019 Exam: Time and Venue

I would just like to remind POLI0019 students that the final exam is scheduled for Friday, 14 December, from 9.30 am to 11.30 am at the Lindsay Ride Sports Centre, which is near the intersection of Pokfulam Road and Pokfield Road, adjacent to the Flora Ho Sports Centre. (Check out this map.) Please come on time. I will be there to distribute the exam papers and to take any questions which might arise during the first half hour.

Welcoming Immigrants: Canada's Experience

This article on how Asian immigration has changed the complexion of Canada's population is an interesting story that describes how welcoming immigrants can result in a vibrant, culturally rich society with little social tension, if managed well.


POLI0019 Exam

Thanks to all of you who came to the optional lecture this afternoon. If you have any questions at all, please do contact me.

Two students asked a very good question: Which is more important - what the guest speakers said in class or the readings? In tackling the exam questions, I hope that you would make reference to both. Perhaps I should say that the outstanding exam essays will make useful reference to both speakers and readings, as well as any other appropriate authorities. When I was in university, there were many classes in which the readings did not precisely correlate with the lectures, but you were meant to gain insights from both - and be responsible for both.

That said, I do accept that some of the readings were not exactly in-step with what we discussed in class. Still, key readings such as Yash Ghai's articles, Bill Overholt, Prof. Tang's essay, and others I highlighted in the blog are worth looking at again. I do, however, consider the lectures and the ideas and concepts we heard in class from our guests as the meat of the course.

The nature or style of the questions will not be unlike those that have been posted on the blog. As I mentioned earlier, posting a comment on the blog would be excellent practice for the exam. Another great way to prepare might be to sit down and pretend you are writing a letter in reply to somebody who asked you this: "How can Hong Kong secure its position as a competitive global city over the long term?" Consider that question in all its aspects. You might focus on some of the key issues or matters of debate that we have touched upon such as what makes Hong Kong competitive, education, rule of law, culture, political development, the role of business and corporate social responsibility, the role of the media, Hong Kong's role in the international financial system, public health and the spread of infectious diseases such as SARS, and the environment. In particular, you might consider the implications for Hong Kong's global status, given its relationship with the mainland, the limits of autonomy under the Basic Law, and the level of political development of the SAR.

Think big picture but also be prepared to discuss two or three of these issues more deeply - just like you have done on the blog - then I'm sure you will do fine.

The Leaflets Controversy

For those of you who may be interested in following the to-and-fro between Ms Lau and Mr Chan, I have uploaded all the relevant messages, letters and faxes to the WebCT course content area. All the correspondence except my e-mail messages to Mr Chan have been released to the media. (Ms Lau chose to make public my email to her without my permission.)

I leave it to you all to draw your own conclusions from this episode. I will only say this:

My main priority from the beginning has been to maintain the privacy of the participants in this class and prevent the course or the University from being drawn into what is clearly a personal feud. I will not entertain the suggestion that Ms Lau and Mr Chan debate in class and cross-examine the participants in front of reporters. This is in fact a straightforward matter that does not require a media spectacle to resolve. I will not permit a course and its participants to be used for what I consider to be petty personal ends of no academic value.

[Originally posted on 3 December; final paragaph added on 7 December, 7.30 pm]


Stranger Than Fiction

Truth, even for those who don't deal in it or can't handle it, is sometimes stranger than fiction. I have just flown from Delhi to Singapore on a Singapore Airlines flight, having attended a conference in Delhi. I was in the back of the "bus" - there was a certain Mr Chan in the front. Alas, we did not meet. Then again, maybe it was good that we didn't.


Now It's Math and Science Scores

Another news item on the strong performance of Hong Kong students - this time in Math and Science.

Optional Lecture and Review Session on Friday, 7 December

This is a reminder that I am offering an optional wrap-up lecture-cum-review session on Friday, 7 December, from 2 pm to 4 pm in Theatre 5, Meng Wah Complex. All are welcome, including IBGM students. No controversial guest speakers, I promise.


Hong Kong: The 21st Best Place in the World to Live

The top performers in U.N. Development Program's Human Development Index annual ranking are often referred to as the best places in the world in which to live. We should all be heading to Iceland, according to the latest edition. Hong Kong comes in at 21, up one spot from its ranking last year. Check out this summary page that reviews how Hong Kong performed in some key categories, including life expectancy at birth, which is a staggering 81.9 years, only second behind Japan's (82.3 years). As with any list, we should approach the information with a critical eye and not just take everything as gospel truth.

Reading in Hong Kong

Check out this report on an international reading literacy study conducted by Boston College, in which Hong Kong children performed well - second behind their Russian counterparts. In an article in the South China Morning Post, the gains borne out by the survey results are said to be due to the government's education reforms. (Please note that access to the SCMP's website is controlled.)

Here is a link to the website for the Boston College study.


Assessing Hong Kong's Pollution Problem

This article from the International Herald Tribune highlights the challenge of properly assessing the sources of pollution in Hong Kong. It also shows the power of civil society to provoke business to act or respond, particularly now that the environment is such a hot-button issue.

Post Script (7 December): Check out this story on CLP that appeared in the IHT.


Lecture on Wednesday, 28 November

This is to remind you that we have a lecture on Wednesday, 28 November, with our final guest speaker, Mr Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, Chairman of Next Media and founder of Giordano and Apple Daily. Please come on time as I will have to start promptly at 9.30 am so I can present a 20-minute wrap-up of the course. At 9.50 am, staff from the Politics and Public Administration Department will have you fill out a formal course evaluation. We will start the session with Mr Lai at about 10.10 am.

There will be an optional lecture and review session on Friday, 7 December, from 2 pm to 4 pm in Theatre 5, Meng Wah Complex.


Question of the Week: Is Hong Kong On The Rise - Or Heading For Decline?

Inspired by Venice (right) and its history as a city state from 697 to 1797, I thought I would pose the following big-picture question: Is Hong Kong, as a global city, on the rise - or is it in decline, like the Venetian Republic at the end of its life? Do you think that Hong Kong will be riding the wave of globalization for years to come - or will this city lose its international status and go the way of la Serenissima, which was absorbed into Napoleon's empire to become just another Italian city?

Any thoughts are welcome!


POLI0019 Editorials

A reminder that POLI0019 editorials - team or individual - should be submitted by 7 pm this Friday, 23 November, to counter staff at the Politics and Public Administration Department office, 622 Meng Wah. Please consult the syllabus and earlier postings on this blog for format, writing guidelines, and the policy on late submissions.


Regina Ip on YouTube

For those of you who may have missed her appearance, Regina Ip has put video of some of her comments in class on 31 October on YouTube - clip one and clip two.


Questions on the Table

To make it easier for you to post comments, here are links to questions that have been posed so far - but please feel free to come up with a comment or question of your own; just e-mail it to me and I can post it on your behalf. Go crazy!

A Brief Controversy

This brief article that appeared in the South China Morning Post may be of interest to you.

Our Final Guest: Jimmy Lai Chee-ying

I am pleased to confirm that our final guest of the semester will be Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, the Chairman of Next Media and the founder of Giordano and Apple Daily, one of the best-selling newspapers in Hong Kong. He will be in class on Wednesday, 28 November. I strongly suggest that you read Mr Lai's recent essay in Time magazine reflecting on Hong Kong ten years after the handover.

We will begin class promptly at 9.30 am. PLEASE MAKE AN EFFORT TO COME ON TIME, as I will only have 20 minutes to wrap up the course and tee up Mr Lai's session. At 9.50 am, staff from the Politics and Public Administration Department will have you fill out a formal evaluation of the course. This will take about 15-20 minutes. I will start the session with Mr Lai at 10.10 am.

As I have mentioned, I will be giving an optional wrap-up lecture and review session-cum-discussion on Friday, 7 December, from 2 pm to 4 pm in Theatre 5. All are welcome!

Question of the Week: Is Corporate Social Responsibility for Real?

After this week's lecture and the excellent presentation by Ms Teresa Au of HSBC, it would be fair to ask: Is the CSR trend is for real - or is it driven by profits...or maybe both? If companies are motivated by profits to adopt responsible and sustainable business practices, is that so bad? This recent article summarizes the issues fairly well.

Some experts argue that the most successful examples of corporate engagement in society are those that align with the company's business proposition or business model, i.e. they create new opportunities to make money since consumers increasingly want products and services that are socially responsible. Consider such programs as Nike's decision to implement sustainable practices into the design and manufacture of all its products by its many contractors. Or Microsoft's offer of a suite of software for just US$3 to students in developing countries where governments provide schools with low-cost computers.

What do you think?

Submitting Your Editorials/Papers

POLI0019 students should submit their editorials (either as a team or individual) to the Politics and Public Administration Department office, 622 Meng Wah, by the close of business - 7 pm - on Friday, 23 November. Please hand your assignment to the staff at the counter.

POLI0068 students should submit their papers (either as a team or individual) to the same office by the close of business on Friday, 7 December. Please note that from 3 December the PPA office will be closing at 6 pm, an hour earlier than on teaching days.

Please look at the syllabus for guidelines on the format of your assignments and the policy for submitting papers/editorials late.

POLI0068 Research Papers

Many thanks to the IBGM students for staying late yesterday to get through all the presentations that were on hand. I appreciate that many of you had another class to go to and therefore had an abbreviated lunch period. I will be preparing more detailed reactions to each of your proposals over the next few days and will e-mail each team or individual. But please don't wait to hear from me. You should be proceeding with your research, particularly those of you who wish to interview sources. It can take time to set up meetings or to get e-mail replies to questions. Meanwhile, do send me an e-mail if you have any questions on your paper or anything else.

Any POLI0068 students that have not submitted a paper proposal, please do so immediately if you are in fact writing a paper, i.e. if you are at all concerned about the assessment you will receive at the end of the course. Without a proposal and certainly without a paper, I will have little alternative as to the assessment I will file.

POLI0019 Final Examination

I thought I would give POLI0019 students more information about the final exam.

As you know, it will run from 9.30 am to 11.30 am on 14 December. You will have to answer just two questions of equal weight from a selection of five. The best essays will be those that use specific references to readings, what specific guest speakers said, other authoritative sources and examples to support the line of argument. As I've mentioned before, consider the blog to be good practice for the exam. The difference is that you will have only about an hour for each question. Please try to write with your best grammar and spelling, but don't get too concerned about writing in perfect English (though I hope that those who feel they can improve their English will continue to do so). Finally, please write legibly. If I can't read it, then I won't be able to understand your answer.


As editorial and paper deadlines loom, if you should have any questions about these assignments or anything else, please don't hesitate to contact either Mr Wong or me. I will respond as soon as possible by e-mail.

Lecture at the Faculty of Law: Anson Chan Fang On-sang

Since I was not in the end able to get Anson Chan to be a guest speaker, those of you who missed her previous appearances on campus including her recent debate with Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee may want to listen to her deliver on 19 November at 7 pm the inaugural public lecture of the Legal Exhibition Project of the Law Association. The title of her talk is "Legal Education: The Basic Law and Good Governance."The venue is the Wang Gungwu Lecture Hall, Graduate House. Details may be found here.

No Lecture on 21 November

This is a reminder that there is NO lecture on Wednesday, 21 November. But POLI0019 students should remember that there are tutorial meetings on that day. This will be the first round of the debates, with the second round on 28 November. POLI0019 students should contact Mr Wong with any questions.

POLI0068 IBGM students will have no tutorial on 21 November. Our next tutorial will be on 28 November.


Corporate Social Responsibility

In our next class, we will be talking about corporate social responsibility. Now, what does this have to do with Hong Kong and the world, you might ask. We have been discussing the role of business in Hong Kong. Some of our speakers have been critical of the business sector for not supporting political development or cultural activities. The pollution problem has been linked to Hong Kong investment in factories in southern China. Because of the importance of business in Hong Kong and in society in general, we should be talking about what exactly the responsibilities of business are.

As I began to explain in my previous lecture - before we ran out of time - we have seen the power of corporations rise in recent decades. Many major companies have market capitalizations much larger than many countries. In the same way that the emergence of the modern nation state in the West undermined the power of the church, the rise of corporate power, it can be argued, has eclipsed that of national governments. Even the mighty military of the the United States depends in large part on private industry for supplies, weaponry and services.

As the pace of globalization has intensified, the ability of nation states to tackle global problems such as climate change, extremism and terrorism, public health health threats, and the growing income gap and poverty has weakened, particularly in the absence of any strong institutions of global governance. So as nation states have been confronted by the limits to their power, the influence of corporations on communities and the lives of citizens as well as on our environment has expanded considerably.

And so while citizens may still look to governments for solutions and leadership, they now also turn to corporations, perhaps even more so, given the enormous resources and the global presence that many companies have. There is growing acceptance among businesspeople around the world that the company must not just look after the interests of its owners and shareholders but must also be concerned with the welfare of its stakeholders, or any groups, communities, organizations or individuals that might be affected in any way by or have an interest in the corporation's activities.

As one would expect, corporations are often the targets of civil society activism, which has increased in recent years. In Hong Kong, the business sector has received its share of criticism from the public - some of it warranted, some of it undeserved. It is therefore very important for us as critical thinkers to consider CSR in Hong Kong, particularly in our major corporations such as HSBC. If Hong Kong is to secure and further develop its status as a global city, it stands to reason that the SAR should be at the forefront of promoting corporate social responsibility in the region and the world.

A major problem with any discussion of CSR, however, is that there is no single definition of the term. "Corporate social responsibility" is often used interchangeably with the concept of "corporate governance". And despite the more frequent use of the term "sustainability" and the increasing number of institutions that are appointing "sustainability officers", this concept too has remained somewhat ill defined. I look forward to hearing from Teresa Au of HSBC how she defines "corporate social responsibility" and "sustainability".

You might look at the website of the group CSR Asia for more information.


Deadline for Blog Comments: 14 December

The deadline for posting blog comments is Friday, 14 December. Please remember that by the end of the course you should have contributed at least three times. Greater frequency will be rewarded, but quality is the main criterion for assessment. Postings need not be long. What counts most are the ideas and arguments and how original or thoughtful they are. Particularly good comments are those that react to the lectures, to tutorial discussions, to what guest speakers have said and to readings and other material. Consider this good practice for the final exam.

You may comment on anything on the blog - questions posed, articles linked to the site, comments by other students. If you wish to post an original comment to start a thread, please send it to me and I will upload it for you.

Please do not leave your blogging to the last minute. (We aren't even half way to our goal!) Spare a thought for the person (me!) who will have to read all the papers, editorials, exams and blog comments over the holidays...


Anthony Cheung Bing-leung on How to Boost Hong Kong's Competitiveness: "Cultivate originality and promote quality teaching"

In today's South China Morning Post (page A13), Executive Councillor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung has an editorial in which he calls for more attention to education and the "cultivation of the mind" to boost Hong Kong's competitiveness. Mr Cheung is the incoming president of the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Here is a link to the essay, but do note that full access to articles on the SCMP website requires registration and is not free.

POLI0068 Paper Proposal Presentations

In the POLI0068 tutorial on Wednesday, 14 November, we will need to go through all the remaining paper topic proposals. For those of you who have yet to do so, please e-mail your outline to me before class if you can so that I have a chance to go over it.


Office Hours

Because I will be away from Hong Kong for most of the second half of November, if you wish to see me about your editorials and papers or anything else, please try to do so over the next few days. I will be in my office (622D Meng Wah) tomorrow (Saturday, 10 November) from 10 am-11.30 am and from 3.30 pm-5.30 pm. I will also be there most of Tuesday, 13 November.

Please note that I will be away from Hong Kong from the afternoon of 14 November to the evening of 27 November and again from the morning of 30 November to the morning of 6 December. You may of course contact me by e-mail while I am traveling and I will try to respond as quickly as possible.

David Tang on Censorship in Hong Kong

In the International Herald Tribune today, tycoon David Tang, founder of the China Club and Shanghai Tang, has a piece on censorship in Hong Kong which may be of interest to you.


Olympic-Size Controversy: Martin Lee Chu-ming on U.S.-China Relations

You've heard about the controversy - now read Martin Lee's opinion piece in 17 October 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal. He does not call for a boycott, though some of his critics have said he did or that he supports one. He writes:
"It is my hope that the Games could have a catalytic effect on the domestic and foreign policies of the Chinese government, and that the Chinese people will remember the Games long after they are held -- not merely for medals won, but also because they were a turning point for human rights and the rule of law in China. That would be something worth cheering."
What do you think? All comments welcome!


Next Week: HSBC and the IMF

Next week, we have two guests:

9:30 am - 10:30 am
Teresa Au, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Asia Pacific Region, at HSBC

10:30 am - 11:30 am
Dr Olaf Unteroberdoerster, Resident Representative, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

To fit both speakers in, we will have to start promptly at 9.30 am so please try to come on time. In class today, I did not get to complete my short talk on corporate social responsibility (CSR). I have uploaded my lecture ppt file to the WebCT site, but over the next few days, I will post here some thoughts on CSR to help you prepare for Ms Au's presentation.

I mentioned today that when he comes to class next week Dr Unteroberdoerster will have just completed the "Article IV" review of Hong Kong. I suggest that before the next class you have a look at Article IV of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund and the 2006 Article IV consultation report on Hong Kong.

Ronnie Chan's 1999 Article on His Concerns about Hong Kong

During class today, Ronnie Chan referred to an article he wrote in Newsweek International (6 September 1999 issue) after the controversy over Cyberport. At that time, the government signed the project development deal with PCCW, the telecoms company run by Richard Li Tzar-kai, without initiating an open tender for the property. This was viewed by many in the business sector, particularly other real estate developers, as favouritism. You can read Mr Chan's article here.

REPOSTING: Optional Extra Lecture - Review Session and Wrap-Up

I will offer an exam review session for POLI0019 students on Friday afternoon, 7 December, from 2 pm-4 pm in Theatre 5, Meng Wah Complex. I will spend about 30-40 minutes summarizing key points from the lectures and readings and then take questions for as long as there are any. Attendance is voluntary. POLI0068 students who aren't sick of hearing me talk and are interested in coming would be welcome, of course - so long as you have already submitted your papers which will be due that day!

As noted earlier, the POLI0019 exam is on Friday, 14 December, 9.30 am-11.30 am, at the Lindsay Ride Sports Centre.

REPOSTING: POLI0019 Debates Format

Here's information on the format of the POLI0019 tutorial debates.

REPOSTING: POLI0019 Debates Resolutions

Here are the two resolutions that the POLI0019 sections will debate:

1. RESOLVED: Hong Kong's status as a special administrative region of China is an impediment to its truly becoming a global city.

2. RESOLVED: Hong Kong depends too much on China and should focus more on education and cultural development in the SAR to boost its competitiveness and secure its status as a global city.


POLI0068 IBGM Tutorial on 14 November

As it is already clear to me that we won't be able to get through all the paper proposal presentations tomorrow, I'm afraid I will have to reinstate the tutorial meeting on 14 November to be sure everybody is able to participate. We need to have a good number of presentations done tomorrow. So far - Tuesday, 6 November, 9 pm - I have yet to receive any paper outline. This worries me somewhat, to be honest, as this is just an outline of your proposed topic, not the paper itself. An outline should be doable in less than a couple of hours!....one afternoon tops, I would reckon.

In any case, please note in your diaries that POLI0068 IBGM students will meet for tutorial on 14 November. As previously announced, there will be no tutorials on 14 November for POLI0019 students. They will have tutorials on 21 November, when the first round of the debates will take place.

Hong Kong: Creative City?

The folks at the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, a new local think tank (one of their directors sat in on our sessions with Xu Sitao and Regina Ip last week), sent me their latest policy paper "Hong Kong: A Creative Metropolis", which they submitted to the government. I posted it on the WebCT course site (filename: CreativeSubmissionPaper). You can also access the paper and other research by the Centre here. This latest study looks at how to "establish creativity as a major force in transforming Hong Kong's cultural and socio-economic landscape." This might be of interest to students writing papers on related topics or those preparing for the POLI0019 tutorial debates later this month.

POLI0068 Paper Proposals

A reminder to my IBGM friends that we will start having paper proposal presentations at tomorrow's tutorial - just 3-5 minutes to explain the topic that you or you and your partner will be writing on, followed by a brief discussion. Please e-mail me the short outlines (as described in the syllabus and on the class blog posting) before class if you can. I would like to have as many of you as possible make presentations tomorrow so we don't have to take additional time on 14 November.

For Kosovo, What About the Hong Kong Model?

This is an interesting item in today's news: In Serbia, government leaders have proposed that the Hong Kong SAR arrangement might be a model for granting autonomy to Kosovo, a predominantly ethnic Albanian enclave of two million people that is seeking its independence from Belgrade. The Kosovars have rejected the idea.


The China Model: What If....?

Check out this thought-provoking essay on China's development by Howard French of the New York Times, which appeared in the International Herald Tribune last Friday.

More on This Week's Speaker: Ronnie Chan

Just a reminder that I have posted a selection of Mr Chan's articles and speeches in a folder in the WebCT course site (I cannot link them here because they are pdfs, which are not supported by Google Documents). Please try to read some of them before class if you can. You might also watch a clip of Mr Chan talking about doing business in China during a session at the Committee of 100 annual conference in New York earlier this year.


Question of the Week: The Role of Business

We heard from Emily Lau that very few business leaders in Hong Kong have openly come out in support of Anson Chan in the current by-election campaign. This indicates that the business sector does not support democratic political development in the SAR. Question: Should business be more supportive of democratic reforms? Are business leaders wrong to think that more rapid political development in Hong Kong would not be in their interest? Is the business sector too dominant in Hong Kong?

What do you think?

BTW, we're currently at about 80 comments, which is about a third of our goal. There is only about a month to go in the semester. Again, don't feel restricted to the questions I have posted here. If you have any original comment you would like to make, please e-mail it to me and I can post it.