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Public Policy Research - Layman summaries of projects funded in 2012/2013 (10th Round)

CityU 1013-PPR-12
Preventing Financial Crimes against Older People for Building a Safe and Secure Community
PI: Dr Jessica Chi Mei LI

Financial crimes against older people have emerged in Asia in places like Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and it is likely to become a concern in the affluent cities of Mainland China (e.g., Shanghai) in the years to come. This study examined older citizens' and community stakeholders' perceptions of and preferences for the prevention of financial fraud against elderly population in Chinese contexts using data from survey interviews with 1,061 elderly people in six focus groups and with 45 stakeholders. This study is one of the first to use both qualitative and quantitative data to describe and explain the patterns of this specific type of crime in Hong Kong. Results of the study are important in three respects. First, theoretically, the results of the study support the assumptions of the routine approach in its explanation for fraud crime in a Chinese society. Second, practically, it helps to shed some light to guide the formulation of measures for preventing this specific type of crime. Third, it has enhanced the awareness of different community stakeholders about this crime problem and may thus help to facilitate future crime prevention policy for an aging society.

CUHK4006-PPR-12
Transitioning to Post-secondary Education or Work?: A Two-Wave Panel Study of Effects of Career Orientation, Parental Alignment, and Social Strain on Hong Kong's Senior High School Students
PI: Prof Nicole Wai-ting CHEUNG

The study focuses on why some high school students encounter difficulties during the transition to post-secondary education and are left with meager labor market opportunities in the increasingly precarious, bumpy transition from youth to adulthood. To answer this question, we move beyond the typical predictors of family socioeconomic background and academic performance to address how adolescents' career orientation, parental alignment with adolescents in occupational and educational orientations, social strain in adolescents' life, and their interaction during high school years serve as antecedents to their paths after high school graduation (the paths to post-secondary education, work, or unemployment). Data of the study were collected from 918 Chinese students once at Secondary 5 and once after graduation. Three major findings emerged from the study. First, we found that career-specific parent support during high school years are most predictive of students' enrollment in sub-degree or degree programmes, whereas students with stronger intrinsic work values (a facet of career orientation) are significantly less likely to be unemployed after graduation. Second, we found the salience of career-specific parent support in enhancing the enrollment in post-secondary studies and developing adolescent career orientation after high school graduation. Third, the adverse impact of social strain encountered by the students on their interest in post-secondary studies and career orientation can be long-term in nature.

CUHK 4017-PPR-12
The Workforce and Professionalism of Film/Video Makers in Hong Kong: Youth, Industry, and Community-Building
PI: Prof Lai-kwan PANG

We must expand our understanding of Hong Kong cinema: it is no longer the commercially driven industry churning out hundreds of standard featured length genre films as we saw in the twentieth century. Instead, the Hong Kong young people are redrawing the filmscape of Hong Kong completely, and they introduce new forms, new concerns, and new ways of making films. We must understand that cinema is no longer just entertainment, but it is also arts pertained to community building. It is this ability in community formation that is most precious about this new phase of Hong Kong cinema. There are currently a lot of energies building up in the independent circles, which might be consolidated and benefited the local commercial filmmaking one day. But we must allow the independent film culture to develop along its own tracjectory, and the role of the government is to support it instead of guide it.

CUHK 4021-PPR-12
Perspectives on cancer preventive services for ethnic minorities: implications for service needs and utilisation
PI: Prof Winnie Kwok-wei SO

The study aims to assess the use of cancer preventive services by ethnic minority populations in Hong Kong, identify barriers that may affect the use of such services and provide policy-makers with recommendations to improve access to them for this population. The findings showed that the uptake of various cancer screening tests among ethnic minorities was extremely low, half that of the general population. Factors associated with screening uptake were employment status, household income, family history of cancer, regular visits to a doctor for general health purposes, and utilisation of complementary medicine. The four main barriers to cancer screening services were: health literacy, language, access to information on health and cancer preventive services, and cultural issues. The findings of the study provide an in-depth understanding of the actual health needs of ethnic minority populations in Hong Kong. Apart from socio-economic factors that may be associated with cancer screening uptake, elements hindering equity of care should also be taken into consideration. To improve screening rates and access to preventive services, future research should focus on the effectiveness of interventions to upgrade knowledge about cancer and its prevention among ethnic minorities, and to enhance effective communication between them and healthcare professionals.

PolyU 5001-PPR-12
Evaluating the Economic, Social, and Cultural Impacts of Revitalizing Industrial Buildings in Hong Kong
PI: Prof Albert Ping-chuen CHAN

The research on "Evaluating the Economic, Social, and Cultural Impacts of Revitalizing Industrial Buildings in Hong Kong" aims to identify the effects of the revitalizing industrial buildings, which includes converting industrial buildings into other uses or redeveloping into new types of building. The research is meaningful because the government policy affects the society. The research identifies the difficulties that are encountered during implementation and let the public knows the effects of revitalizing industrial buildings on the society, different trades and the general public. These findings can help the government to review the effects of the policy on the economic, social and cultural aspects. How would the living standard be upgraded? Are there any substantial benefits to the society? The research also suggested recommendations to the government so the government can revise the policy to benefit the public at large.

PolyU 5002-PPR-12
Framework for implementing the Transfer Development Rights in the Conservation of privately owned built heritage
PI: Prof Edwin Hon-wan CHAN

The study has summarized the challenges of TDR in Hong Kong. Through a proposed framework, the study has identified seven key successful criteria for TDR. The seven criteria closely associated with TDR program success, are political acceptability, TDR leadership, public support, social equity, simplicity, market incentive and environment. Most importantly, each criterion is evaluated against two or three determinants to ensure the framework can be operated with effectiveness and specificity. TDR as an appropriate economic incentive is one of the effective ways to conserve privately owned built heritage based on market economy rather than using government's limited public funding to compensate the land owners. The framework helps government to consider the successful factors systematically in formulating the appropriate economic incentives for TDR. It helps to balance the tension between development and conservation without impinging extensive financial burden on the government.

PolyU5007-PPR-12
How to implement corporate codes of ethics in the Hong Kong construction companies in order to nurture a professional workforce
PI: Dr Christabel Man Fong HO

The aim of this study is to develop an approach for implementing and assessing corporate codes of ethics in the Hong Kong construction companies towards an enhanced ethical behaviour. Demand for corporate codes of ethics is on the increase as response to corporate scandal among organizations. This study contributes to existing knowledge in this research direction by identifying barriers to ethical code implementation for practitioners to plan ahead in order to minimize potential consequences. The outcome of the study is quite significant since it highlights obstacles related to management and organization, planning and monitoring as well as value and interest within construction domain. The study should therefore attract the attention of construction organizations to give special consideration to these factors in order to establish an action based strategy capable of providing value added solutions.

The findings and the model developed are of managerial interest because the model presented a grounded framework that reveals the areas that need careful consideration to ensure effective ethical codes implementation, which can be used in the assessment and improvement of company's engagement with ethics. Moreover, the model can enable practitioners to device an appropriate deliberate intent to focus on strategic governance of their organizations.

PolyU 5011-PPR-12
Addressing Privacy and Societal Concerns in the Usage of Emerging Biometrics and Data Protection Technologies
PI: Dr Ajay KUMAR

The benefits from the large-scale deployment of biometrics and data protection technologies in public security applications are not only constrained by the technological limitations but have also raised privacy concerns. The successful use of smart Hong Kong identity cards has provided a model for the effective deployment of biometrics and data protection technologies for the larger benefit of citizens in e-business, e-governance and high speed border crossings. While the biometrics systems are considered to be sensitive, similar to other personal data, concerns relating to ethics, privacy and policy on the dual-usage of such data are increasingly debated in Hong Kong. This project has made significant steps to study policy implications from the emerging biometrics and social networking technologies. This project also made significant step forward in advancing the development of privacy-preserving biometrics technologies and the anti-spoofing technologies to preserve the integrity of widely deployed biometrics technologies. The recommendations from this study and developed algorithms from this research were also published in the three international conference papers (with one of them winning best paper award).

PolyU 5017-PPR-12
Beyond eco-labeling: Embedding green supply chain management practices in apparel trade
PI: Dr Christina Wing-yan WONG

This research project generate insights into GSCMP by revealing the various performance impacts of the key dimensions of GSCMP, including governance mechanisms, green service support, green service delivery, environmentally conscious manufacturing, and product stewardship. The research findings also provide insights into the value of integration and environmental management systems in affecting the performance outcomes of GSCMP.

HKIEd 7005-PPR-12
Poverty of Children Living in Immigrant Families
PI: Prof Kee Lee CHOU

The children living in immigrant families have been neglected in our study of poverty in Hong Kong. This research fills this important gap because immigrants from the mainland are and will continue to be the most important source of population growth in Hong Kong, now and in the coming decades, respectively. Our findings demonstrate that child poverty rate is two times greater for those who are living in immigrant families than those who are living in local families. Although we have found that the increasing trend of child poverty in immigrant families has been slowed down in the past decade, the child poverty risk is still very high, i.e. one third of children living in immigrant families are living in poverty. Therefore, both income support and early intervention must be devised and provided to this particular vulnerable group so that the intergenerational poverty cycle in immigrant families could be broken off. Future studies must be conducted to further investigate the impact of poverty on these children and the associated underlying mechanisms as well as the socio, economic, and cultural integration of children living in immigrant families.

HKU 7014-PPR-12
Purchasing Sex, Consuming Love? A Qualitative Study of Hong Kong Men Who Buy Sex
PI: Dr Travis Shiu Ki KONG

This is the first qualitative sociological study to understand the motivations and the experiences of Hong Kong men who buy sex. The research investigates three main areas (1) the trajectory of the client's involvement with commercial sex with the key question of why they bought sex, (2) client-worker relationship with the key question of what exactly they bought; and (3) commercial sex and the law with the key question of what kind of experience they have had (if any) with the criminal justice system. During the period of 2012-2014, the research team successfully in-depth interviewed 40 such men and conducted four focus groups. Through a sociological investigation of men who buy sex, this research gives insights to understand the changing nature of Chinese masculinity and male sexuality, the meaning of love and sex in relationship formation, the role of intimacy in commercial and non-commercial relationships, and the corresponding health, emotional, sexual and legal risks involved in commercial sex in contemporary Hong Kong society. The findings of this research inform policymakers, NGOs and other concerned parties in formulating safer sex programmes and gender sensitive social services for men's well-being as well as rethinking the laws governing prostitution which strike the balance between public order and personal health and safety.

HKU 7018-PPR-12
The New Fine-Tuned Medium of Instruction Policy in Hong Kong: Analysis of Policy Interpretation and Local Implementation Practices
PI: Dr Angel Mei Yi LIN

This research is a small-scale descriptive study to find out about how the new fine-tuned medium of instruction policy can be interpreted and implemented in three broad types of schools based on their banding (1, 2, 3)-i.e. their general academic standards. The research employs in-depth case studies to provide thick ethnographic descriptions of the emerging modes of practices through which local school participants enact the official policy within the parameters set by the government and the constraints / resources of their own school settings. This research's value thus lies in generating hypotheses about prototypical patterns of local policy enactment that varies with the different configurations of constraints and resources found in these three types of schools. Of significance is the initial finding that while the policy tends to be more or less well-adjusted to by band 1 and band 3 schools, a conflicting set of hopes, dilemmas, anxieties and desires is likely to be experienced by band 2 school participants, and they are likely to respond to the official policy with innovative, complex, intricate, local policy enactment models. Future research needs to focus on the sources of these models and their long-term educational impact on local school participants.

HKU 7026-PPR-12
Columbarium Development: Public Transport Policy Implications
PI: Dr Wai Yuen SZETO

This project aims to examine the travel behavior related to columbarium trips, develop models and solution methods to estimate the transport demand generated by columbaria, develop a methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of different public transport policies induced from columbaria, and propose possible public transport arrangements, especially for Grave-sweeping Festivals, for columbaria. This project provides tools and recommendations for the government to make public transport policy decisions associated with columbaria, to which the extraordinary high travel demand is often attracted within a relative short period around the festivals. This project helps the government in answering the policy questions regarding which public transport mode should be chosen for providing services to columbaria and whether and how to privatize the related public transport services. It also helps the government in determining the future feasible venues of columbarium facilities. This project also opens up a theoretically difficult and practically important research topic on making public transport policy decisions in response to columbarium development.

HKU 7030-PPR-12
A study on suicide news reporting ecology in Hong Kong and Taiwan: accuracy, stereotyping and mutual causation
PI: Prof Paul S. F. YIP

The project aimed to investigate how the press in HK and TW reports suicide news, how the media reports influence suicide incidences, and how the reports interact with each other and form the media ecology, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. As far as we know, this is the first comprehensive investigation on such topics in HK and TW. The research findings provide empirical evidence of the press' problematic practices in reporting suicide news, and negative impacts from such practices. On the other hand, the project also explores how the media can report suicide news more responsibly and possibly contribute to suicide prevention. As suicide rates in both HK and TW remain relatively high, the project's findings contribute to understanding and tackling suicide problems with insights from the media's perspective.

We have managed to engage the media professionals and press council of Hong Kong to promote responsible media reporting in Hong Kong and the Centre has been one of the strategic stakeholders and a hub for media research on suicide in Asia and internationally

HKU 7032-PPR-12
Digital Divide in Education: An Experiential Understanding
PI: Dr Hoi Kau YUEN

In responding to the challenges of ICT development, many countries have already launched policies on information technology in education. Students are now engaging with a range of new and rapidly changing technology tools for their formal and informal learning. However, are all students receiving adequate access to information and communications technologies?

Numerous research and studies have looked into the promise and potential of using ICT in education, however, particular attention should be paid to the issues of the digital equity in education. We see the digital equity in education should not be only constructed as an issue of technical support or resource distribution. Unpacking the social and cultural dynamics of how students use digital technology in and outside school is important. Key questions to be examined in the study include:

1. How do students use ICT in school and at home?
2. Do some students have too much access? Or too little?
3. How do the school factors and parental mediations influence students' ICT use?
4. Are all students receiving adequate access to ICT? What are the challenges for the digitally disadvantaged students in ICT use?
5. What are the recommendations that we can make to policy-makers, schools, and parents?

HKIEd 8005-PPR-12
Engagement of Immigrant and Minority Students with Schools and Civil Society
PI: Dr Celeste Yuet-mui YUEN

The primary aim of this PPR project was to increase public understanding of the nature of school and civil engagement of young immigrant and mainstream students in Hong Kong secondary schools. Our sample mainly comprised ethnic South Asians, Chinese new immigrants and cross-boundary students and their mainstream peers. There has been much social discussion on the disadvantaged social conditions of South Asian and Chinese immigrant students. But there has not been parallel research attention paid to these issues. Education is often seen as a social leveler especially for the socially disadvantaged. The nature and extent of the engagement of minority and immigrant students with their schools and civic society are important indicators of social inclusion policy.

Hence this project provided a systematic measurement of the extent and nature of school and civic engagement of these students. The dissemination of our findings via conference and publications has provided practical policy recommendations. To this end, it has addressed the identified knowledge gap. Because this was the first known attempt of its kind and some of the shared findings have already attracted much public attention for policy consideration.