Bulletin November 2018 (Vol. 20 No. 1)

Cover Story Knowledge Exchange Arts and Culture Books 41 45 47 Leading the World in FinTech HKU Research Is at the Forefront of this Fast-Evolving Field The FinTech Revolution The ‘Tech’ behind FinTech Migrant Workers Embrace the Digital Wallet The Data Revolution Gets Personal 01 03 08 09 11 Research Teaching and Learning China’s AI Approach to Information Control Taking on Foxconn Sex with Chinese Characteristics A New Angle on Navigation How Donald Trump Establishes His Charisma Using Outsiders as ‘Folk Devils’ Undoing Damage Done The Screen Effect Trounces the Green Effect 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 31 33 35 37 39 Microspaces Made Liveable Insights on Seeing the Sights 27 29 55 57 Contents When the Virtual Meets Reality More than Skin Deep A City Map for Pedestrians A Gendered Approach to Mental Health Do-It-Yourself Help on the Rental Home Front High Notes Every Picture Is a Story 49 51 53 Final Chapter for Eileen Chang Queen and Empire City Limits Bigger, Stronger, Bolder: New Horizons for the Medical Faculty New President Takes the Pulse of HKU An Engineer Ahead of His Time Development People

The way we buy, sell and invest is undergoing enormous change thanks to financial technology. HKU scholars have been quick off the mark to investigate and explain this phenomenon - from identifying the legal and regulatory implications to developing applications for industry; from looking at how migrant workers use FinTech to the darker side of the big data collection that underpins the technology. LEADING THE WORLD IN FINTECH Cover Story 01 | 02 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018

Technology is transforming finance. HKU is at the forefront in explaining financial technology, identifying its impacts and using that knowledge to help others understand this deepening trend. The FinTech Revolution banks and bank regulators from more than 100 developing countries; and launched Asia’s first FinTech MOOC (massive open online course), as well as undergraduate and Master’s programmes in FinTech. “FinTech is rapidly changing the finance industry and this is of critical importance to Hong Kong given the size of the financial sector here,” Professor Arner said. “We believe there is tremendous scope to re-conceptualise global finance and its regulation in line with technological change and we have been working with industry, policymakers and regulators to move this forward.” The starting point When the scholars started working on their groundbreaking paper only three years ago, there were few others in their field looking at FinTech. Mr Barberis had just started his PhD under Professor Arner’s supervision, having worked on building a new online bank in the United Kingdom. As they discussed this emerging market activity, they saw an What is FinTech? The first thing to understand is that despite the 21st-century label, financial technology (as FinTech is properly known) is not new. It has been in use for more than 2,000 years, starting with coins then paper and credit cards and, more recently, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. This understanding is the starting point of a 2015 study by HKU scholars that became the most downloaded paper on FinTech on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and has been frequently cited by scholars and policymakers around the world. “Our contribution has been to show not so much what FinTech is but who is using it. One hundred years ago it was used by governments. Seventy years ago, banks like Citibank and JP Morgan started to create innovations like credit cards and ATM machines. In the last 10 years, innovation in technology is being done more by start-ups than financial institutions,” said Janos Barberis, a PhD candidate in law who co-authored the paper, titled ‘The Evolution of FinTech: A New Post-Crisis Paradigm?’, with Professor Douglas Arner, Kerry Holdings Professor in Law, in the Faculty of Law and Professor Ross Buckley of the University of New South Wales, published in the Georgetown Journal of International Law. Moreover, the rapidity of recent developments is new and it is having repercussions that reveal themselves practically in real time. New players are entering the finance industry, not only start-ups but also technology companies, such as Alibaba, Tencent and Amazon. Many new users are gaining access to financial services for the first time, including 1.2 billion users just since 2011. New technology is also changing the nature of finance, in particular blockchain which, among other things, has spawned cryptocurrencies. Regulators are trying to catch up with all these trends, which is where the HKU scholars come in. Following their initial paper, they have produced or are in the midst of completing research on RegTech (regulatory technology), TechFin (technology companies in the finance industry) and other trends in the field; launched a start-up; produced policy papers for the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) made up of central FinTech is rapidly changing the finance industry and this is of critical importance to Hong Kong given the size of the financial sector here. Professor Douglas Arner Professor Douglas Arner spoke at the Pan Asian Regulatory Summit in October, 2018. (Courtesy of Refinitiv) 03 | 04 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018 Cover Story

is matched to a list of insiders to see if there was any unusual activity leading up to the merger or acquisition. Hong Kong is in the process of building similar systems, with the Securities and Futures Commission tendering to build an online platform to receive company reports, which could be analysed using data analytics to monitor activities and flag problems. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority also recently issued its strategy for RegTech in the context of new virtual banking licence issuance. Regulation becomes rather more complicated when technology companies start providing financial services – that is, in the case of TechFin. Technology companies have huge scale, distribution and customer access, which creates more systemic risk, said Mr Barberis, who is focussing on TechFin for his PhD, which will be completed by early 2019. opportunity. “We realised there was a lot of confusion. There was this new term FinTech and people were beginning to see a lot of new things happening. So we set out to explain all the major trends that were coming together to transform the way that finance was operating all over the world,” Professor Arner said. Their first point was that the relationship between finance and technology was picking up. This was first seen in major developed markets, where US$5 trillion a day changes hands through global payment systems and people trade stocks in nano-seconds through high-frequency trading. But they also identified three other, less well-known trends. One was the move to online finance in developing countries. Kenya became a centre for this development after it launched mobile phone-based payment services about 10 years ago and others followed suit in Africa and Asia, including China and most recently India. China in particular has undergone the most rapid financial technological transformation in history, as seen by the financial services ecosystems launched by Alibaba and Tencent that serve hundreds of millions of people. Another trend was the involvement of start-ups, which are increasingly becoming a source of new ideas and new ways of doing things. Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and highlighted at the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Bali. Drawing on their research, the scholars put forward a four-pillar strategy for improving financial inclusion and transforming digital financial systems. It includes building digital identification systems, digital payment infrastructure and open electronic payments systems; promoting the opening of accounts and access, starting with electronic payments for government services; designing digital financial markets and systems; and using regulation to support these pillars. “Most of the 1.2 billion people who have gained access to financial services since 2011 have come from a small number of countries – Kenya, China, India, Russia. There are still 1.7 billion people who don’t have access. Banks and “With financial institutions, the whole regulatory system is built around making sure they hold capital so they don’t go bust because of a mismatch of liability and financing. But technology companies don’t have loan books and they don’t try to hold cash. They’re all about flows, not holding capital. Arguably, there is something new on the back of that observation,” he said. FinTech as a door to financial inclusion As these insights have emerged, attention has turned towards providing solutions. “There are increasing examples of industry and regulators working together to design better systems based on technology,” said Professor Arner, who has been the proponent of one such system, with Professor Buckley and Professor Dirk Zetzsche of the University of Luxembourg, that was recently adopted as policy by the “Pre-2008, research and development in financial services was largely about sales – it was rarely about coming up with better ways of doing things. We’ve now had this explosion of start-ups involving both technology and financial services companies trying to come up with these better ways,” Professor Arner said. The final trend they identified was the move of technology companies into financial services, which the scholars dubbed ‘TechFin’. This includes such companies as Alibaba, Tencent, Amazon and Facebook. In addition to these trends, their ongoing research has been identifying the risks involved in financial technology and how these can be addressed from a policy standpoint. RegTech and TechFin The use of new technology to regulate the finance industry is of interest for both firms and policymakers. Firms use it to comply with regulation while regulators aim to use it to improve regulatory outcomes. RegTech itself is not very new, as Professor Arner pointed out: in the United States, the major source of insider trading prosecutions since the 1980s has come from historical stock exchange data that must be handed over to the authorities in cases of mergers and acquisitions. The trading activity Janos Barberis (left) and Professor Douglas Arner (right) at a seminar on regulating FinTech innovation. Professor Douglas Arner (first from left) at the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Bali. (Courtesy of Alliance for Financial Inclusion) With financial institutions, the whole regulatory system is built around making sure they hold capital so they don’t go bust because of a mismatch of liability and financing. But technology companies don’t have loan books and they don’t try to hold cash. They’re all about flows, not holding capital. Mr Janos Barberis Most FinTech start-ups want regulation because it gives a level of trust to the community, which is good for their business. It helps them compete with the traditional financial institutions. Professor Douglas Arner HKU FinTech Day was held on October 29, 2018 as part of the 2018 FinTech Education Series of the Hong Kong FinTech Week. 05 | 06 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018 Cover Story

Our main focus is to bring HKU research to the FinTech industry. Dr S M Yiu MOOCs and more The University is embracing the academic opportunities offered by its leading research in FinTech. FinTech has been named a strategic interdisciplinary research area and is the focus of new research centres being established in the Faculties of Law, Business and Economics and Engineering. Researchrelated MoUs [Memorandums of understanding] have also been signed with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Cyberport. And a new Law, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (LITE) programme is being set up to facilitate the transfer of research into impact. Asia’s first FinTech MOOC (massive open online course), led by Professor Arner, Mr Barberis and other scholars and industry SuperCharger start-up SuperCharger is a start-up formed in 2015 by PhD candidate Janos Barberis, with Professor Douglas Arner on the advisory board. The company rapidly developed into Asia’s top FinTech accelerator, working with regional growth-stage companies as well as international mature scale-ups wishing to enter Asia. To date, it has received over 1,000 applications and helped 46 companies through its 12-week programme that facilitates market entry via workshops, access to investors and mentors, and publicity, which now runs in Malaysia as well as Hong Kong. The company also feeds indirectly into research, Professor Arner said. “Interacting with start-ups and the industry through SuperCharger is very important for us to understand what people are doing, what sorts of business ideas and technologies they are looking at and what issues they are running into,” he said. experts, was launched on edX in the spring ( www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-fintech). It has attracted over 30,000 enrolments from every country in the world and with Standard Chartered Bank made it an element of its FinTech training programmes. The course will soon be joined by two other HKU FinTech MOOCs from the Business and Engineering Faculties to jointly form HKU’s first online professional certificate. FinTech is also featuring in study programmes. The first students in a new Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in FinTech will start in September, 2019 and postgraduate FinTech programmes have or will soon be launched in the Faculties of Law, Business and Engineering. regulators are looking at what lessons can be drawn not just to support financial inclusion, but as a strategy for transforming their digital financial systems,” Professor Arner said. “Importantly, 70 per cent of that 1.7 billion have mobile or smart phones and this sets the stage for rapid transformation in the coming years.” With AFI, Professors Arner, Buckley and Zetzsche are now working with a group of ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries on how to implement this strategy, as well as with another group of Pacific Islands countries working on a regional approach. Blockchain, Bitcoin and trust One system that has Professor Arner’s attention is blockchain technology. Most people associate it with Bitcoin, but it has much wider scope than that. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the legal and regulatory issues around blockchain,” he said. “Blockchain is basically a record-keeping system and its core strengths are in security, transparency and permanence. If you want speed, it’s not very effective. So for securities trading, which takes place throughout the day at very high speed, blockchain doesn’t work well for that. But at the end of each trading day when you have to record who owns what, it’s very useful.” Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are basically a unit of account for pricing or valuing the things recorded on a blockchain’s ledgers. “Lots of people are interested in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin was the first real application. Over the past year we’ve seen a massive spike in value followed by a massive collapse that has now entered the history books as one of the world’s greatest speculative bubbles. It doesn’t mean the price won’t go up again or that the underlying asset is valueless. But from my standpoint, the underlying technology of blockchain is more of interest than the cryptocurrency application,” he said. The team is currently working with the Asian Development Bank on policy issues around blockchain. One thing Professor Arner is unwavering about is that the need for regulation of FinTech and all its permutations – not just for the consumer, but the industry. “Most FinTech start-ups want regulation because it gives a level of trust to the community, which is good for their business. It helps them compete with the traditional financial institutions. To the extent that they have a license and are regulated, it definitely increases trust,” he said. Dr S M Yiu is the Director of HKU’s new FinTech Lab, which has been launched with a US$400,000 private donation and will bring together computer science and other scholars to translate the University’s findings into industrial applications. Dr Yiu has been working extensively in computer security and cryptography and will lead the lab in exploring some of the most promising areas have developed an AI engine that uses historical data to predict the best dozen or so stocks to buy and sell within a given period. Unlike human financial advisors who might review portfolios with clients every few months, this AI agent can give a timely report and signal if the portfolio mix should be changed. Dr Yiu and his student have formed a new start-up, Brain Investing Limited, which has received RMB 4 million from a private investor. A third area that has Dr Yiu’s attention is security, in particular fraud. He has started a project to analyse how people use Bitcoin to determine if they are using it for money laundering. Preliminary results show there are unusual transactions, which will be probed further. In future, the FinTech Lab may also look at big data analysis and natural language processing. “Our main focus is to bring HKU research to the FinTech industry,” he added – something that will also include launching a new massive open online course on blockchain technology in 2019. in the artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis that underpin financial technology. One of these is blockchain, which decentralises data distribution without the need of a trusted authority. Dr Yiu has been working on a platform that enables data to be traded directly between parties rather than the costlier route of going through such an authority. The data has to be encrypted to protect privacy and copyright, which can make it difficult to extract the data easily, but he has been developing a workaround. “We are building a better platform that encrypts the data but has a library on top of it that lets people do calculations or extract certain statistics from the encrypted data. It lets you get results without needing all the underlying data.” The idea is somewhat akin to publishing the findings of research but not the raw data, and letting others use the findings for their own purposes. As Dr Yiu pointed out, businesses often do not need every scrap of data about people to calculate such things as their preferred style of smartphone. New start-up Another area he and his team are looking at is ‘algo-trading’ – using algorithms to guide financial trades. He and a former PhD student A new R&D laboratory in the Faculty of Engineering is bringing together expertise on blockchain, algorithms, security and more to explore new frontiers in financial technology. THE ‘TECH’ BEHIND FINTECH 07 | 08 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018 Cover Story

There are important questions here about the bigger workings of China’s economy – about who is afforded credit and who isn’t and what is meant by inclusion. Dr Tom McDonald Digital money, in the form of Alipay, WeChat Wallet, QQ Wallet and the like, is both changing and reinforcing the social function of money in China and the role of institutions in workers’ lives. MIGRANT WORKERS EMBRACE THE DIGITAL WALLET platforms with both arms, even older workers and those with limited literacy skills. Convenience and visibility The workers told Dr McDonald and his team that they were attracted by the convenience of digital money because they could pay bills and other transactions through their phones. They also liked the visibility of their money because they could check their balances and transactions online and had the option of seeing interest accrue every day, even if it was just a few mao [cents], on Alipay’s Yu’e Bao platform. “Many workers are thinking of ways out of factory work and would like to learn more skills or start a business, but it’s very risky using your own money. We’ve had workers say, at least if I keep my money in Yu’e Bao, I can see it grow every day,” he said. Workers also perceived the platforms to have different qualities that reflected social relationships. WeChat Wallet was regarded as a place for exchanges between friends and for small-scale purchases, QQ Wallet as less trustworthy because it tends to have larger numbers of contacts who are outside the user’s usual circles, and Alipay as the most trustworthy, especially for large purchases, Money plays a clear key role in establishing and sustaining social relationships in Chinese culture, being handed out every Lunar New Year, at weddings, births, funerals and any other occasions where a red packet is associated with auspicious fortune. But what happens to this function when money substantially changes form? That question is at the heart of research by Dr Tom McDonald of the Department of Sociology, who has been studying how migrant workers in Mainland China are jumping onto digital money platforms. He and his team initially studied mostly young male workers at a Foxconn factory and more recently shifted to a smaller factory in Shenzhen that has workers of different ages and even families living in the dormitories. “We’re trying to understand how migrant workers are using this money, how it affects the relations and interactions in the factory, how it’s reshaping their everyday lives,” he said, along with whether the promise of greater financial inclusion from digital money platforms is being realised. The evidence collected over the past four years is that workers are embracing these ironically because it lacks connections to existing online social networks and therefore is seen as more ‘professional’. Alipay nonetheless has introduced some social functions, such as digital red packets (also offered by WeChat Wallet) that are used, among other things, to send money home if the worker cannot return for the Lunar New Year and to play a social game among friends who take turns posting red packets with tiny amounts of money to their chat group, which members compete to claim for their own. Alipay has also introduced Sesame Credit, a credit rating system that lets people see how much they are eligible to borrow through its Ant Spend Now function. The latter operates like a credit card by letting people make purchases and pay later, with the first month interest-free. “Migrant workers in factories traditionally have not been afforded credit cards so this is an example of people getting their first taste of formal credit,” Dr McDonald said. Relationship factors Yet workers are not necessarily ready to give up the informal credit channels that are based on social relationships, such as family, friends and rotating credit associations between groups of people. Some said Ant Spend Now made it possible for them to lend cash to friends in need because they could put their own purchases on credit. Dr McDonald said that apart from social relationships, the different uses of digital platforms reflect the workers’ relationship with the state and institutions. Workers borrow from Alipay – a private company – because the state-owned banks and rural credit cooperatives tend not to lend them money. “There are important questions here about the bigger workings of China’s economy – about who is afforded credit and who isn’t and what is meant by inclusion,” he said. The platforms also reflect how people are perceiving their own lives. Young people worry about financial autonomy and do not want to rely on their parents for money or borrow from people in their home town, who might gossip about them. This links to a deeper trend in the country. “There’s quite a lot of research about growing individualism in Chinese society. Digital money itself might not cause that but it may be a way to reflect those ideas,” he said. Reviewing participants’ digital wallet transactions helps illuminate money’s social purposes. 09 | 10 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018 Cover Story

My very pessimistic prediction is that we will be data cows, starting from FinTech then to genome or medical technology, then to whatever follows that. Dr Wang Zigan Scholars, businesses and governments are benefitting from the huge amount of data available in the finance field. This is both exciting and unnerving, says Assistant Professor of Finance Dr Wang Zigan. THE DATA REVOLUTION GETS PERSONAL University who studied the relationship between corporate managers’ personal home mortgage debt and their firm’s debt. Data like this is accessible to approved scholars through application to governments and in some cases purchase from private firms. The two examples cited here used Western sources, but there is an even richer trove of data in China. “Big data analysis is developing much faster in China than the United States because there are much fewer legal constraints,” Dr Wang said. Knowing their customers While the boost to scholarship is interesting, the real impact of the data boom is being seen in business, with consequences for consumers. For instance, “Chinese firms are accumulating more and more data and using it to study their customers’ every behaviour so they can extract more profits from them,” he said. Alibaba’s Ant Spend Now uses algorithms to approve automatic loans to customers. The machines can process huge amounts of data very quickly – something that has only become possible in recent years because more personal data is now available – and as a result have much lower default rates than loans approved by people. Finance research traditionally used to focus on the big players, such as industries and firms. But over the past decade, the level of data available has become so individualised that it has enabled researchers to probe into the personal behaviour and decisions of managers, households and others. To understand just how personal this data is, consider the research of Dr Wang Zigan, who has been studying the migration patterns of inventors and ‘star’ scientists. Dr Wang has been able to access their home addresses, whether they have children at home and their ages, and other highly personal data that he has combined with more general information to predict when a scientist might move to another location. “I want to estimate the impact of every factor that affects their decision. The scientists themselves may not fully understand what drives their move – they might just think they don’t like the place. But the machine can scan and analyse all the data and show, for example, if the decision is 35 per cent due to the surrounding environment, 25 per cent to the salary and 15 per cent to tax policies. And it can very accurately predict whether another inventor will decide to move,” he said. Many other researchers are similarly using personal data, such as a professor at Cornell “The automatic loans are probably China’s greatest FinTech achievement,” Dr Wang said. “But is it a good thing? Providing liquidity or credit to people who really need it is good, but loans are also provided to people who do not need them, like college students. They’re given very high interest rates and forced to repay. “And if they can’t repay? They will just have to because in China, you cannot avoid using smartphones. The apps used for calling a cab, ordering online and many other things are wholly owned by the giant technology firms that provide the loans, and they can prevent you from using those apps. So for people who do not have good self-control, automatic loans are a bad thing. They could drag a lot of people down – that is the dark side of it.” FinTech is only the start American technology giants are hampered by their legal system which makes it more difficult to obtain and use people’s data. Even so, there is the example of Cambridge Analytics, which was given access to data about Facebook users. Facebook has promised to tighten privacy protection, as has Google. “But how do you really know they have done what they said? Who can check the codes? Not even programmers may understand the codes fully,” he said. The use of data will only accelerate and governments are also getting in on the act. China has minimised controls on technology firms in exchange for help in acquiring data. Dr Wang believes this will give the country an advantage in the next stage of the AI-driven revolution. “FinTech is the first field making great progress in the big data age, the next one will be medical technology. The more data you have from people, the more accurate you will be able to know which gene or combination of genes controls which disease,” he said. This is generally a positive thing except, he added, that genes can also determine people’s emotions. If the government understands this, it could open the way to manipulating people’s moods and behaviour. Given the value of data to businesses and governments, and the rapid developments in their ability to obtain and use data, Dr Wang sees reason to worry about the future. “My very pessimistic prediction is that we will be data cows, starting from FinTech then to genome or medical technology, then to whatever follows that. This is our future,” he said. He therefore recently threw away his smartphone, although he is struggling with how to make payments when he next visits Mainland China, where smartphone payments are often the only option. Being able to access highly personal data for analysis, Dr Wang looks into the relationship between toxic emissions and executive migration. The above figure maps the location of the 58,094 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) plants that operated between 1996 and 2014. Each dot represents a TRI plant location. 11 | 12 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018 Cover Story

Censorship is an old-school idea compared to the sophisticated data-driven approach China is taking to control the spread of information in the country. China’s AI Approach to Information Control speculation that a CNN reporter trying to cover the story had been arrested. A combination of censorship and debunking was subsequently deployed to dampen the rumours. “For more politically sensitive issues, like attacking the responsible government officers or uploading photos of people protesting against the government on the street, there was more likely to be censorship. But less sensitive issues, like the discussion about the CNN reporter, were more likely to be debunked. “In fact, we find that in some cases censorship wasn’t very effective. If people were hungry for information, no matter if it was censored, they would still look for it. There was one story questioning the number of casualties in the blast that was censored. This was information that people wanted to know so even though it was censored, they went looking for it.” Still, as information control tactics have evolved, people’s social media usage has moved away Denouncing negative information as ‘fake news’ has become a depressingly common tactic of politicians around the world. In China, this has been turned into a whole industry. Debunking news and news sources is one of a spectrum of activities that the state is using to control information and its flow, according to Dr Fu King-wa of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre. Dr Fu has been leading research on social media censorship in Mainland China for nearly a decade, but in the past couple of years he has had to expand that remit because censorship has become only the crudest form of control. “Censorship is what I call Control 1.0, which is used to control political content and regulate the news media and social media. But now we have Control 2.0, which is about manipulating public opinion to make people think in a different direction,” he said. This involves deploying the ‘50-cent army’ ( wu mao dang), who are paid a small amount of money to cast doubts on social media postings that are unfavourable to the government. In addition, if people click on links embedded in unfavourable postings, they may automatically receive a message that the item is ‘misinformation’ Dr Fu believes the government is using the information control tactics to prepare its citizens for ‘Control 3.0’ – the social credit scoring system that will roll out in 2020. The operational details are still unclear, but it is quite possible that a person’s social media activities could count towards their score, which may determine such things as whether they can purchase airplane tickets or send their children for private education. “How can a system like social credit work? There has to be a context in which the citizens get used to these multiple ways of having information controlled by the government. Control 1.0 and 2.0 have created an atmosphere over the past 10 years of collecting multiple kinds of information from people who have no way to say no. They are giving up a lot of privacy in exchange for services,” he said. China is not the only place trying to use technology to monitor its citizens. A new book in the United States, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor by Virginia Eubanks, shows how some American states and cities have developed automated systems to assess and track citizens on social benefits. “That book is about punishing poor people. But in China it’s not just to punish the economicallydisadvantaged but also political dissidents,” he said, adding: “AI [artificial intelligence] does a lot of good things for society. But there are a lot of issues to sort out about how this works.” The WeChatscope website can be found at wechatscope.jmsc.hku.hk from the more public domains of Sina Weibo to the semi-public space of WeChat’s public accounts. In response, Dr Fu launched WeChatscope in 2018 to track the activities of more than 3,000 accounts that post on social affairs, including their posts, user engagement and removal of posts. This makes it possible to tackle another form of information control – self-censorship – and Dr Fu has detected more cases where people delete posts or refrain from re-posting them. He has also noticed that different media outlets remove their content at the same time, suggesting they may have been directed to do so. Preparing for Control 3.0 Information control tactics are also evolving into the international arena. China recently tried to get Cambridge University Press to block access to politically-sensitive articles and pressured airlines to drop Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent destinations and place them under China. and be given a link to ‘learn more’ about what is wrong with it. Censorship can backfire A prime example of this was after the 2015 Tianjin blast, in which a storage facility blew up, killing 173 people and injuring hundreds more. On Weiboscope, a platform Dr Fu created to track social media activity, he detected questions being posted asking why dangerous explosive material was stored near a residential area in contravention of the law and speculating that corruption was involved. There was also Censorship is what I call Control 1.0, which is used to control political content and regulate the news media and social media. But now we have Control 2.0, which is about manipulating public opinion. Dr Fu King-wa WeChatscope (beta version) is developed to collect data from a selected panel of WeChat public accounts for a better understanding into the role of the platform in content censorship, information distribution, user engagement, platform intervention, and connectivity enabled by the technology. A censored Weibo post about a CNN reporter being attacked during a live broadcast. Research 13 | 14 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018

Professor Pun Ngai has produced critical research on the problematic working conditions in Foxconn factories and the state of China’s working class. TAKING ON FOXCONN subsequently expanded into the western part of China and found fresh recruits there – she even found instructions from one local government asking a vocational school to place their students at Foxconn. “Usually the provincial leader is very happy to work with Foxconn because it will increase GDP, at least on paper,” she said. “The local and state governments and the company and school are working together to produce what I call a young migrant working class.” Professor Pun’s findings were shared in the media and with NGOs and became the basis of campaigns to improve working conditions. One group she worked closely with, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour The highly-publicised spate of suicides at Foxconn factories in Shenzhen in 2010 were a catalysing force for Professor Pun Ngai in the Department of Sociology, who had already earned accolades for her study of female migrant workers in China. Fourteen suicides were reported that year and Foxconn claimed they were due to personal reasons. But as the numbers escalated, the explanation failed to convince Professor Pun, who appealed to nine fellow scholars for immediate help to investigate working conditions at the factory – there was no time to wait for funding. That appeal started a snowball reaction that is still rolling. More than 100 volunteer academics and students came forward, including 14 students pressure on the vocational schools to find other vendors for these students, it is not necessarily a bad thing. But it will take time to improve the situation,” she said. A gap between dreams and reality Professor Pun’s research also takes a broader perspective on the situation at Foxconn, placing it within the greater context of the evolution of the modern working class in China. The first generation emerged in the 1980s and 1990s when China was opening up, and worked 14 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The second generation had it a little better with work scaled back to six days a week. The third generation – the current one – has come of age when the central government is trying to upgrade the skills of its workers. “Their working life is getting better – their working hours are shorter and their salaries are higher than previous generations. But there is a gap between their dreams and reality and they have accumulated more grievances and desires simply because of the consumption culture. They compare themselves with urban workers and the middle-class lifestyle. I would say in the long run that is driving them to organise to improve their working conditions,” she said. For example, the Foxconn workers she observed were aware of their labour rights and willing to join forces. “There will be more strikes, more proactive action, so the government has to try to find a balance between the two sides,” she said. In addition to her research, Professor Pun is also raising awareness among workers in China by working with three vocational schools to develop a general education curriculum and website about labour protection and migrant issues. (SACOM), launched a high-profile campaign in 2017 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the iPhone (Foxconn’s major client is Apple). This resulted in the firms’ pledging to improve students’ wages, stop students from working night shifts and allow for union elections. Apple even said it would stop employing student interns. But more recently, Professor Pun has received reports that the old practices are creeping back in. While stopping students from working at Foxconn could affect their income, Professor Pun said it was important that students be offered appropriate internships in their disciplines, which are either lacking or require students to pay extra. “The students really need to learn and upgrade their skills so if this puts who landed jobs inside Foxconn. The research revealed stressful working conditions, such as shifts that operated around the clock and a setup that discouraged workers from forming bonds lest they start to organise themselves (for instance, workers from the same village or community were purposely separated). More importantly, the work enabled Professor Pun to identify a new group of working class in China that she estimated numbered as many as 20 million people: vocational school students. These schools were encouraging students to work in all kinds of factories, not only during summer or winter breaks but as part of their final-year work placements, even though the work was often unrelated to their majors such as nursing, accounting, management and the like. “We observed big buses picking up students at those schools and taking them to the Foxconn factory,” she said. “The students had hoped to learn a skill and climb the social ladder, but in reality they were being sent to work in a factory, doing very repetitive tasks. It made them feel they were wasting three years at the school.” Campaigns for change Her research showed schools had signed agreements with Foxconn to provide student workers, although this was much reduced after the spate of suicides. However, Foxconn The students had hoped to learn a skill and climb the social ladder, but in reality they were being sent to work in a factory. Professor Pun Ngai Since 2010, the Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) has run a series of campaign demanding that Apple and Foxconn stop their practice of forcing vocational school students to work excessively long hours in the iPhone production lines. Research The Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) launched the ‘iSlave at 10’ campaign in 2017 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. 15 | 16 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018

Sexual culture and practices help sustain the political economy in China, even when the state is cracking down on them, argues Professor Petula Ho Sik-ying. SEX WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS The role of the Communist Party in the private lives of Chinese citizens has become markedly more hands-off since the Mao era, when work units monitored and exerted control over people’s intimate relations. People are freer now to make their own choices, but in recent years, the party has been making its presence felt again, according to Professor Petula Ho Sik-ying of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, who has been studying sex in Chinese societies for more than two decades and recently completed a major review of research in this field. Under President Xi Jinping, Confucian values are being promoted that tout the virtue of the heterosexual norm and traditional roles, particularly for women – for instance, women who do not marry before the age of 30 are stigmatised as ‘leftover’, LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] and other sexualities are cast in a negative light and even feminism has been targeted with campaigners arrested for such actions as distributing stickers about sexual harassment (as happened in Beijing in 2015). Yet alongside those constraints, women’s ‘sexualised labour’, in which their gender is considered salient to their work, is playing an important role in business and politics, she said. “China’s rise to power has been based on economic prosperity, which is one of the most important ways to justify the political regime. The regime wants Chinese people to believe in the China dream, so it has to make sure that the business world is functioning well. And to do that, it has to use women’s sexualised labour,” she said. left out of situations where deals are typically made, such as nightclub visits). Balancing act Professor Ho said these roles emerged with China’s opening in the 1980s and 1990s and have intensified in recent years. But they have also required the government to perform a curious balancing act. While the current government has signalled that it does not tolerate sex work, its ‘Sweep Yellow’ campaign targeted lower-end prostitution and pornography, not the high-end prostitution that businessmen and officials engage in. “Women’s work and the way they conduct their gender roles and present themselves as new sexual subjects are all important to China’s economic prosperity and political legitimacy,” she said. “Most people think sex is a marginal topic, but it is an entry point to understanding the whole post-socialist China.” In that regard, she has been disturbed by the growing intolerance for academic research about sexuality, sexual diversity and feminism in China that has occurred alongside the promotion of Confucian values and the crackdown on prostitution. Recently, Professor Ho has had collaborators and research students on the Mainland withdraw from projects and publications out of fear of the potential repercussions. “In this climate of increasing censorship, the lack of clarity about what is or is not permissible makes scholars and activists ever more cautious and likely to engage in self-censorship,” she said. For now, studies on the bedrooms of the nation will fall to scholars based outside the Mainland, such as Professor Ho. Physical and emotional labour The most obvious form of sexualised labour is sex work, of which seven types have been identified ranging from mistress to karaoke bar hostess to streetwalker. These women, particularly at the higher end of the scale, are often present in the nightclubs and bars where business deals are made and they provide foils for men to show their bosses and clients that they have the necessary social skills to succeed. “These women’s labour is not just physical labour, it’s emotional labour. Businessmen’s masculinity depends a lot on their ability to socialise and conduct themselves as cosmopolitan subjects and this depends on the co-production and participation of women in different settings,” she said. “The women are also the lubricant to smooth out tensions, as well as provide beauty, aesthetics and entertainment. Nobody recognises this because they are seen as just cheap labour, but they need to be there so the men can build the profitable relationships associated with the Party-state economic enterprise.” Sexualised labour also happens in other settings where women step into the gendered or sexualised roles that the new economy demands of them. Wives accept their husbands have to spend long nights on business entertainment – potentially sleeping with other women – because it is good for the family income and the nation’s prosperity. White-collar office workers are expected to dress demurely but are objects of men’s sexual banter. Businesswomen are encouraged to play up their feminine charms to cut deals, but then have their achievements downgraded because of this (they are also often Most people think sex is a marginal topic, but it is an entry point to understanding the whole post-socialist China. Professor Petula Ho Sik-ying Research 17 | 18 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018

onboard diagnostic (OBD) device, which measures the real-time velocity of the vehicle, and a smartphone whose motion sensors enable the device to compare the angle of the road with the angle of the car. In short, it works out if a car is entering the ramp of a flyover.” To implement the Angle Difference Method, the vehicle inclination angle needs to be measured accurately, which existing in-vehicle inclinometers can do but they are both large and expensive. By comparison, the portable OBD is inexpensive and performs automatic calibration to remove the misalignment pitch offset angle in both stationary and moving modes. Professor Yeh said: “Many modern vehicles already have an OBD, and with the advent of automatic cars all vehicles will have it. Nowadays, everybody has a smartphone – which contains, among other motion sensors, a gyroscope. The phone can be placed anywhere Hong Kong’s metropolis is notorious for its complex, multi-level road systems, with flyovers, tunnels and complicated junctions. While such systems enable more traffic to pass through major cities, current GPS devices have problems identifying which road level a vehicle is on, leading to safety issues and frustration for drivers. Professor Anthony Yeh Gar-on said: “Picture the scene, you are navigating in your car using a GPS, when instead of taking the road directly ahead as instructed, you erroneously veer into the left-hand lane which is the on-ramp of a flyover. Since the flyover is above the road which you are meant to be on, the GPS does not realise your mistake and continues to give you instructions as though you were on the currently talking to global GIS and vehicle navigation operators, regarding getting the relevant advice on flyover inclinations. These operators include major Chinese companies, with whom the team is discussing potential applications for the system, particularly in major cities with complex road systems. The invention won the gold medal at the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions in April, 2018. It has also generated several academic papers published in top international academic journals including IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems. “Navigation has always been one of my key research areas,” said Professor Yeh. “I have been involved in navigation research for some 20 years.” His work has included the international award-winning HKU Virtual Campus (Internet and Intranet GIS) in 1997, and a real-time traffic multimedia internet geographic information system in 1998. use consumer-grade GPS and the transport geographic information system (GIS-T) database is largely two-dimensional only.” Angle Difference Method To solve the problem, Professor Yeh and Dr Zhong Teng, both from the Department of Urban Planning and Design, HKUrbanLab, GIS Research Centre and Institute of Transport Studies, developed the Angle Difference Method (ADM). Dr Zhong said: “Our method compares the vehicle pitch angle with the inclination angle of different road levels calculated from road elevations which we propose will be stored in future in GIS-T databases. The method uses an within the vehicle and will work with the plugged-in or installed OBD.” “When a vehicle approaches what we term the Ramp Decision Zone,” said Dr Zhong, “the device compares the angle of road and vehicle and informs the driver instantly, and with 100 per cent accuracy, if he or she has entered a flyover.” This instant information reduces the chance of accidents or stress caused to driver trying to follow instructions from a GPS that thinks a vehicle is in a different road level to where it is actually located. “When that happens people start to not trust the GPS device,” said Professor Yeh. “Our device enables you to trust your navigation system again – it gives you back your confidence in it. Safety is all about confidence.” Professor Yeh and Dr Zhong have received both a US patent and an International PCT [Patent Cooperation Treaty] patent and they are road beneath. Not only does such a situation lead to extra stress for drivers, but it can also cause accidents.” The GPS was developed in the 1970s and came into common usage in the 1990s, but failure to recognise road levels has been a persistent problem that has gone unresolved over the decades. In multi-level road networks, the GPS flits between flyover and ground level as it cannot figure out where it is. “The horizontal error of GPS is 10 to 30 metres,” said Professor Yeh, “so it cannot always recognise which lane you are driving in. The vertical error is 15 metres, whereas flyover height is usually 9 metres. Furthermore, existing vehicle positioning systems The Urban Planning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team has found a solution to the blind spots in city roads that have eluded global positioning systems (GPS) for decades. A new angle on navigation Our device enables you to trust your navigation system again – it gives you back your confidence in it. Safety is all about confidence. Professor Anthony Yeh Gar-on The navigation system uses an ordinary smartphone which is connected to an onboard diagnostic device by Bluetooth. The Angle Difference Method for determining which road level a vehicle has entered. Professor Anthony Yeh Gar-on (left) and Dr Zhong Teng (right) won the gold medal at the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions. Research 19 | 20 The University of Hong Kong Bulletin | November 2018