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Case Development Program

Case Library

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy
Environmental Policy and Sustainability
Social Changes and Policy
China’s Development Policy
Crisis Management
  • Cyberport: Hong Kong’s Business Park Or Residential Area?
    Rebecca ISJWARA


    Located in Southern District of Hong Kong, Cyberport is a huge infrastructure project comprising a digital technology industrial park, office buildings, a hotel, and an entertainment complex. In 1999, the government announced its plan to build Cyberport to help local businesses to capitalize on the rapid development of the Internet. It was meant to provide both local and international businesses an ecosystem for digital technologies such as FinTech, esports, AI, blockchain and cybersecurity. This was seen as an opportunity to diversify Hong Kong’ economic structure where finance and real estate dominate. Pacific Century Group (PCG) completed the project in 2004 and transferred the title completely to the government in exchange for an adjacent land for luxury housing development which was finished in 2008. However, almost two decades on, there is public scepticism as to whether the project has attained its original intention or it has turned mainly into a residential and commercial development.


    Learning Objective

    This case provides students a basic knowledge of the controversies surrounding the Cyberport project. They are expected to reflect on the extent to which the Cyberport project has succeeded or failed by examining its current operations vis-à-vis original intent. They can also discuss how policymaking can be better carried out and/or what can be done going forward to improve the project’s effectiveness.

  • Dilemmas in Social Restrictions and Isolation Policies Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
    CHAN Ying Tung

    Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rapidly spreading across the world since its first discovery in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Following the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, countries across the world have implemented various control strategies and social distancing measures to slow the spread of this disease, and Hong Kong is no exception. Hong Kong is highly susceptible to disease outbreaks given its high population density and high infrastructural and social connectivity with mainland China. The government has been dealing COVID-19 with the implementation of social distancing and quarantine measures of varying strictness since the beginning of 2020. However, these restrictions have taken a toll on the psychological well-being of various groups such as medical professionals, vulnerable individuals, students, and the general public. This impact on mental health has generated significant debate if Hong Kong’s COVID-19 control measures are correctly calibrated. Infection management and containment strategies are unequivocally crucial in controlling the pandemic, but concerns about adverse psychological and neuropsychiatric effects of isolation and social distancing measures are also justified. Against this background, this case study examines the challenges of balancing the need for strict social distancing and quarantine restrictions for infection control against their adverse effects on psychological well-being. Students reading this case study are expected to draw on their own experiences, appreciate different perspectives both local and international, and explore how they would deal with the policy challenges discussed.

  • The China-US Trade War
    Winkie WONG


    The full-blown trade war between the world's two largest economies- the United States and China has been rumbling along for months. The US has accused China of its unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft in the technology industry while China, in turn, believes that the States is attempting to curb its ascent in the global economy. Consequently, the trade war is not only about imposing tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods but also exacting restrictions on technology flows and demanding intellectual property protection in China. Despite the on-going negotiations between two sides and a preliminary deal signed in January 2020, the trade war seems to have no end due to the unsolved thorniest issues. Uncertainties brought by the US-China tensions will continue to have impacts on businesses and weight on the global economy.


    Learning Objective

    This case presents the events and causes that that led to the US-China trade war, as well as the impacts of the conflict on the global economy. Students are expected to reflect upon the policies implemented by both sides and consider what appropriate directions and strategies they should adopt to reach a compromise and manage the conflict.

  • One Belt One Road Scholarships
    Christine WOO


    The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative was announced in the year 2013 by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China with an aim to improve economic cooperation and connectivity across continents through strategic land and maritime routes in Asia, Africa, and Europe. This project associates multiple areas like infrastructural development projects, cultural and talent exchange, as well as cross-border investment and cooperation. It is set to reinvigorate the flow of capital, goods, and services along the Belt and Road countries to achieve mutual benefits and synergies. Following the announcements of OBOR, the Hong Kong government announced the launching of the ‘Belt and Road’ Scholarship Scheme in the 2016/17 academic year to fund local student exchanges in OBOR countries. Yet, it has caused heated debate ever since it was introduced. While the government believed this scheme could foster links and nurture talents, scepticism around whether this scholarship brings real benefits to Hong Kong arose. Lawmakers from both pro-democracy and pro-establishment camps questioned the effectiveness of this scheme, particularly the budget allocated for the project, citing tax payers’ negative reactions.


    Learning Objective

    Not only can the class gain more information about B&R Scholarship Scheme within the context of the OBOR initiative, but learning from stakeholders’ criticisms and reactions students can also draw some lessons to avoid the potential failure of the scheme and, in general, of other OBOR-related projects.

  • Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port
    Dr. Holvert HUNG


    As part of the post-disaster economic recovery measure for Hambantota, a coastal town in Southern Sri Lanka, former President Magampura Mahinda Rajapaska decided to build the highly contentious Hambantota Port Development Project. The Rajapaksa pushed ahead with the project, despite the feasibility study concluding it was not economically viable. Although Sri Lanka is in a strategic location in the Indian Ocean, but there were already existing major navigation channels nearby. The Port was eventually built with loan financing from a Chinese bank and started operations in 2012. The following year, it became part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Not able to generate enough revenue to service the loan, the Sri Lankan government settled on a 99-year lease agreement with China in 2017. The agreement was also rumoured to include a Chinese naval base within the port. Many Sri Lankans protested arguing that it was a debt trap. Other foreign countries joined in accusing China of ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ and hidden ambitions of military expansion.


    Learning Objectives

    The case mainly provides basic information about the origin, major stakeholders, and controversies surrounding the Hambantota Port. It can be used in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative in terms of the challenges met in these projects, and how problems, such as those experienced in the Hambantota Port project, can be addressed and/or prevented.

  • China's Rare Earths and the China-US Trade War
    Winkie WONG

    The China-U.S. Trade War was sparked by the unilateral trade moves by the U.S. on 22 March 2018. To defend against China’s allegedly unfair trade practices, U.S. President Donald Trump invoked Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act to slap steep tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese products. China retaliated by imposing tariffs on US$110 billion worth of U.S. goods. As trade tensions escalated, there were mounting speculations that the Chinese government could weaponise its supply of rare-earth elements. China had the world’s largest reserves of rare-earth elements, which could be a source of leverage given that the U.S. had heavy dependence on them. Would the Chinese government use its control over rare-earths elements as a bargaining chip the trade war? If so, in what ways? Exactly how much leverage does China have? This case study will explore some answers to these questions.

  • Universal Retirement Protection in Hong Kong
    Kelly CHUNG


    In such a rapidly aging society as Hong Kong, the issue of retirement protection has always been a prominent one. Although the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF), enacted in 2000, is a compulsory retirement savings system whereby employees and their employers are required to contribute monthly to the fund, it has been criticized by many as inadequate. Policymakers critical of the MPF have been pushing the government to review the current welfare system and to introduce a universal retirement protection scheme instead. After years of on-going debate, the government in 2015 issued a six month-long public consultation document putting forward two policy directions- 1) a universal protection scheme where each retiree would receive a standardized pension per month regardless of net worth; and 2) a non-universal scheme where pension offered are subject to means-testing. The extreme positions of the two policy proposals have again stirred up heated debate among the public. Some believe that public resources should be allocated according to those in need and cater to the underprivileged groups, while some support a scheme covering all retirees whether rich or poor.


    Learning Objective

    This case study allows students to understand the arguments of stakeholders on different sides of the fence. Through reviewing and identifying the potential issues within the policy proposal, students are expected to discuss the pros and cons of the options, consider the implications of the proposals, and provide ideas for possible workable solutions facing the current shortcomings.

  • The Territory-wide System Assessment in Hong Kong: Tracking Learning Progress or Over-drilling of Students?
    Sara CHOI


    Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) is a general competency assessment administered at the territory level aiming to facilitate objective statistical assessment for students’ learning at primary and junior secondary levels. It covers the three subjects of Chinese Language, English Language, and Mathematics at the end of each key learning stages (Primary 3, Primary 6, and Secondary 3). It is believed that TSA can bring positive contributions to relevant stakeholders: first, schools and teachers can enhance their plans for teaching by benchmarking with the general standards in Hong Kong; second, the policymakers can review policies and provide focused support to certain schools based on the territory-wide data. Yet, scratch beneath the surface, there is a growing concern over the high pressure and heavy workload caused by the TSA. Not only do the students have a higher chance to be subjected to even more drilling by the schools, but also the educators have to spend extra time teaching and preparing materials. As a result, hundreds of parents, students, or representatives from the civil society have called for reforming or even abolishing TSA due to its adverse effects. Controversy over TSA has continued for years. While it is considered beneficial for gauging schools’ performances and checking shortcomings, some regard it as an added burden in addition to the regular assignments and extra-curricular activities.


    Learning Objective

    Using this case, students can discuss the phenomenon of unintended consequences in the implementation of policy. In particular, the discussions can revolve around why it happens, how can policy makers minimise unforeseen adverse consequences of policy, and how to address it when it happens.

  • The Co-location Arrangement of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link
    Galo CHEUNG


    The Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL HK section) is a high-speed rail that connects Hong Kong to cities of mainland China. The West Kowloon Terminus (WKT), which is part of the XRL, is the main access point to China’s extensive high-speed railway network. With an aim to facilitate passenger journeys, the Hong Kong government proposed the “co-location” joint checkpoint scheme. Such an arrangement enables leasing part of the WKT to mainland China’s customs officers, where they can set up a Mainland Port Area (MPA) and exercise almost full jurisdiction over immigration and customs matters. However, this proposal has sparked heated controversy among the officials, the general public, and legal experts. Given that WKT station is technically located in Hong Kong, pan-democrats argued that the plan contravenes the Basic Law, by allowing the mainland Chinese laws to be applied in Hong Kong. However, the authorities insisted that the MPA should be treated as outside Hong Kong’s boundary since it is leased to mainland China.


    Learning Objective

    The case presents social, economic, political, jurisdictional, and constitutional issues surrounding the co-location arrangement for the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. Readers can think about and/or discuss approaches and alternative proposals to deal with these controversies.

  • Emerging Landscape of Telehealth Services - Key Issues and Challenges
    Ying-tung CHAN

    Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, and smartphones are reshaping the way we live and work, and are poised to disrupt many industries including healthcare. The outbreak of COVID-19 has accelerated worldwide expansion and adoption of telehealth services due to people wanting to avoid and minimise face-to-face interactions. Patients are increasingly likely to rely on telehealth services for their daily healthcare needs. Telehealth services have many potential benefits, and can supplement traditional modes of healthcare delivery, improving the equitability of healthcare access. However, these services also bring with them some challenges and liability issues that affect governments, businesses, patients, and healthcare providers.


    Currently, the Hong Kong government has yet to determine what the best practices should be for the long-term development of telehealth services, and how these services should be regulated. Among the broader public, there are discussions and debates about the legal and security implications of telehealth services.


    This case study examines the key issues and challenges for telehealth services in Hong Kong through several lenses. Following a brief overview of what telehealth is, this case study will discuss how Hong Kong, mainland China, and Singapore approach and implement telehealth services. We will go over the benefits and challenges of telehealth services, and list several policy considerations in the deployment of these services.