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.