HKUST PPOL Newsletter Issue No.4 Fall 2023
Contents P2 Faculty Photo P3 Acting Head’s Message P4 Awards and Projects P13 Research Showcase P20 Featured Article P25 Public Policy Dialogue Series P30 Conference and Events P37 Community Impact P42 Student Achievements and Events
ABC 2 Acting Head's Message Faculty Photo
3 Acting Head's Message As we commence another vibrant semester, it brings me great pleasure to welcome you all to the fourth edition of our Division's newsletter. This year marks a new chapter in our journey as we warmly embrace the leadership of our newly appointed president and provost. Their vision and ambition set a tone of reinvigoration, promising a phase of growth and evolution for our Division. The dawn of a new academic year always heralds an invigorating energy that reverberates through our campus corridors, classrooms, and in the hearts of our dedicated faculty and dynamic student body. As we progress, we uphold our commitment to delivering interdisciplinary public policy research at the global frontier, partnering with diverse organizations to contribute significantly to policy development. We are excited to explore the opportunities this new leadership brings, and we look forward to sharing our journey with you. Here's to a fruitful semester ahead, and as always, happy reading! Professor Naubahar SHARIF, Division of Public Policy, HKUST Acting Head's Message
and Projects Awards and Achievements Research Grants New Appointments On-going Projects Awards
5 Awards and Projects Awards and Achievements Professor Naubahar Sharif Received the Prestigious “Chief Executive’s Project List 2023” Award Congratulations to Professor Naubahar Sharif, Acting Head and Professor of the Division of Public Policy, who has been awarded a substantial grant of HK$13.72 million from the prestigious "Chief Executive’s Community Project List 2023". This funding is generously made available by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and is allocated by the Chief Executive to innovative and impactful projects. Priority is given to projects that are supported by the relevant policy bureau, in this case, the Health Bureau. This achievement is monumental in the annals of HKUST, as it marks only the second time a professor from our institution has received this esteemed award in over three decades of HKUST's history, and the first time since 1999. This speaks volumes about the significance of Professor Sharif's work and his commitment towards making a difference in our community. The grant will support Professor Sharif's project titled "Enhancing the Mental Health of Hong Kong’s Non-Chinese Youth Aged 15-24". This project will span three years and is scheduled to launch at the end of 2023 or early in 2024. We extend our hearty congratulations to Professor Sharif on this noteworthy achievement and look forward to seeing the positive impact his project will undoubtedly make.
6 Awards and Projects Professor Naubahar Sharif Received an ‘Honorary Mention’ for the Common Core Teaching Excellence Award 2022 On 8 June 2023, Professor Sharif received an Honorary Mention, awarded by the Undergraduate Core Education Team in appreciation of his efforts in designing and teaching the common core course PPOL 2110- Science, Technology and Society in China. The Committee on Undergraduate Core Education (CUCE) commended Professor Sharif's teaching philosophy, which prioritizes building strong partnerships with students and empathizing with their perspectives to support their academic and personal growth throughout his classes. His course design includes thoughtfully curated content and a well-balanced mix of assessment activities tailored to accommodate diverse student backgrounds and educational objectives. Moreover, Professor Sharif's innovative approach to adopting various digital platforms and technologies and creating high-quality course videos for this blended-learning course has transformed students from passive recipients to active, lifelong learners. About the Common Core Teaching Excellence Award The Common Core Teaching Excellence Award is established to recognize outstanding common core course instructors who have made substantial contributions to the design and/or the teaching of exemplary common core courses. The nominees for the awards are evaluated based on three broad criteria: (a) Excellence in course design (including the development of a new course or the refinement or redevelopment of an existing course) and teaching innovation; (b) Delivery of an exemplary common core course; and (c) Innovative assessment of student learning. A cash prize of $10,000 is awarded to a maximum of three Honorary Mentions each year as a token of recognition and appreciation.
7 Awards and Projects University Grants Committee’s Official Coverage of Prof. Alex Jingwei He’s Research Impact on Policy Making In September 2023, the University Grants Committee (UGC) launched a series of publicity in Sing Tao Daily on how researchers in local public universities generate real-world impact through academic research. This series showcases a selection of research impact cases rated 4-star (internationally outstanding) in Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2020. Professor Alex Jingwei He, Associate Professor of PPOL and Acting Director of the Institute for Public Policy, HKUST was featured in this official coverage, representing the discipline of public policy and administration. Below is an English summary of the newspaper feature story. Prof He’s research on the healthcare system has contributed to the knowledge informing large-scale reforms in mainland China and Hong Kong and public debate, has become an important reference to the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Chinese government’s reform blueprint for China’s health system, a large extent of it has been implemented in the State Council’s Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). Prof. He’s engagement with policymakers and media in mainland China and Hong Kong has reached at least one billion audiences. In his work, Prof. He addresses the challenges of spiralling costs to meet increasing demand from a more prosperous aging population and the surge in non-communicable diseases faced by mainland China’s health system, and the overstretched public service faced by the super-aging Hong Kong society. Prof. He’s impact case study on “Improved Understanding and Awareness of Reforms Needed in Healthcare Delivery in China and Health Financing in Hong Kong” has been rated 4-star (internationally outstanding and considerably impactful) in the 2020 UGC’s Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) UoA25- Political Science (incl. public policy & administration & international relations).
8 Awards and Projects Phenomena of mainland China’s Medical System and their impact on its Sustainability Researchers and policymakers have largely overlooked the doctor-patient relationships and their significance in doctors’ behavior. The unique contribution of Prof. He’s investigations is on the tense doctor-patient relationship in mainland China resulting from the lack of mutual trust and even conflicts between the two parties and their significance in doctors’ behavior in delivering healthcare under the implementation of universal health insurance coverage in mainland China. Such tense relationships have been identified in Prof. He’s investigations as adversely affecting the sustainability and capacity of the mainland's medical system, as there is a tendency for doctors to resort to “defensive medicine” involving over-prescription of drugs and diagnostic tests to avoid potential liability and future medical disputes. A Bridge Between Healthcare Professionals and Policymakers Prof. He has been advocating for doctors and frontline medical staff and persuading policymakers in mainland China to fight for better treatment and benefits for the former by visiting and delivering speeches in different government departments and public hospitals. In Hong Kong, Prof. He has been invited by the former Food and Health Bureau and the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers to share his research results, providing new perspectives for the insurance industry and relevant stakeholders, and enabling the public to understand medical insurance options better. Prof. He has the vision to apply his research results to make policy initiatives for society, to raise public awareness and understanding of medical insurance and health policies, and to become an important bridge between the relevant stakeholders. References: UGC RAE 2020 Impact Case UoA25- Political Science https://bit.ly/3Zwwntv Sing Tao Daily: https://bit.ly/3rpyxP8 Photo Sourced from Sing Tao Daily Photo Sourced from Sing Tao Daily
9 Awards and Projects Research Grants Principal Investigator: Prof. Alex Jingwei He Project Title: Building a World-Class Innovation District in Northern Metropolis: Policy Innovation, Institutional Design, and Capacity Building 打造北部都會區世界級創新區：政策創新、制度設計及能力提升 Funding Agency: The Greater Bay Area Association of Academicians Amount Awarded: HK$598,000 (Matching Fund Inclusive) Commencement Date: 1 Feb 2023 Project Description: The Northern Metropolis development plan is one of Hong Kong's most strategic development projects. This research project seeks to inform the SAR Government's policymakers with concrete policy recommendations by synthesizing international experience and local wisdom.
10 Awards and Projects Principal Investigator: Prof. Kellee Tsai Co-Principal Investigator: Prof. Masaru Yarime, Prof. Kira Matus Project Title: Comparing East-West AI Ethics and Governance and its Policy Implications Funding Agency: VPRDO 30 for 30 Research Initiative Scheme Amount Awarded: HK$1,000,000 Project Description: This comparative AI ethics and governance project will explore different approaches in regulating AI technologies that have emerged in different countries and regions. By compiling a comprehensive national policy inventory, this project will develop an analytic framework for AI ethics and governance to provide evidence-based observations about corporate and government practices to build an East-West AI ethics and governance platform with a policy impact. Professor Naubahar Sharif Reappointed as Acting Head of the Division of Public Policy at HKUST Prof. Naubahar Sharif, Acting Head and Professor of the Division of Public Policy and Institute of Public Policy, Professor of the Division of Integrative Systems & Design, Institute for the Environment, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, has recently been reappointed as the Acting Head of the Division of Public Policy. Professor Kira Matus Appointed as Associate Dean of the Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies (Taught Postgraduate Studies) Prof. Kira Matus, Professor of the Division of Public Policy and the Division of Environment & Sustainability, Director of the Master of Public Management Program has recently been appointed as the Associate Dean of the Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies (Taught Postgraduate Studies). Professor Alex Jingwei He Reappointed as Assessment Panel Member of RGC’s Research Funding Scheme Prof. Alex Jingwei He, Associate Professor of the Division of Public Policy and Acting Director of the Institute for Public Policy has recently been reappointed as the Assessment Panel Member (Humanities and Social Sciences) for Competitive Research Funding Scheme for the Local Selffinancing Degree Sector, Research Grants Council (RGC). Prof. He served on the Panel from 2021 to 2023, and his appointment has been renewed to 2025. New Appointments
11 Awards and Projects Leading Faculty Funding Agency Project Prof. Naubahar Sharif 白立邦 教授 Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme, Advisory Committee on Mental Health • Strengthening Family Relationships for Hong Kong’s Ethnic Minority Communities in the Aftermath of the Covid-19 Pandemic (2023 - Now) Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme, Advisory Committee on Mental Health • Supporting Ethnic Minority Elderly with Mental Health Needs (2023 - Now) Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme, Advisory Committee on Mental Health • Preparing and Deploying Ethnic Minority Lay Leaders to Promote Mental Wellbeing Among Hong Kong’s Major Ethnic Minority Communities (2022 – Now) Center for Aging Science, HKUST • Towards a More Inclusive Hong Kong: Covid-19, Mental Well-being, and Mitigation Strategies for a Multicultural Elderly Community (2022 - Now) Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Center for Economic Policy, HKUST • Influence of and Interplay Between Culture and Chinese Outward FDI into Southeast Asia (2022 - Now) Prof. Kira Matus 穆綺蘭 教授 RGC - General Research Fund • Towards 1.5C Lifestyles: What Motivates Sustainable Consumption Choices in Hong Kong? 邁向 1.5° C 生活模式：是什麼推動香港的 可持續消費選擇？ (2022 - Now) Prof. Masaru Yarime 鎗目雅 副教授 Global Engagement Funds, University College London • Public Perspectives on Personal Data Use for Personalized COVID-19 Advice (2022 - Now) Institute for Emerging Market Studies • The Smart City as a Field of Innovation: Effects of Public-Private Data Collaboration on Innovation in the Guangdong Province and Implications for the Greater Bay Area (2022 - Now) Ongoing Projects
12 Awards and Projects Leading Faculty Funding Agency Project Prof. Pengyu Zhu 朱鵬宇 副教授 CLP Research Fellowship, CLP Holdings Limited • EV Charging Infrastructure Planning Based on an Integrated Model of Optimization Algorithms and Spatial-Temporal Analysis (2022 - Now) RGC - Public Policy Research Funding Scheme • The Persistence of Behavioral Changes in Post-Pandemic Hong Kong: Implications for Transportation, Housing and Economic Development Policies 後疫情時代香港社會⾏為轉變的持續性研 究：對於交通政策、住房政策以及經濟發 展政策的指導意義 (2022 – Now) Innovation and Technology Fund, Other Income (Non-Profit) • Strategic Planning for Transforming Hong Kong into a Leading Global Aviation and Innovation Hub 香港轉型成為世界航空與創新中心之策略 規劃 (2021- Now) Prof. Alex Jingwei He 和經緯 副教授 RGC - General Research Fund • Technocrats and Mid-Level Policy Entrepreneurship in China: Explaining Local Policy Innovations in the Social Welfare Arena 中國大陸的技術官僚與中層政策企業家： 解釋社會福利領域的地方政策創新 (2023 – Now) World Health Organization • Public-Private Mix for Continuity of Care for Older Persons with a Focus on Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia (2023 – Now) Prof. Xiaofan Zhao 趙小凡 助理教授 National Natural Science Foundation of China • Explaining Business Compliance: Evidence from Energy-saving Regulation in China 中國企業服從節能減排規制的動因及其作 用機制 (2022 - Now）
Research Showcase Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Environmental Policy and Sustainability Social and Urban Policy
14 Research Showcase Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Veale, M., Matus, K., & Gorwa, R. (2023). AI and Global Governance: Modalities, Rationales, Tensions. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 19. In this review, the authors study what exactly the salient but polarizing issue of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being governed, how, by who, and why by considering the literature on AI, the governance of computing, and regulation and governance. The authors took critical stock of the different modalities of the global governance of AI that have emerged, such as ethical councils, industry governance, contracts and licensing, standards, international agreements, and domestic legislation with extraterritorial impact, and examine selected rationales and tensions that underpin them, drawing attention to the interests and ideas driving these different modalities. As these governance regimes built around AI become clearer and more stable, the authors urge those engaging with or studying the global governance of AI to constantly ask the allimportant question of “Who benefits?” Yarime, M. "Facilitating Data-Driven Innovation for Sustainability: Data Governance and Its Impacts in Smart Cities in China." 2023 AAS Annual Conference. ASIANSTUDIES, 2023. Few empirical studies were conducted to examine how data are managed and provided in smart cities and how they affect companies’ innovative activities, despite their crucial role in addressing a variety of sustainability issues. This conference paper examines the data available and used in smart cities and how the government and enterprises collaborate on data to facilitate innovation. Focusing on China, particular attention is paid to different types of public-private collaboration for smart cities, including equipment supply, platform building, and data analysis. Interviews were conducted to examine how key stakeholders in the public and private sectors collaborate on data, and the impact on the outcomes of innovative activities was examined by analysing the government procurement data.
15 Research Showcase Stephenson, M., Lejarraga, I., Matus, K., Mulugetta, Y., Yarime, M., & Zhan, J. (2023). AI as a SusTech Solution: Enabling AI and Other 4IR Technologies to Drive Sustainable Development through Value Chains. In The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence for the Sustainable Development Goals (pp. 183-201). Cham: Springer International Publishing. Artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) can help drive sustainable development through what can be called ‘SusTech’ solutions. To address the questions on how can these SusTech solutions be supported by governments, adopted by firms (especially in managing value chains), and encouraged by users, this book chapter proposes a three-part solution: (1) creating a Sustainable Technology Board by the G20 (modeled after the Financial Stability Board) as a mechanism for coordination, cooperation, and scaling of SusTech solutions; (2) adopting policy and regulatory measures to help firms integrate SusTech solutions into value chains, including drawing from 11 concrete, actionable options; and (3) illustrating opportunity and inspiring replication by examples of firms already adopted SusTech solutions.
16 Research Showcase Environmental Policy and Sustainability E. Doran, J. Golden, K. Matus, L. Lebel, V. Timmer, M. van ‘t Zelfde & A. de Koning "The Emerging Role of Mega-Urban Regions in the Sustainability of Global Production-Consumption Systems." npj Urban Sustainability 3.1 (2023): 23. Mega-urban regions (MURs) are important consumers or traders of resources from or producers of wastes destined for the global hinterlands. This paper uses three cases to illustrate governance innovation in MUR-PCS interactions: industrial symbiosis in Tianjin, China; electricity production in London, the UK; and the adoption of standards and labels for seafood in Bangkok, Thailand. In London and Tianjin, waste capture reduced consumption of hinterland resources, whereas, in Bangkok, the aim was to improve the sustainability of resource use in coastal and marine hinterlands. The authors suggest an agenda for research to evaluate the potential for transferrable MUR governance innovation to enable sustainable and equitable PCSs. Wang, R., Hertwich, E. G., Fishman, T., Deetman, S., Behrens, P., Chen, W. Q., de Koning, A., Xu, M., Matus, K. Ward, H., & Zimmerman, J. B. (2023). The Legacy Environmental Footprints of Manufactured Capital. PNAS, 120(24), e2218828120. This paper integrates 50 years of economic and environmental data to provide the global legacy environmental footprint (LEF) and unveil the historical material extractions, greenhouse gas emissions, and health impacts accrued in today’s manufactured capital. It is shown that between 1995 and 2019, global LEF growth outpaced GDP and population growth, and the current high level of national capital stocks has been heavily relying on global supply chains in metals. The LEF shows a larger or growing gap between developed economies (DEs) and lessdeveloped economies (LDEs) while economic returns from global asset supply chains disproportionately flow to DEs, resulting in a double burden for LDEs. Ensuring best practices in asset production while prioritizing well-being outcomes is essential in addressing global inequalities and protecting the environment, and it requires a paradigm shift in sustainability science and policy to achieve this end.
17 Research Showcase Wang, X., Li, H., Wang, Y., & Zhao, X. (2023). Quantifying the Potential CoBenefit of Air Quality Improvement on Cultural Heritage in China. Sustainability, 15(11), 8709. Atmospheric pollutants corrode heritage materials, especially stone, causing a loss far beyond the economic losses of the degraded materials. Over the past decades, conventional air pollutants have been slashed owing to clean air actions in China, producing a significant co-benefit for heritage conservation. However, the benefits may be offset by increases in the photochemical oxidants in smog, such as ozone, which damage heritage materials. This study employed dose-response functions to quantify the impacts of air pollutants on the surface recession of the limestone of heritage structures in China, assessed the potential benefits of air quality improvement for heritage conservation, and provided evidence for the benefits of air quality improvement for heritage conservation, putting forward policy recommendations for heritage conservation, including assessing pollution risk, promoting heritage conservation through social sustainability, and implementing differentiated conservation strategies.
18 Research Showcase Social and Urban Policy He, A. J., Liu, P., Yumeng, F., & Liu, H. (2023). Sending Professors to the Field: Does FacultyPractitioner Exchange Narrow the Theory-Practice Gap in China’s MPA Programs? Journal of Asian Public Policy, 16(1), 96-113. This paper examines the micro-dynamics of such exchange in Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs in China where the gap was particularly wide. 13 faculty instructors in Chinese MPA programs with experience in government engagement were interviewed. It was found that the instructors were predominantly driven by a keen awareness of their weak real-world exposure. The government engagement experience boosted their self-efficacy when teaching in-service students, and the empathy developed between instructors and students augmented educational outcomes. The engagement service strengthened the faculty instructors’ awareness of the theory-practice gap and their appreciation of students’ needs. They became more cognizant of the usefulness of various theories and more capable of relating theory to practice. He, A. J., Qian, J., Chan, W. S., & Chou, K. L. (2023). Willingness to Purchase Hypothetical Private Long-Term Care Insurance Plans in a Super-ageing Society: Evidence from Hong Kong. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 1-26. This paper seeks to unravel the paradox of having soaring demand for long-term (LTC) services in aging societies on the one hand and the absence of a risk-pooling mechanism on the other through an empirical study in Hong Kong, a super-aging society. A survey sampled 1,105 respondents was conducted in 2020 to analyze middle-aged individuals’ willingness to purchase hypothetical private LTC insurance plans derived from a discrete choice experiment; clear barriers toward potential purchase have been identified in the study despite encouraging acceptance. It is found that the desire for self-sufficiency and preference for formal care powerfully increased individuals’ interest, but cognitive difficulty, habitual adherence to out-ofpocket payment, and unfamiliarity with the LTC insurance market reduced such interest. The results with reference to the changing social dynamics are explained, with policy implications for LTC reforms in Hong Kong and beyond drawn. Zhu, P., Wang, K., Ho, S. N. R., & Tan, X. (2023). How is Commute Mode Choice Related to Built Environment in a High-Density Urban Context? Cities, 134, 104180. This paper addresses the gap in mainstream studies that focus on the relationship between the built environment and travel behaviors in low-density urban settings by examining such relationships in highly dense urban settings, using Hong Kong as a case study. The findings highlight that built environment characteristics have a greater impact on people's choices among different public transport sub-modes compared to their choice between public transport and cars. Specifically, millennials are more influenced by built environment attributes when selecting rail-based and mixed-mode public transport, while older commuters are more influenced when choosing road-based transport. These results shed light on individuals' commuting mode preferences in transit-dominated urban contexts and provide a solid foundation for policymaking in encouraging the use of specific public transit sub-modes and catering to the needs of different age groups.
19 Research Showcase Zhu, P., Li, J., Wang, K., & Huang, J. (2023). Exploring Spatial Heterogeneity in the Impact of Built Environment on Taxi Ridership Using Multiscale Geographically Weighted Regression. Transportation, 1-35. This paper applies multiscale geographically weighted regression (MGWR) to investigate the associations between taxi ridership and spatial contexts to address the effects of spatial heterogeneity in the built environment on taxi passengers’ travel behaviours. The MGWR considerably improves modeling fit compared to the global OLS model by capturing the spatially varying processes at different scales. The results demonstrate the existence of strong spatial nonstationarity in the various built environment factors affecting the spatial distribution of taxi pick-ups and drop-offs. This study reveals the complex relationships between the built environment and the distribution of taxi ridership at different spatial scales and provides valuable insights for transport planning, taxi resource allocation, and urban governance. Wang, K., Chen, Z., Cheng, L., Zhu, P., Shi, J., & Bian, Z. (2023). Integrating Spatial Statistics a nd Machine Learning to Identify Relationships between E-Commerce and Distribution Facilities in Texas, US. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 173, 103696. This paper proposes a novel analytical framework that integrates spatial statistics and machine learning techniques to identify relationships between e-commerce and distribution facilities. The framework includes centro-graphic analysis, global and local spatial association measurements, and a recently popularized interpretable machine learning approach – gradient boosting decision trees (GBDT) – to analyze warehousing location choices. The GBDT results show that industrial activities and transportation network accessibility are key factors influencing warehousing location choices. It is also found that the relationship between warehouses and e-commerce establishments is weaker in Houston, a major maritime gateway for goods entering and leaving, compared to Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin. Implications for local freight transportation planners and decision-makers are discussed.
Featured Article Hong Kong at the Frontstage of the Atomic Age PPOL Nuclear Policy Expert Voiced in Media on Fukushima’s Discharge of Treated Wastewater and Warned against LongTerm- Environmental Impact of Nuclear Industry
21 On July 20th of this summer, the movie “Oppenheimer” was released in cinemas worldwide. Directed by Christopher Nolan, this film narrates the life and achievements of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, and it reminds the audience that humanity still lives with the aftermath of his creation: the promises of lowcarbon nuclear energy to mitigate global warming and the threat of total annihilation from a nuclear war. These formidable issues can only be addressed with approaches that combine bold policy ideas supported by strong technological insights. With its unique geographical position and relevance as a global center for ideas, Hong Kong and HKUST can be at the forefront of discussions on how humanity will deal with the legacy of the atom. Many people in Hong Kong might wonder what makes nuclear science and policy relevant in this city. The connection becomes clearer when one remembers that ¼ of the electricity consumed in Hong Kong comes from a nuclear reactor located on the mainland. Besides, with pressing objectives to decarbonize its electricity sector, Hong Kong is considering increasing the share of imported Hong Kong at the Frontstage of the Atomic Age nuclear electricity to more than 50%, making Hong Kong one of the most nuclear-dependent cities in the world. A look at the locations of nuclear power plants in the region also shows that Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area are surrounded by nuclear power plants, making the megalopolis all the more vulnerable to a nuclear accident. Finally, China is on course to become the world leader in nuclear technology, a shift that will bring fundamental changes to the nuclear industry and its practices worldwide. Whether it is to better prepare for a nuclear future domestically or to understand the changes to come for the global nuclear sector under Chinese leadership, Hong Kong and HKUST have a unique role to play in participating in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. As the movie “Oppenheimer” shows, nuclear technology confronts us with existential threats. The Doomsday clock indicates how close humanity is to a nuclear apocalypse, is now set 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been to the fatal hour. Most concerning for experts is the rising confrontation between China and the U.S. and the nuclear arms race they have engaged in. Many
22 Featured Article fears that a nuclear war between the two powers could be triggered by an accident during a clash in the South China Sea or near Taiwan. Nuclear arms control treaties and exchanges between nuclear experts from rival states have been crucial in the past to mitigate the risks of nuclear conflicts. However, there has been an alarming collapse of nuclear arms control frameworks and a shutdown of communication between nuclear experts from China and the U.S. in recent years. Hong Kong is geographically located at the doorstep of possible military conflicts between the U.S. and China and cannot escape the deadly impacts of such clashes. Yet, the city has a compelling asset that it can leverage to contribute to preventing these nightmarish outcomes. Hong Kong can help restore the vital connections between nuclear experts and act as a platform where they can discuss policy frameworks to reduce the risks of a nuclear conflict between the two countries. The city of Hong Kong has a responsibility to its people and the world to work toward avoiding a nuclear war between the two rivals. About the Author Prof. Julien de Troullioud de Lanversin Prof. Julien de Troullioud de Lanversin is Assistant Professor in the Division of Public Policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, he received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Princeton University. Prof. de Troullioud de Lanversin’s scholarship combines technical solutions and policy analysis to address the dangers of nuclear technologies while promoting its peaceful use as low-carbon energy. He is interested in nuclear energy’s role in decarbonizing the electricity sector in Hong Kong and China while addressing public concerns over safety issues. Prof. de Troullioud de Lanversin also works toward understanding and addressing the risks of nuclear war, especially in the context of the U.S.-China rivalry. Together with the academic community at HKUST, he is striving to place Hong Kong at the front stage of discussions on how the atom will impact humanity’s future. Left: J. Robert Oppenheimer with a snapshot of a nuclear explosion cloud Right: Daya Bay Nuclear Plant of the Guangdong Province
23 Nuclear Policy Expert in Media PPOL Nuclear Policy Expert Voiced in Media on Fukushima’s Discharge of Treated Wastewater and Warned against LongTerm-Environmental Impact of Nuclear Industry Nuclear scientist and policy expert Prof. Julien de Troullioud de Lanversin of PPOL has recently gained media attention for his scientific and policy insight on Fukushima’s discharge of treated wastewater, the long-term environmental impact generated by the nuclear industry, and his view on Hong Kong citizens’ purchase and use of commercial radiation detectors. Prof. de Troullioud de Lanversin voiced in his article “Fukushima Waste Water Release: How Mainland China and Hong Kong Got it Wrong” in South China Morning Post that the recent seafood ban is based on unfounded fear of treated wastewater discharged from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant; what should be of real concern but failed to address are the issues of low public acceptance of nuclear
24 Nuclear Policy Expert in Media technology, and the impact of the nuclear industry’s long-term use of the environment to dispose of radioactive waste. Read the SCMP article here: https://bit.ly/3ZkbEZV In a recent interview with TVB News, Prof. de Troullioud de Lanversin stated that there are no better alternatives for handling the wastewater, such as the evaporation or burial of the wastewater underground as proposed by other parties, because in evaporation, the particles of tritium are going to stay in the air, likely the upper part of the atmosphere, and there is no guarantee that it would not spread and penetrate to the populated areas in China, Japan, South Korea, and elsewhere. By burying the wastewater underground, it will leak and contaminate the land of the entire region in case of an earthquake. As regards the Hong Kong citizens’ purchase of radiation detectors, Prof. de Troullioud de Lanversin suggested during a Now TV News interview that the current radiation level (1.9 Sv/h) measured around 10km away from the Fukushima nuclear plant as read on those commercial radiation detectors will only become dangerous if someone exposes to the dose continuously for a duration of at least ten months to 1 year. Only a nuclear professional is capable of interpreting those readings on the radiation detectors. Therefore, he does not recommend Hong Kong citizens to use these devices and draw conclusions from the readings. He assured that the radiation levels monitored by Hong Kong and Japanese governments are more accurate than those by commercial devices. TVB and Now TV News interviewed Prof. Julien de Troullioud de Lanversin on his views on the Fukushima nuclear plant’s discharge of wastewater and the purchase of radiation detectors by Hong Kong citizens
Public Policy Dialogue Series Hong Kong and the World: Still Connected and Valued Internationally? Education and Science: Does STEM Education Matter in Hong Kong’s Move into an Innovation and Technology Hub?
26 Public Policy Dialogue Series Hong Kong and the World: Still Connected and Valued Internationally? On February 11, 2023, the Policy Dialogues Series invited an esteemed panel of speakers Professor Anthony B. L. Cheung, GBS, JP, Chair Professor of Public Administration at EdUHK and former Secretary for Transport and Housing in the HKSAR Government; Professor Tai-lok Lui, JP, Chair Professor of Hong Kong Studies at the Department of Asian and Policy Studies and Director of the Academy of Hong Kong Studies at EdUHK; and Mr. Brian Wong, a Rhodes Scholar and DPhil candidate in Politics at Oxford University, who is also the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Political Review. The discussion was expertly moderated by Professor Kira Matus from the Division of Public Policy at HKUST to discuss the topic "Hong Kong and the World: Still Connected and Valued Internationally?" Prof. Cheung initiated this dialogue series by posing two thought-provoking questions: firstly, is Hong Kong returning to a world that is as friendly and appreciative as it once was? And secondly, do Hong Kong people possess unwavering confidence in the city's future and its impact on the global stage? Prof. Cheung then proceeded to delve into the historical narrative of Hong Kong, highlighting its post-WWII success and its unique role as a result of its historical and geopolitical positioning. He emphasized how Hong Kong served as a buffer zone between the US and China during the decline of the British Empire and the rise of Pan-Americana. Furthermore, he discussed Hong Kong's interconnectedness with both the Western camp and China during China's early reform in the 1980s and 1990s. The remarkable economic success of Hong Kong was evident as being one of the Four Asian Tigers in the 1980s and was hailed by Time Magazine in early 2008 as the "Ny-lon-kong." HK
27 Public Policy Dialogue Series However, Prof. Cheung astutely observed that since the late 2010s, there has been rising hostility within Sino-American relations. With the termination of the Hong Kong Policy Act and the passing of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act in July 2020, Prof. Cheung noted that Hong Kong has transformed from a buffer zone to a hotspot in US-China relations. Consequently, Hong Kong has suffered collateral damage in the deteriorating relationship between the two superpowers verging on the New Cold War. Prof. Cheung lamented that Hong Kong, once the epitome of the "Best-of-Both-Worlds," now finds itself in an unflattering situation. While acknowledging Hong Kong's significant challenges in maintaining its status, Prof. Cheung adopted a philosophical perspective, asserting that no great world city is immune to decline. He drew upon historical examples of once-great cities such as Venice, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Liverpool, and Detroit, all of which have experienced varying degrees of decline. In Prof. Cheung's view, there is no reason why Hong Kong should be an exception. He emphasized that Hong Kong's strategic value has always been its role as an interconnection between China and the rest of the world. Approaching the question of internationalization, Prof. Lui cautioned against complacency, highlighting the distinction between regional headquarters, regional offices, and local offices. He presented data indicating that while the number of local offices has been increasing, regional headquarters and regional offices have reached a plateau and have been declining in recent years. Furthermore, when comparing the composition of regional headquarters from 30 years ago to present figures, Prof. Lui noted a significant decrease in the dominance of US regional headquarters and those from other Western countries, with mainland Chinese companies taking their place. According to Prof. Lui, the status of Hong Kong in the eyes of the world is shaped by evolving international relations and geopolitics. He emphasized the need to find ways to enhance Hong Kong's relinking with the world, while acknowledging the advantage of its institutional depth. Mr. Brian Wong asserted that Hong Kong's competitiveness faces its greatest risk in its inability to adapt to a post-Covid and post-Sino-US rivalry geopolitical landscape. He cautioned against the extremes of those wishing to transform Hong Kong into just another mainland Chinese city. Conversely, Mr. Wong advocated for a departure from binary dichotomies when examining the world, urging us to transcend the limitations of a nation-state mentality. Prof. Matus, on the other hand, encouraged us to have faith in the people and culture of Hong Kong. She expressed optimism about Hong Kong's future and urged us to appreciate the vibrant and unique elements that distinguish Hong Kong from any other place in the world. 28 Jan 2008 Time Magazine Cover
28 Public Policy Dialogue Series Education and Science: Does STEM Education Matter in Hong Kong’s Move into an Innovation and Technology Hub? On March 18, 2023, the fifth Public Policy Dialogue Series invited Professor Anthony B. L. Cheung, GBS, JP, Chair Professor of Public Administration at EdUHK, former president of EdUHK and Secretary for Transport and Housing; Professor Tai-lok Lui, JP, Chair Professor of Hong Kong Studies at the Department of Asian and Policy Studies and Director of the Academy of Hong Kong Studies at EdUHK; Professor Naubahar Sharif, esteemed authority on Innovation and Technology Policy, Acting Head and Professor of the Division of Public Policy at HKUST. The panel was moderated by Professor Peter T. Y. Cheung, Head and Professor of Practice in the Department of Social Science at EdUHK. The dialogue focused on STEM education and its role in propelling Hong Kong towards becoming an innovation and technology hub. Prof. A. Cheung opened the Dialogue Series by stating the objectives of science education and the prominence of innovation and technology in national policies, and drew figures from worldwide studies to illustrate the rapidly changing labor market and structure, Prof. A. Cheung deduced that what is important is not the specific skills, techniques or knowledge, but how to nurture the critical mind. He advocated a stronger government role in reshaping the innovation and technology ecosystem, and fostering collaboration among government, industry, and universities stating that innovation should be collective and not just depend on university research alone. Prof. A. Cheung emphasized the significance of the human mind and its capacity for adaptation, reflection, and invigoration, referring to these qualities as the Newton spirit.
29 Public Policy Dialogue Series Prof. A. Cheung prompted educators to reflect on their approach to education, emphasizing the importance of imparting knowledge and wisdom. He argued against a dichotomy between science and arts, stating that both stem from liberal arts and that education should focus on understanding nature, human society, and humanhood, instead of just skills and knowledge. He acknowledged that perennial problems such as conflicts, violence and prejudice cannot be solved solely through innovation and technology (I&T). Prof. Sharif agrees with Prof. A. Cheung pointed out that STEM education is related to the need to maintain economic competitiveness or the “lever for riches”, but the challenge lies in the tendency for STEM subjects taught in isolation, with insufficient connection to Arts and not being helpful to make the world a better place. Prof. Sharif delineated the history of STEM in other countries and made a comparison, he advocated for a broader societal context for STEM education, referencing the Humboldt Model of Higher Education. Prof. Lui perceived that STEM or STEAM education would be quite demanding on the teaching skills without premanufactured teaching materials, and its demand on knowledge integration moving from one domain of knowledge to another, Prof. Lui invited us to rethink the necessity of STEM education suggesting that talents can be hired from elsewhere and warned the inevitable time-lapse in nurturing future STEM talents to address existing issues, he proposed a business ecosystem that rewarding and incentivizing innovation without seeking shortterm returns is key for Hong Kong to become a successful I&T hub. During the discussion session, Prof. A. Cheung posed three questions: the possibility of innovation without STEM, the necessary ecosystem for nonSTEM individuals, and whether I&T can sometimes limit wisdom. Prof. Sharif’s suggested that other channels can contribute to Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem and expressed the same skeptism as Prof. Lui about the necessity to have Hong Kong’s own STEM talents. Prof. Lui added that innovation should not be restricted to hardware; focusing too much on STEM can restrict our imagination. Prof. P. Cheung emphasized that the ecosystem is a result of various factors that the government cannot easily manipulate. He stressed the importance of critical thinking and freedom of expression for creativity and exploration of ideas. In response to a question about STEM branding, Prof. Sharif suggested customizing STEM or STEAM education to make it relevant and applicable, building on the characteristics that have made Hong Kong successful as a first-world city.
Conference and Events PPOL Hosted the Asia Pacific Public Policy Network Conference PPOL Hosted Book Launch on “How Covid-19 Took Over the World: Lessons for the Future” PPOL Visit to IPE in HKUST (GZ) Campus
31 Conference and Events PPOL Hosted the Asia Pacific Public Policy Network Conference The Division of Public Policy (PPOL) has successfully hosted the 8th annual Asia Pacific Public Policy Network (AP|PPN) Conference on 1 and 2 June 2023. It is the second time that PPOL has hosted the conference, and this year’s theme is “Public Policy in a Turbulent World” inviting experts across multiple disciplines from different parts of the world to talk about public policy issues in a post-pandemic world. The 2-day AP|PPN conference consisted of 2 keynote speeches, 1 panel conversation, 6 workshops, and 130 sessional talks. Professor Naubahar Sharif delivered the AP|PPN opening speech Professor Xun Wu delivering welcome speech Keynote Speech by Professor Roger A. Pielke Jr. Prof. Pielke Jr. delivering the keynote speech on Day 1 of AP|PPN Conference Prof. Pielke Jr. who authored the book “Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics” and a few other books on climate change and politics is currently professor in environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, he gave a keynote speech for the AP-PPN conference on the topic “Science Advise in the Covid-19 pandemic” which is public policy research beyond Covid itself, Prof. Pielke Jr. started the keynote by giving definitions to science, expert, policy, politics, and politicization of science, the politicization of science should be encouraged according to Prof. Pielke Jr.. He stated that there are four roles that experts can The AP|PPN is a flagship conference in the Asia Pacific region for public policy scholars. The AP|PPN began with the opening remarks given by Professor Naubahar Sharif, Acting Head and Professor of PPOL, and Professor Xun Wu, Professor of the Trust of Innovation, Policy and Entrepreneurship, at the Society Hub, HKUST (GZ), and a member of the steering committee of AP|PPN, gave the welcome speech.
Four idealized roles for scientists in decision-making (Source: “The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Policy and Politics” by R. A. Pielke Jr.) 32 Conference and Events Prof. Gietel-Basten delivering the keynote speech on Day 2 of the AP|PPN Conference play in policy advising, as shown in the figure below, and whatever advice given towards decision-making is policy advice, whether it is science advice, expert advice, or political advice. Professor Pielke Jr. gave some famous examples of advisory mechanisms, namely science, expert, political, and policy advice, and presented his research results under the context of Covid-19 pandemic. The Emergency of Science Advice in a Pandemic Emergency (EScAPE) of Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, and Japan during the Covid-19 pandemic were compared in his presentation, and examples of countries or regions that neglected (the US) or those that failed to incorporate expert advice (the UK, Japan, Italy, Hong Kong) can be generally be interpreted as a policy failure, followed by a comparison of how countries balance between economic growth and control of the Covid-19 pandemic, examples include the US, Dutch (the shadow advisory), the UK, Italy. Prof. Pielke emphasized that policy requires integration, not different islands of expertise. The concepts of shadow science advice, adversarial governance, stealth advocacy, and misplaced accountability were explained. Keynote Speech by Professor Stuart Gietel-Basten Prof. Gietel-Basten, Professor in social science and public policy at HKUST, author of the book “Why Demography Matters?” gave his keynote on “Is Demographic ‘Crisis’ an Inevitable Consequence of the Development Welfare State?” He pointed out the challenge posed by low fertility and the failure of two-dimensional pronatalist policies suggesting that the governments in Asia fail to address the fundamental and multidimensional causes of low fertility. Prof. Gietel-Basten presented the possible socio-theoretical reasons behind the low fertility rate: compressed modernity and the accelerated pace of changes in Asia as compared with Europe; clash of ideologies across generations; risks placed on the new generations’ shoulders arising out of the transition from family/ community collective to individual responsibility; inadequate social cushioning during the transition to compressed modernity; the work no.1 obligation; predominant strength of political and industrial authority; the compounding effect of education fever without enough familyraising support; lack of incentive to support people in work; the existential threat due to persistent gender inequalities, the dualization of the labor market, etc.. Looking forward to the future regarding this issue, Prof. Gietel-Basten suggested that there should be inclusive family policy responsive to the changes in the world, and to accelerate the gender attitudinal shift with zero tolerance for gender-based violence and discrimination. A social protection system should be set up early.
33 Conference and Events Panel conversation reflecting on policy lessons learned from the Covid pandemic Panel Conversation between Prof. Benjamin J. Cowling and Ms. Diana Jou On day two of the AP|PPN Conference, we also had a panel conversation session between Prof. Benjamin J. Cowling, Chair of Epidemiology and Division Head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong, and Diana Jou, seasoned journalist and Lecturer of HKU Journalism and Media on Covid-19 pandemic under the topic of “Looking Ahead: Rebalancing Policy Response and Science Advice for Better Crisis Preparedness” that reflected on the important issues during the Covid-19 pandemic and important lessons learned from a public health point of view, such as contact tracing, vaccine controversy and interesting research findings, vaccination hesitancy, public healthcare during Covid, science advice and conspiracy theory in other parts of the world, and more.
34 Conference and Events PPOL Hosted Book Launch on “How Covid-19 Took Over the World: Lessons for the Future” In March 2023, the Division of Public Policy (PPOL) hosted a book launch for “How Covid-19 Took Over the World: Lessons for the Future” two weeks after the Hong Kong government lifted all mandatory mask-wearing requirements. As the Covid-19 pandemic has swept the world for more than three years, reflecting on the lessons learned at this critical juncture was very timely. We invited the editor and contributing author of the book, Prof. Christine Loh, SBS, JP, OBE, Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, Chief Development Strategist of HKUST; Prof. Hualing Fu, Warren Chan Professor of Human Rights and Responsibilities and Dean of the HKU Faculty of Law, contributing author of the book and keynote speaker of the book launch; Prof. Xiangwei Wang, Associate Professor of Practice at HKBU, former Editor-in-Chief of SCMP, and award-winning journalist as discussant for Prof. Fu’s chapter; Prof. Richard Cullen, Visiting Professor at HKU Law School, contributing author of the book; and Prof. Richard Fielding, psychologist at the Division of Behavioral Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU as discussant for Prof. Cullen’s chapter. Prof. Alex Jingwei He, Associate Professor of PPOL, HKUST served as the MC of the book talk, and Professor Naubahar Sharif, Acting Head and Professor of PPOL, HKUST as the moderator of the panel discussion session. Prof. Christien Loh first introduced how the book “How Covid-19 Took Over the World: Lessons for the Future” came about, tracing to the precursor of the book “At the Epicentre: Hong Kong and the SARS Outbreak” on SARS published in 2004 and gave an overview of the issues and topics addressed in the book about Covid, the book has paid particular attention to adding to the existing knowledge by looking at issues that had been neglected and emphasized the articulation of what happened in Greater China during the pandemic. The book’s first eight chapters serve as background to the neglected issues, with the second half of the book, i.e. Ch. 9-Ch. 13 gives the government’s response to Covid, such as the speakers’ chapters, Prof. Hualing Fu on mainland China’s response to Covid-19 (“Pandemic Control in China’s Gated Communities”), and a chapter about Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Singapore’s response to Covid (“The Hong Kong From the left: Prof. Xiangwei Wang, Prof. Hualing Fu, Prof. Christine Loh, Prof. Richard Cullen, Prof. Naubahar Sharif, Prof. Alex Heebookshelf.hkust.edu.hk