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M A Y 2 0 2 3 • I S S U E 1 亞太焦點


E d i t o r i a l

B o a r d

Lead Member

Luk T W Bryan

Aaron Wong

Miranda Chu

Taylor Xu

Derek Cheung

Wilma Ng


Design Luk T W Bryan

Miranda Chu

© 2023 Society of Asia Pacific Focus

A P R I L 2 0 2 3 • I S S U E 1


Society of Asia Pacific Focus is a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting the development and intellectual exchange of the Asia Pacific region.

Our organization is comprised of a diverse group of individuals and professionals who share a common interest in the sustainable development of the region

Our mission is to facilitate collaboration among young people across the Asia Pacific region by creating platforms for dialogue, knowledge exchange, and networking

S O C I E T Y O F A S I A P A C I F I C F O C U S 亞 太 平 洋 焦 點 學 會



As we enter the new year, it is important to reflect on the past and significant events that have occurred in the Asia Pacific region particularly in terms of cultural exchange and social development

In recent years, the Asia Pacific region has experienced a significant increase in cultural exchange and social development The region has seen a growing interest, which has led to a greater appreciation of the diverse cultures that make up the region

Hong Kong, as a city where eastmeets-west is creating a unique blend of cultures that is both fascinating and attractive to everyone from around the world The city's rich history as a British-ruled region has left its mark on the architecture language and culture, while the influence of Chinese culture is still very much evident

As we move forward, it is important to use Hong Kong as the hub continuing to promote cultural exchange and social development in the Asia Pacific region By recognizing and celebrating the diversity of the region and addressing social and environmental issues we can create a more harmonious and prosperous future for all We hope that this publication will provide valuable insights to every readers, and we look forward to continuing our coverage of these important issues


F O U N D E R ' S W E L C O M E

Welcome to the very first publication of APAC FOCUS As the lead editor, I am thrilled to introduce you to our organization and the work we do Our non-profit is dedicated to promoting sustainable development and intellectual exchange in the Asia Pacific region. We are proud to bring together a diverse group of individuals and professionals who share a common interest in enhancing the well-being of the region's people and environment

Our mission is to facilitate collaboration among young people across the Asia Pacific region by creating platforms for dialogue, knowledge exchange, and networking We believe that by bringing together individuals and organizations from different sectors and backgrounds we can promote best practices, foster innovation, and address pressing regional challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and biodiversity loss.

At the Society, we are committed to promoting collaboration

We firmly believe that by working together, we can make a meaningful difference in promoting a sustainable and prosperous Asia Pacific region Our organization is uniquely positioned to make a difference in the region by promoting sustainable development, facilitating knowledge exchange and fostering innovation

We believe that our work is essential for promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. Cultural exchange allows individuals to learn about different perspectives, values, and beliefs, and to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of the world we live in

By embracing diversity and promoting cultural exchange, we can create a more inclusive and harmonious society where everyone feels valued and respected.

Similarly, academic exchange is also vital in promoting cross-cultural collaboration and enhancing the quality of research education, and innovation It allows scholars, researchers, and students to learn from each other gain new perspectives and develop a broader understanding of complex issues By working together, individuals and institutions can tackle some of the region's most pressing problems, such as climate change poverty crime and disease

We are proud to focus on a wide range of topics including Social Problems Political Development, Crimes, International relations, Art and Design, Development, Humanities, Law & Justice We believe that by working together APAC FOCUS can make a positive difference in the region and beyond

Thank you for your support and interest in our organization We look forward to working with you to promote a sustainable and prosperous Asia Pacific region Together we can build a future where each individual is given the opportunity to thrive and contribute to the greater good

E D I T O R S '


We are thrilled to present to you the first edition of our publication, featuring a diverse range of topics relevant to Hong Kong and beyond Our team of talented writers has put together a collection of articles covering areas such as financial markets, international affairs, crime and order drugs policy technology and innovation, art and culture, and history and architecture.

In "The Case of Saudi Arabia's Aramco Listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange: A Bold Move Amidst Geopolitical Tensions," Leonard Luk explores the implications of Aramco's listing on the HKSE This article is an indepth analysis of the situation, detailing the potential economic and political ramifications of such a move

Aaron Wong's article, "United Nations' Criticism on Hong Kong’s Judicial Independence is Unconvincing," delves into the recent statement made by the United Nations regarding Hong Kong's judicial system. The article takes a closer look at the criticisms leveled at the system, and examines the validity of these criticisms

For those interested in local affairs, Bryan Luk's "Scams and Triads: the Biggest Challenges to Law & Order of Hong Kong in 2022" is a must-read This fascinating article sheds light on the pressing issue of crime in the city, exploring the ways in which the authorities are trying to combat this problem

Derek Cheung's "Hong Kong Criminalized the Thriving CBD Industry" is a thoughtprovoking piece that takes a closer look at the controversial decision to ban CBD products in Hong Kong The article examines the reasons behind the decision and considers its potential impact on the industry

Taylor Xu's "Dubai's Transformation is in Full Swing How about Hong Kong?" is an insightful article that explores Hong Kong's position in the global landscape of technology and innovation The article considers the ways in which Hong Kong can learn from Dubai's transformation, and offers some ideas for how the city can continue to innovate

Miranda Chu's "Hong Kong's Art and Culture Events: A Sign of Rebirth After Turbulent Years?" is a fascinating look at the city's vibrant art and culture scene. The article examines the ways in which the city's cultural landscape has changed in recent years and considers the potential for further growth and development.

Finally, in "Cultural Amalgamation through Architecture: A Glimpse into Hong Kong's History " we are taken on a journey through the city's rich architectural heritage This article is a fascinating exploration of the ways in which the city's architecture reflects its cultural history and identity

We hope that you enjoy reading this edition of our publication as much as we enjoyed putting it together We are already working on our next issue, which promises to be just as thought-provoking and insightful as this one Stay tuned for more exciting content in the future!



Financial Market - The Case of Saudi Arabia's Aramco Listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange: A Bold Move Amidst Geopolitical Tensions

International Affairs - United Nations' Criticism on Hong Kong’s Judicial Independence is Unconvincing

Crime & Order - Scams and Triads: the Biggest Challenges to Law & Order of Hong Kong in 2022

Drugs Policy - Hong Kong Criminalized the Thriving CBD Industry

Technology & Innovation - Dubai's Transformation is in Full Swing. How about hong kong?

Art & Culture - Hong Kong's Art and Culture events: A Sign of Rebirth After Turbulent Years?

History & Architecture - Cultural Amalgamation through Architecture: A Glimpse into Hong Kong's History

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Interview with Dr Ho Wing (Lawrence) Yu, Oxford Ph D Scholar


A Young Chat on the Rule of Law and Social Development in Indonesia and Nepal Since the BRI by APAC FOCUS TEAM



Hong Kong and the AI Singularity

31 35



Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, has been considering a listing in Hong Kong as part of its plans to expand its global reach and tap into the growing Asian market Although the company made its first initial public offering on the Saudi Stock Exchange it has been exploring other options including Hong Kong through a secondary listing to diversify its investor base and increase its exposure to Asia's rapidly growing economies

The potential listing in Hong Kong could be a significant move for both Saudi Aramco and the Hong Kong stock exchange Hong Kong has been actively seeking to attract more international listings, and a successful listing of Saudi Aramco could help bolster the exchange's reputation as a leading international financial center Additionally, the listing could provide a boost to the Hong Kong economy and increase investment flows into the region

Saudi Aramco's Record-Breaking IPO and Listing on Tadawul Exchange

The Saudi Arabian Oil Company commonly known as Saudi Aramco is the world's largest oil producer and one of the most profitable companies in the world The company had been contemplating going public for several years and in 2016 the Saudi government announced its plans to sell a minority stake in the company through an initial public offering (IPO) The IPO was expected to be the largest in history with the company's valuation estimated to be around $2 trillion In 2017, Saudi Aramco began preparing for the IPO by restructuring its operations and improving its financial reporting. The company also hired banks and advisers to help with the listing process However, the IPO was delayed several times due to various reasons, including concerns about the company's valuation and the global economic climate Aramco was most likely to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), one of the world’s most important markets, however investment banks at that time valued Aramco at only $1 1 and $1 7 trillion There were also standards of legal transparency and accountability that Saudi Aramco was difficult to overcome if it was to be listed on the NYSE

T H E C A S E O F S A U D I A R A B I A ' S A R A M C O L I S T I N G O N T H E H O N G K O N G S T O C K E X C H A N G E : A B O L D M O V E A M I D S T G E O P O L I T I C A L T E N S I O N S 1

In 2019, Saudi Aramco finally announced that it would go public, listing its shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange with a simultaneous listing of its US depositary receipts in New York The company sold 1 5% of its shares, raising $25 6 billion in the process The IPO was oversubscribed, with demand from both domestic and international investors

Saudi Aramco IPO Receives Warm Welcome Again from the Hong Kong Chief Executive

Saudi Aramco considered Hong Kong as a candidate for an IPO in 2019, but later opted to list on Riyadh’s Tadawul exchange Saudi Aramco is reportedly looking at selling a stake of up to 2 5%, worth almost $50 billion, through a secondary listing on domestic and international exchanges Hong Kong's Chief Executive John Lee recently travelled to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in an effort to highlight the advantages of his city as a major financial centre While in Riyadh Lee said that formal negotiations on an "Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement" between Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia will soon begin which would “further enhance bilateral investment flows and strengthen investor trust on both sides” The potential of listing Saudi Aramco on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is perhaps the most significant opportunity arising from this pledge of closer relations

A secondary listing in Hong Kong by Saudi Aramco would make sense as Hong Kong continues to hold considerable prestige and clout as a financial center Hong Kong is a major financial hub in Asia and a gateway to China, which is the world's second-largest economy The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is oneNetEase of the largest financial markets in the world and has a strong track record of attracting foreign companies seeking access to international capital markets Moreover, Hong Kong's regulatory framework is considered to be robust which can provide reassurance to investors and help to boost confidence in the company's prospects The listing in major foreign capital markets would be seen as a major milestone for both Saudi Arabia and the global energy industry and a sign of the country's commitment to economic reform and modernization.


What is secondary listing in Hong Kong and how does it differ from primary dual listing?

Secondary listing is a popular method for companies to access international capital markets, and Hong Kong has emerged as a key destination for such listings in recent years A secondary listing is when a company that is already listed on one stock exchange seeks a second listing on another exchange The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has become a popular destination for secondary listings, particularly for Chinese companies seeking to raise capital overseas For example the Chinese e-commerce giant JD com completed a secondary listing in Hong Kong in June 2020, raising $4 5 billion NetEase, the Chinese internet technology company completed a secondary listing in Hong Kong in June 2020, raising $2 7 billion One of the key features of a secondary listing in Hong Kong is that it allows companies to tap into a large pool of global investors while complying with less regulatory requirements in Hong Kong, as the listed company already has a primary listed market elsewhere.

On the other hand, a primary dual listing occurs when a company chooses to list its shares on two exchanges simultaneously, with both markets having primary listing status The difference is that the listed company would be required to comply with almost all the regulatory requirements in Hong Kong in addition to the regulatory rules of the other primary listed market Therefore, a secondary listing is typically less costly and time-consuming than a primary dual listing Overall, the possibility of a Saudi Aramco listing in Hong Kong is an intriguing development for both the company and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange It will be interesting to see how the listing process unfolds and the impact it has on the global financial landscape

Hong Kong Lawyer working in captial market industry with around 8 years experience BA in IR at UNSW (AUS) JD with Distinction and PCLL at CityU (HK).

L e o n a r d l u k


The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recently expressed its concern, stating that Hong Kong’s National Security Law (“NSL”) has de facto abolished the independence of the judiciary of Hong Kong [1]

The UN Committee also accused Hong Kong of arbitrarily using national security legislation to interfere with judicial independence The Hong Kong Government strongly objected to the Committee’s observation claiming them to be one-sided and flawed and opined that the UN Committee had “politicized its work” [2]

Judicial independence is a narrow concept meaning judges are “free to exercise their judicial powers without interference from litigants, the state, the media or powerful individuals or entities, such as large companies”[3] Judicial independence should not be confused with fairness in judicial decisions or judicial accountability

The UN Committee did not specify the factual basis that they relied on in leading to the conclusion that NSL had undermined Hong Kong’s judicial independence Upon careful analysis, the evidential basis of such a claim is shaky.

Article 44 of the NSL provides that the Chief Executive shall appoint designated judges in different levels of courts, in consultation with the Committee for Safeguarding National Security and the Chief Justice, to deal with offenses endangering national security Critics quoted such a provision [4] in asserting that the NSL enables the executive to control the Judiciary Yet they have overlooked three points

U N I T E D N A T I O N S ' C R I T I C I S M O N H O N G K O N G ’ S J U D I C I A L I N D E P E N D E N C E I S U N C O N V I N C I N G 4

First, the NSL-designated judges are not random persons who were newly appointed from outside the Judiciary All the appointed designated judges are experienced judicial officers who have served in the Judiciary for years When they were originally appointed as judicial officers they were recommended for their posts by a Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission which comprises members from different sectors

Second, under article 88 of Hong Kong Basic Law, the Chief Executive is responsible for appointing all judicial officers on the recommendation of the Commission Thus, specifying the Chief Executive as the competent authority to appoint NSL-designated judges is not a departure from Hong Kong’s existing practice

Third, the Chief Executive is only responsible for appointing a list of designated judges, but not assigning individual judges to a specific case It remains the responsibility of the Judiciary to assign which designated judges to hear cases

It might be said that allowing the Judiciary to assign judges to cases without limiting the selection of judges to a restricted list will provide the public with more confidence and transparency It might also be preferable that, as opposed to the current NSL provision which requires the Chief Executive to reappoint designated judges every year [5] once the designated judge is appointed the designated status should remain in the absence of misconduct, so as to better demonstrate that judges could make their rulings without fear or favour Yet, it is incorrect to say that the design of the designated judge’s system would have “abolished the independence of the judiciary”.

Article 44 of the NSL also provides that a designated judge might be removed from hearing national security cases if he/she “makes any statement or behaves in any manner endangering national security”

Such a provision is entirely consistent with the existing practice that any judge should be recused if the “apparent bias test” is satisfied meaning that a reasonable observer would conclude that “there is a real possibility that the judge would be biased” [6] In fact, it might be noted that previously a District Judge who made inappropriate sentencing remarks to sympathize with the perpetrator of serious unlawful violence against antigovernment protesters was suspended from hearing 2019 unrest-related cases for a period of time, presumably on the ground of apparent bias

Another criticism was that Article 46 of the NSL allows the Secretary for Justice to opt for a judges-only trial, without jury [7] However, a trial by jury is never a constitutional right in Hong Kong All trials at Hong Kong’s Magistrates’ Courts and the District Court have long been conducted by judges only While it is a usual practice for trials in High Court to be conducted by jury, a judges-only trial does not itself give rise to valid criticism of the independence of the judiciary

Furthermore defendants convicted under the NSL have the right to appeal The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal consists of local permanent judges and overseas nonpermanent judges Those overseas judges are eminent judges from common law jurisdictions It could safely be assumed that the overseas judges would voice out if they were subjected to improper influences in exercising their judicial duties

The NSL is enacted with a view to safeguarding national security, and is meant to have a deterrent effect to curb all acts that endanger national security By its very deterrent nature, some of its provisions could be subjected to debate Some criticisms, including that the definitions of some offenses are vague, and that the mandatory minimum sentence strips away judges’ discretion to pass on a more lenient sentence even when it is deemed appropriate are worth considering Needless to say individual rulings may also be subjected to public scrutiny and criticism

It is one thing to express concerns about the specific provisions of NSL or the soundness of a judge’s legal reasoning in a case; it is another to say that Hong Kong has lost judicial independence by virtue of the NSL To facilitate a more nuanced (instead of positionbased) debate, critics of Hong Kong s judicial independence must provide a more compelling basis to substantiate their opinion In this instance, the UN Committee failed to convince

[1] UN Human Rights Committee (2022) Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Hong Kong, China CCPR/C/CHN-HKG/CO/4, para 100 - 101

[2 HKSAR Government (2023) HKSAR Government strongly objects to unfounded and misleading concluding observations of UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights Press Release

[3] UK Courts and Tribunals Judiciary (2023) Independence Available at https://www judiciary uk/about-the-judiciary/our-justice-system/jud-acc-ind/independence/

[4] UN Human Rights Committee (2022) Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Hong Kong, China

CCPR/C/CHN-HKG/CO/4, para 35(a)

[5] NSL Article 44: “The term of office of the aforementioned designated judges shall be one year ”

[6] The Judiciary of HKSAR (2022) Guide to Judicial Conduct p 19-21

[7] UN Human Rights Committee (2022) Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Hong Kong, China

CCPR/C/CHN-HKG/CO/4, para 35(d)

A a r o n W o n g

MPhil student in Criminology at the Cambridge University Obtained his LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at the Edinburgh University with distinction and received his LLB with first class honours at CityU (HK)


C R I M E &


Hong Kong is considered a safe city due to its low crime rate and well-functioning legal system, and has a reputation for being one of the safest regions in the world, with low rates of violent crime, theft, and other offenses This is partly due to the city's efficient law enforcements and judicial system Yet the city has experienced a rise in crime rates in recent years

The law and order situation in Hong Kong in 2022 has shown an increase in overall crime of 8 7% compared to 2021 with a total of 70 048 cases However there was a decrease of 7 9% in violent crimes, with 8,830 cases reported The detection rate for all crimes was 35.2%, a decrease of 3.3 percentage points from 2021. Crimes that recorded a rise compared to 2021 include deception, triad-related crimes, blackmail, and missing motor vehicles. Dropped cases were criminal intimidation, theft from vehicle, serious drug offenses, pickpocketing, domestic violence crimes, indecent assault, arson, robbery, rape, elder abuse, and snatching

Increased Crimes

Based on the reports submitted to LegCo, the law and order situation in Hong Kong in 2022 has shown an increase in overall crime of 8 7% (5 620 cases) compared to 2021 with a total of 70,048 cases Crimes that recorded a significant rise compared to 2021 include deception triad-related crimes blackmail missing motor vehicles

Child abuse cases increased by 0.7%, with 1,241 cases recorded. Homicide cases rose by 30 4%, with 30 cases reported Among these cases, 15 involved domestic or family violence, and 3 were triad-related. Triad-related crimes increased by 35.3%, with 2,554 cases recorded The majority of offenses were deception, wounding and serious assault, and serious gambling offenses Deception cases increased by 45 1% (8,674 cases), with 27,923 cases reported The surge in deception cases was mainly attributed to the increases of "online shopping scams", "employment fraud", "investment fraud", and "telephone deception"


Dropped Crimes

There was a decrease of 7 9% in violent crimes, with 8,830 cases reported Robbery cases decreased by 37.4%, with 77 cases reported. Burglary cases decreased by 39.8%, with 886 cases reported, while 500 cases involved residential premises, and 386 cases involved non-residential premises, mainly restaurants, shops, offices, and factories Wounding and serious assault cases decreased by 12 4%, with 3,614 cases reported, including 565 cases of wounding and 3,049 cases of serious assault Serious drug offenses decreased by 8 5%, with 1,436 cases reported, and the types of drugs involved were cannabis, methamphetamine ("ICE"), cocaine, ketamine, and heroin

Rape cases decreased by 32 9%, with 53 cases reported Indecent assault cases recorded a drop of 6 4% with a total of 953 cases Theft cases decreased by 4 2% with 18 256 cases reported, accounting for 1% of overall crimes Domestic violence crimes decreased by 5 7% with 1 128 cases recorded Elder abuse cases decreased by 8 1% with 250 cases recorded, and the majority were physical abuse cases

Anti-fraud - Shall this be the top agenda?

Meanwhile, crime statistics are facing a rapid increase in the past few years, and there have been concerns raised about whether law enforcement agencies are too focused on national security concerns and neglecting other issues, such as the rise in scams and deception cases In fact, Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu said at a press conference that enforcing the national security law was "one of the major tasks of the police force" emphasizing national security as the "most important issue that every place has to look into" When facing those concerns Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu has repeatedly stated that he does not believe that the police force has paid too much effort into national security calling it one of the major tasks of the police force

The government might believe safeguarding national security is the most important agenda, in contrast, from a citizen's perspective, it is equally important to address the rising issue of scams and deception cases. The increase in online activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a surge in online scams, resulting in victims in Hong Kong losing a total of HK$4 8 billion The rise in job scams by more than four-fold is particularly concerning, with victims losing around HK$480 million in total

Therefore, it is crucial that the law enforcement shall set anti-fraud as the top priority since it is getting more serious They need to increase their efforts to warn the city about how scammers operate, and more attention has to be concentrated on this issue Despite the government has placed a lot of resources into educating the public about fraud and scams the effectiveness was doubtful and questionable - the fact speaks the truth Current measures are obviously not sufficient and might be too passive Especially, with the rapid development of AI technology AI-powered chatbots and voice assistants can be programmed to manipulate people into believing false information or to impersonate a real person.


This could lead to an increase in social engineering attacks such as phishing scams, and could also be used to spread disinformation on a large scale If the government still uses the old and traditional methods, new problems won't be solved, and more victims ahead

Triad-related Crime

Another major security issue is triad-related crimes Triad societies are decentralized and secret organized crime groups rooted in Hong Kong that are often involved in serious organized crimes such as drug trafficking serious violent crimes, etc As aforementioned, triad-related crimes saw an increase of 666 cases to 2 554 last year While triad-related crimes may not be as prevalent as scams and frauds, they are still a significant problem that needs to be addressed

One of the main reasons why triad-related crime is so important to counter is that these groups often use violence and intimidation to achieve their goals and are a serious threat to the rule of law. These groups often operate outside the law, and they may be able to exert influence over the government and other institutions This can have a destabilizing effect on the community, as people may feel unsafe and unsure about their future For example, triads are often involved in drug trafficking, violent crimes, smuggling, and money laundering, which can have a negative impact on the economy and society as a whole

In fact, statistically, the Triads were more active in engaging in deception crime (from 77 cases in 2021 to 591 cases in 2022) serious gambling offenses (from 233 to 323), controlling sex industries (from 17 to 76), and serious violent crime (from 324 to 336)


Indeed, triad-related crimes were usually reported and discussed by the general public Triad crimes tend to gain media and public attention due to their shocking and often tragic nature It can cause fear and anxiety among the public, and the media often covers these events in-depth to attract viewers or readers. Additionally they may be seen as a threat to social order, which can lead to increased attention and concern from authorities and the public.

Due to media influences, local people even made the nickname of "the City of Knife" or "Knifepolis" for Hong Kong, expressing their dissatisfaction about the feeling of deterorated Hong Kong's law and order

To sum up, the law and order situation in Hong Kong in 2022 has been a mixed picture However, the rise in scams and deception cases is a real and growing threat against human security in Hong Kong With the rapid development of AI technology and social engineering attacks, more needs to be done to protect citizens from falling victim to fraudulent activities The law enforcements need to set anti-fraud as a top priority and increase its efforts to warn the city about how scammers operate Not only continue putting more resources on passive measures like public education but active anti-crime measures are also needed to prepare for future challenges.

Meanwhile, triad-related crimes remain a significant problem that needs to be addressed These groups often use violence and intimidation to achieve their goals and can have a destabilizing effect on the community By cracking down on triad-related crimes and enforcing the law, the police force can help to protect the integrity of the justice system and restore a sense of safety and security to the community Through effective measures and strategies the government can enhance the public's trust in Hong Kong's law and order and promote a safer and more secure environment for all

Reseacher (criminology and public policy); Obtained a MIPA at HKU and BSocSci (Hons ) in Criminology at CityU (HK) Currently a MSc student in Edinburgh University

B r y a n L u k



Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound that is derived from the cannabis plant, has grown in popularity in recent years as a result of its potential medical benefits CBD has been shown in numerous scientific pharmacological research to have anti-inflammatory, bactericidal analgesic anti-anxiety anti-neurological disease and anti-oxidant properties It is available in a number of varieties, including oils, edibles, and topicals Because CBD is extracted from the stems of the cannabis plant which is related to drugs, most of the more conservative regions did not embrace the use of CBD products when they were first introduced

As more studies on CBD were conducted over the years, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement on the safety and efficacy of CBD in 2018, concluding that CBD was safe, non-addictive, and had potential therapeutic uses. While the WHO recognizes CBD's therapeutic potential, it also warns that the safety and efficacy of CBD products must be further researched and substantiated through rigorous clinical trials The WHO, on the other hand, considers Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is derived from cannabis plants and is frequently found in CBD products, to be dangerous and may induce psychoactive effects in humans On that note, the WHO suggested to the UN that CBD extracts containing less than 0 2% THC be removed from international drug control, implying that the WHO considers 0 2% THC to be a safe limit for human consumption

After the statement by WHO many countries have begun to relax their restrictions on the sale and use of CBD products, recognizing the potential therapeutic benefits of the substance For example in United States the U S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun to allow the sale of CBD products as dietary supplements, as long as all CBD products must have a THC content of less than 0.3% labeled correctly and do not make any therapeutic claims In the European Union, the sale of CBD products is regulated as Novel Food products. This means that they must be approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) before they can be marketed or sold Additionally, the European Commission has imposed restrictions on the labeling and advertising of CBD products These restrictions include a limit of 0 2% THC for CBD products sold in the EU


Despite the change in the international market, the Hong Kong government took a path in an opposite direction By June 2022 draft legislation banning CBD was introduced to Hong Kong lawmakers, and went into effect in February 2023

Under the new legislation, CBD is categorized as a dangerous drug, along with the likes of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The possession and consumption of any amount of CBD is punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of 1 million Hong Kong dollars (US$127,607) Manufacturing, importing or exporting CBD is punishable by life imprisonment

The Hong Kong government outlawed CBD due to the lack of definitive scientific proof of the benefit of CBD The authority also discusses the link between the use of CBD products and the use of marijuana by adolescents Aside from subjective opinions, there appears to be a lack of support for objective study evidence Furthermore, the authority believes that all CBD products derived from the cannabis plant contain THC which is a dangerous drug in any quantity

As a result, even though most laboratories cannot identify THC content below 0 15%, all CBD products are technically illegal under the new legislation The authority also claimed that the new regulation is necessary for the sake of fixing the "legal loophole" that could be used by illegal drug dealers to convert CBD into THC by using strong acid. Yet, evidently, the process of converting CBD to THC is very complicated and very costineffective, so not a single case has been detected by the authority yet.

It is undeniable that some of the CBD products currently on the market in Hong Kong contain the dangerous ingredient THC But it is noteworthy that Hong Kong already has a criminal law (the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance) in place to take enforcement actions against these illegal merchants Thus some argue that enacting a new law completely prohibiting the sale of CBD products is unnecessary Existing laws can effectively demonstrate the government's consistency in the "zero tolerance" drug policy whereas unnecessary control will harm the operations of law-abiding businesses and consumers' right to choose

Conducting such legislation in opposition to the international market without a strong argument, on the other hand, may be interpreted as a sign that Hong Kong is obligated to keep aligned with the current mainland's drug policy, in discrepancy with the image of open, free and international market that Hong Kong is known for

Assistant Researcher in LegCo member's office Received his BSoc Sci in Criminology with first class honors at CityU (HK)

e r e k C h e u n g


Over the past few years, Dubai has maintained a rapid pace of development, with its GDP continuously growing, making it one of the most dynamic cities in the Middle East According to data released by the Dubai Statistics Centre, Dubai's GDP in 2021 was $38 94 billion, a 2 1% increase from the previous year Notably, economic growth in 2021 was mainly driven by the strong performance of non-oil economic sectors, with areas such as transportation, retail, and accommodation and catering achieving stable growth As Dubai continues to advance the transformation and upgrading of its diversified economic structure, it is expected to achieve more sustainable and high-quality economic growth in the future Dubai has always been committed to promoting internationalization and openness, attracting foreign investment, and recruiting global talent providing more opportunities and support for foreign enterprises The establishment of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is an important initiative for Dubai to promote the development of the international financial industry.

D u b a i 's T r a ns f orm a t i on i s i n F u l l S w i n g . H ow a b out h on g k on g ?

Established in 2004 and located in the heart of Dubai the vibrant business ecosystem that Dubai intends to create has attracted more than 27 000 professionals to work in over 3 000 registered companies As a global financial exchange, refreshing architecture, and efficient support services, DIFC bridges the time zone gap between major Western financial centres such as London and New York and major Eastern financial centres such as Hong Kong and Tokyo, stimulating trade and investment flows along the Southern economic corridor In the past, Dubai had difficulty connecting to international financial markets and attracting international capital inflows limiting the development of economic diversification The establishment and development of DIFC will further promote Dubai as an international financial centre and facilitate economic development in the Middle East and South Asia regions.

Financial districts are a common sight, but their real uniqueness of them lies in their freedom and independence In order to establish a legal environment that meets international financial industry standards, Dubai has set up its own court system in the DIFC namely the DIFC Courts an independent judiciary of Dubai's financial free zone They practice English common law and commercial law to protect the rights and interests of enterprises and individuals within the DIFC.

In addition to enjoying the advantage of zero tax rates, which provide significant financial benefits for enterprises and individuals settled in the area, the DIFC's independent judicial jurisdiction offers a strict financial regulatory environment, ensuring the security and transparency of financial transactions The establishment of the DIFC's independent courts is one of the important measures taken by Dubai to improve its level of rule of law When judicial independence and fairness are enhanced, Dubai's international reputation and image will gain broader recognition, providing more robust support for Dubai's modernization efforts At the same time the establishment of the DIFC's independent courts strengthens investors' confidence in Dubai, attracts more international enterprises and financial institutions to settle in and promotes Dubai's economic diversification and internationalization


difficulties involved, while others may think Hong Kong is not yet ready In reality, the most important aspect in addressing Hong Kong's need for upgrading and transformation should be the emancipation of the mind Only when the majority of people recognize that change is necessary can they work together to promote the growth of new industries?

Prior to 2018, there were few large tech companies in Hong Kong, and even fewer internationally renowned tech companies founded and developed in the city In 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping requested that Hong Kong be developed into an international innovation and technology hub Mr Shang Hailong, now a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, led the collaboration with SenseTime, Alibaba, and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation to establish the incubator known as the Hong Kong Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Over the past five years Mr Shang has worked closely with the laboratory, observing and participating in each phase of the enterprise incubation process To date they have successfully completed the incubation of 97 Hong Kong youth start-ups through eight incubation cycles

The incubation project was launched in 2018, but the following three years did not bring vitality as expected. Due to the pandemic, the global economy inevitably experienced a downturn, and Hong Kong was no exception Hong Kong's tourism industry was hit hard, various investment and business projects were forced to halt or be postponed, streets saw shops with a "five vacant out of ten" situation, and a considerable number of small and medium-sized enterprises closed

Start-ups faced the overwhelming impact of the global pandemic, which was an unexpected disaster and unfortunate timing However, none of the nearly one hundred enterprises incubated in the laboratory went out of business On the contrary, instead of being slowly worn down by the declining economy some even expanded to the Greater Bay Area, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Southeast Asian regions like Malaysia, Indonesia, and even Australia This development is nothing short of miraculous It shows that Hong Kong's youth entrepreneurship and innovation have both foresight and tenacity, with energy that is vigorous persevering and patient


The success of young tech entrepreneurs in Hong Kong demonstrates the city's openmindedness towards innovation and technology creating a favorable environment for startups However, to cultivate a culture of innovation more widely, more people need to participate. This involves not only the government's emphasis and investment in the industry but also young people who are driven and devoted to innovation and technology.

Hong Kong's society has traditionally valued stable and prestigious disciplines such as finance, medicine, law, and accounting, which lead to respectable careers and comfortable lives However, the importance of innovation and technology has surpassed that of traditional industries The financial industry, one of the most important economic pillars, accounted for 23 4% of Hong Kong's GDP in 2020 While this is a significant proportion, it only employs about 7% of the population, which is not ideal

Therefore young people should focus on the positive aspects of technological development, not just the risks but also the rewards Hong Kong's economy requires diversified industries to ensure its stability By improving innovation capabilities to promote industrial upgrading and transformation and optimizing industrial structures, new momentum can be injected into the sustainable development of the economy The technology industry can create high-paying and competitive job positions, offering a field full of opportunities and boundless hope for wave after wave of young people reaching the shore

Its development has a positive impact on the overall society's existing industries When new technologies emerge, the industrial ecosystem is reshaped For example, the offline economy of the past can easily be transformed into an online economy in the internet era Currently, popular topics like Web3 0 and ChatGPT are leading a new revolution with blockchain and artificial intelligence This revolution will drive local industries, making the upgrading of existing industries inevitable, and creating more development and opportunities

During the Hong Kong's Chief Executive election campaign Mr Lee Ka-chiu proposed a resounding slogan - "No Innovation, No Future " His policy address also put great emphasis on innovation and technology with heavy strokes The Innovation and Technology Bureau's blueprint for innovation and technology development covers four major directions and eight key measures, providing a robust supporting structure. In summary, the Hong Kong government places greater importance on and invests more pragmatically in innovation and technology than before. The environment is getting better, and I sincerely hope that Hong Kong's youth can be inspired by this atmosphere and actively engage in the entrepreneurial practice

Reforms in the Middle East are currently underway Saudi Arabia's meticulous Vision 2030 and the United Arab Emirates' vigorous legal reforms are just a few examples Meanwhile, Dubai is boldly constructing the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is attracting thousands of enterprises to settle in The Middle East intends to seize the opportunity to become the next financial center. As the one being chased, Hong Kong should be vigilant in terms of security, as standing still means moving backward Hong Kong should take firm and bold steps forward by changing the existing industrial structure This can be achieved by actively developing the innovation and technology industry and driving towards a more diversified economy

T a y l o r X u
Policy Researcher at a LegCo Member's Office in Hong Kong, specializing in innovation and technology development


Hong Kong has long been known for its vibrant art and culture scene, which offers a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. The city's art scene has been a destination for artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts from around the world However, the past few years have been turbulent for the industry, with political unrest, and the COVID19 pandemic taking a toll on the sector In this article, we explore how Hong Kong's art and culture scene is undergoing a rebirth recently, which could be reflected by the return of international events and the opening of new art institutions

The Reopening of Hong Kong's International Art Scene

After three years of isolation due to COVID-19 travel restrictions Hong Kong's flagship contemporary art fairs, Art Basel and Art Central, were more than ready to welcome back international and mainland visitors This year's Hong Kong art week opened with a bang with a blow-up over a giant inflatable King Tut The two fairs were both supported by the government's new mega arts and cultural events fund, signaling the government's commitment to rebranding Hong Kong as a cultural center after the pandemic

Art Basel had 177 galleries this year, 47 more than the previous year when most overseas galleries were only setting up "satellite" booths remotely without sending over any representatives and around a third smaller than the scale of the fair in 2019 There was an absence of big-name collectors from the US though Hong Kong had always been too far as a regular stop for them But the brisk sales at the fair, especially the number of on-thespot buying by collectors from the region, were a testament to the market's resilience and potential

H O N G K O N G ' S A R T A N D C U L T U R E E V E N T S : A S I G N O F R E B I R T H A F T E R T U R B U L E N T Y E A R S ?

The most expensive art is by Western artists followed by Japanese and South Korean ones But Asian galleries of less familiar names also gave a fresh feeling to event visitors, as those galleries which were often young had an opportunity to show their outstanding and challenging works to the show in this normally highly competitive Art Basel They were more easily this year because some major international dealers were still not ready to come back to Hong Kong for this moment

The M+, a game changer of Hong Kong's art ecosystem

Adding to a sense of nervous anticipation was the international opening of M+ It is a museum of visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong, and exhibits twentieth and twenty-first-century visual culture encompassing visual art, design and architecture, and moving image Indeed, it is intended to rival top meseums like London's Tate Modern, New York's MoMA and Paris's Centre Pompidou in terms of the breadth and importance of its collections

In the years when the museum in West Kowloon was still being built it was promoted heavily as the game-changer for the city's art ecosystem Yet, it's opening in 2021 was a low-key all-local affair due to the Pandemic Finally on March 20 2023 heads of the world's biggest museums and other key opinion leaders of the art world finally were given their first tour

The opening of M+ is a significant milestone in the development of Hong Kong's art and culture scene Since it is one of the largest museums of contemporary visual culture in the world, with a collection that spans Hong Kong, China, Asia, and beyond. M+ is expected to serve as one of the best art museums in Asia, providing a platform for local and international artists, curators, and scholars to showcase their works and ideas

The international verdict on M+ is overwhelmingly glowing Most visitors waxed lyrically about the quality of the collection and the exhibitions and expressed hope that the museum will be the dragonhead to help Hong Kong to be more dynamic


Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the positive developments in Hong Kong's art and culture scene, the industry still faces significant difficulties and challenges. Hong Kong's confidence as the region's most important art market has been hardly knocked as other Asian cosmopolitan cities reopened their borders way earlier, they took the chance to announce new international art and cultural fairs, like Singapore, Tokyo, and Seoul Among the many people who left Hong Kong after the introduction of the National Security Law in 2020 were professional artists, well-known galleries, and other creative talents It is no doubt that they worried the law might have brought in a new system of political security previously absent in a city

However the return of international events provides a glimmer of hope for Hong Kong's art and culture industry The reopening of Art Basel and Art Central, as well as the opening of M+ signal that there is still a demand for the city's art and culture offerings Moreover, the government's support for the arts through the mega arts and cultural events fund is a positive step towards building a sustainable and thriving art and culture ecosystem

There are also opportunities for Hong Kong's art and culture industry to grow and innovate The city's neutrality and openness, The young galleries that were able to get into Art Basel this year demonstrate that there is space for new and emerging artists and galleries to make a mark in the industry Moreover, Hong Kong has a thriving street art scene, with artists using the city's walls and buildings as their canvas The city's street art scene has been gaining international recognition, with artists such as Alex Croft and Caratoes gaining critical acclaim The street art scene provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their works and reach a wider audience

Another opportunity for Hong Kong's art and culture industry is in the digital realm The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digital art and experiences with virtual exhibitions, online galleries, and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) gaining popularity Hong Kong can leverage its position as a hub for technology and innovation to develop new and innovative digital art and culture offerings

To conclude, Hong Kong's art and culture scene is undergoing a rebirth after turbulent years. The reopening of Art Basel and Art Central, the reintroduction of M+, and the government's support for the arts are positive developments for the industry However, challenges remain, including the public's concern of the National Security Law and the competition from other cities in the region It is up to the city's artists, galleries, and cultural institutions to seize the opportunities and overcome the challenges to build a thriving and sustainable art and culture ecosystem

i r a n d a C h u

atial designer from ndon College of mmunication and ld a master degree from ntral Saint Martins



The classic skyline of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour Lion Rock mountains on the Kowloon side, a vast collection of neon signboards, and monster buildings are what most people think of when they think of Hong Kong. Throughout its history, Hong Kong has been ruled by the British Empire, occupied by the Japanese, had refugees fleeing in hopes of escaping the civil war, and then returned to Chinese rule. Despite the city's diverse history and population, these iconic scenes and buildings do not necessarily reflect the amalgamation of cultures of colonial history Interestingly, this unique mash-up tends to appear in places of religious worship

S H K St Mary's Church is an Anglican church located between Causeway Bay and Tai Hang Collaboratively designed by Chau Lu-Nin and Richard Lee, the church opened its first service on Christmas Day 1937 The church community was established at the beginning of the 20th century, around the time of the May Fourth Movement where Western cultures and politics especially Christian beliefs were blamed for the diversification of traditional Chinese culture, beliefs, and politics Perhaps it was the blame put on the church and the desire to pull the religion closer to the Chinese's everyday life that inspired the marriage of the traditional church design and the unique Chinese Renaissance architectural style.

C U L T U R A L A M A L G A M A T I O N T H R O U G H A R C H I T E C T U R E : A G L I M P S E I N T O H O N G K O N G ' S H I S T O R Y

Walking along Tung Lo Wan Road, the church can be easily spotted from its grand stone staircase distinct red brick walls and green tile roofing The main entrance is decorated with four red Chinese pillars and stained-glass windows At first sight, it probably looks more relatable to a temple or an ancestral hall due to its form being a common historical Chinese design Looking at it closely, right above the entrance in the center, dividing the long vertical stained glass is a giant white cross, indicating its actual function. At the ridge of the green roof tiles are a pair of " Wenshou'' and a golden lotus ridge ornament, typically found in palaces and traditional structures of class and wealth Despite its rather eastern exterior, the function planning followed the classic orthodox church arrangement The church has the grandeur of a Chinese palace and the solemnity of Western religion

Much like the exterior, the interior also decorates the church furniture and walls with traditional eastern symbolic designs The roof is supported by the traditional Chinese bracket and bracing system "Dougong" Columns portals and benches are embellished with clouds, bats, and the Chinese character "shòu", meaning sky, wealth, and life respectively The choice of these decorative elements may be due to the mention of life and resurrection, heaven and "God's gift" in the bible The ambo and altar were decorated with motifs such as small lotus flowers and carps at the foot area Lotus flowers are symbolic of purity and holiness due to their ability to keep their beauty even though they grow in muddy ponds. Carps are often used to symbolize life and vitality in Chinese Culture These motifs can also be commonly seen in Buddhism decorative elements The desire to express the fusion between East and West is further emphasized by these small details

"a new, beautiful and imposing Church of Chinese-Anglican architectural design, reborn from the old church out of its extended old site, stood elevated on a flight of granite steps, bearing a snow-white Cross, and beckoning, as it were, to her portals to all willing comers "

Quoting from the church's official webpage, it is

Although not very common in Hong Kong, St Mary's Church is certainly not a one-of-akind structure The Holy Trinity Cathedral and the St Francis of Assisi Church in the Kowloon district are embodiments of the cultural characteristics of Hong Kong, a blend of Western culture Christianity and Chinese culture. The Chinese Renaissance architectural style was created by Western-trained Chinese architects in hopes of bringing back the traditional form of building.

The architecture of a place can offer valuable insights into its history and culture The cited examples are just the tip of the iceberg; many other historical buildings in Hong Kong have their own stories to tell These structures reflect the social economic and political factors that shaped the society, and studying them can help us understand the values beliefs and aspirations of the people who lived there Religious buildings, in particular, often serve as a microcosm of the place's cultural amalgamation, as they must balance different types of cultural interaction to minimize any cultural obstacles

N i c o l e t s e

Obtained her undergraduate BSSc (Architectural Studies) degree from CUHK, and her masters MArch degree from HKU



Schwarzman Scholar |

AACYF 30 under 30 |

President of Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme Scholars Association | Director of Good City Foundation | Leader of Tomorrow (St Gallen Symposium) | China Resources Fellow |

THINC Fellow |

INSPIRO Fellow |

Tsinghua University & Schwarzman Scholar

Master of Management Science, Global Affairs

University of Oxford

Ph D in Experimental Psychology

The University of Hong Kong

M Phil in Psychology

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

M.A. in Psychology

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

B B A Marketing and Management (First-Class Honours)

Lawrence Yu is an accomplished individual with an impressive academic, leadership, and social entrepreneurship background. He holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Oxford and a master's degree in management science and global affairs from Tsinghua University, where he received several awards and honors. In addition to his academic achievements, Lawrence is a co-founder and director of the Good City Foundation, a non-profit organization that fosters public-private partnerships through young leadership He is also the director and chief executive of the Future City Summit, an annual meeting for stakeholders, partners, and deal-flows in emerging Asia and Africa

Lawrence's dedication to social entrepreneurial pursuits, combined with his academic accomplishments and leadership abilities make him a true leader of tomorrow

The lead editor was lucky to have him for an interview in Hong Kong

Q1. Why did Lawrence start the Good City Foundation?

Questions like "Why are Asian Studies being dominated by Western scholars?" and "Why do we, Asians who live in Asia, have to rely on Western-led resources to understand Asian?" came to his heart while tendering a project from the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) These concerns inspired his founding of an Asiabased society that can echo the idea of "Studying Asia with Asian perspective by Asians"

He said, "instead of borrowing Western theories and perspectives, it is necessary to have a bottom-up approach and youth empowerment to learn about Asian Affairs"

So, he decided to organize an Asian-based-university summit from scratch with help from his fellows and the University of Hong Kong The summit was the predecessor of the Good City Foundation

interview with Dr. Ho Wing (Lawrence) Yu, Oxford Ph.D. Scholar

The first Future City Summit (FCS) Annual Meet was hosted on the campus of The University of Hong Kong on the 4th – 8th of August 2016 with the theme of Urban Resilience It was a kickstarting conference for participating youth to represent their cities and come to network, share and partner It had successfully gathered 70 delegates from 14 cities in Southeast Asia and South Asia to explore the urban development challenges

After the great success of the first FCS, they were awarded Global Partnership Seed Fund by the Vice President's Office of The University of Hong Kong With the help of the Seed Fund, FCS was registered as “Limited by Guarantee” as a non-profit organization in Hong Kong Later on, the FCS becomes a regular annual event In 2017, it was about “Pathing of Different Souls and Dreams”; then Cities Beyond Imagination” in 2018; Victoria by the Bay: Metamorphosis of a City through Legacy and Succession” in 2019; “Recovery, Reinvention, Resilience” in 2020; Planet Renaissance” in 2021; and finally Legacy Rejuvenating - Little Dragon Rise Again” in 2022 Notably, the name was changed to “Good City Foundation" (GCF), remaining "FCS" as the brand name of the annual summit, forming the venture capital arm of the group "Rainmaker Ventures"

Currently GCF is currently Institutional Partner of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance (GSCA) on Technology Governance, secretariat by the World Economic Forum for nominating promising and open city governments for engaging with the Alliance for urban transformation

As a major achievement, a global-scale moonshot ecosystem composed of 22 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa pledged to collaborate with members of the Emerging Future Cities Network, which was formed in 2018, and highlevel international communities such as the ASEAN Smart Cities Network and the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance at the closing ceremony A 10-year agenda was then set forth to impact 100 emerging cities, each with a population of 500,000, through digital urban innovation, advanced public policy, and governance entrepreneurship

He believes the GCF has already become a well-known APAC Focus network It allows key policy stakeholders, implementation partners, and selective voice representatives of diverse genders generations and backgrounds to be facilitated for government-togovernment (G2G) or business-to-government (B2G) networking, and developed a strategic partnership and project curation that drive sustainable development and longterm button-up social agenda rooting in Hong Kong, Greater Bay Area and emerging Asia


Q2. So, what is Lawrence's advice for others ?

He believe that the depth of one's cognition determines the level of one's development He cited a famous phrase written by a well-known business consultant in China, Mr Liu Run -

"If you view a lifetime as a cycle, you see the changes of the times and the complexity of human nature If you view a decade as a cycle, you see the changes of common sense and rules If you view five years as a cycle, you will see individual's courage and vision If you view a year as a cycle, you will see an individual's talent and ability is the key Yet, if you view a day as a cycle, then you can only rely on miracles and luck "

In other words, he argues that one's mindset depends on the depth and the level of their view of the world Depth refers to the first principles, while height denotes the endgame mindset

The "First-Principle" or "First-Cause" is the foundation of his philosophy. It is a basic proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption First-Principle thinking is the process of starting directly from basic principles and reasoning step-by-step to find one or more solutions that are suitable for a given problem Innovative new paths will be naturally discovered during the process of finding solutions

He explained that it is also a good way to face any unseen challenges ahead. "Coping with a rapidly changing environment with composure " A person can be safe and protected if he calms his mind and faces the changes in our environment with composure Reacting impulsively to these changes, on the other hand, can leave us in a vulnerable position

Then, "Endgame mindset" is the backstay. It is a way of thinking that starts with the end in mind looking at today from the future and adjusting one's current decisions and actions He said one must constantly consider its ultimate goal, and then start with the end in mind So it will guide you to think about the current path from the perspective of the future, and deciding on one's current and your every next step

He further elaborates with a famous quote from a book named "What It Takes", written by Mr. Stephen A Schwarzman, Chairman of Blackstone Group

It’s as hard to start and run a small business as it is to start a big one You will suffer the same toll financially and psychologically as you bludgeon it into existence "

He said the difficulty of doing big and small things is the same In that case, it is essential to acknowledge that resources are limited Thus a person must carefully consider every significant decision, and try to focus on precious things If a person can choose a wise goal worth pursuing then the return will match his effort

B r y a n L u k

Reseacher (criminology and public policy); Obtained a MIPA at HKU and BSocSci

(Hons ) in Criminology at CityU (HK) Currently a MSc student in Edinburgh University




The world is changing Previously, we placed a lot of focus on the western part of the world Western countries played a major role in shaping modern global economic activities But since the 21st Century, the world is shifting its attention to the Asia side, especially the regions in Asia Asian countries are playing a more vital role in creating global socio-economic activities, and gaining more influence in the international community

Especially since the launch of the "Belt and Road Initiative” in 2013 it created a new opportunity for countries in Asia to cooperate in a deeper manner, allowing countries to have more resources to develop their society and economy. It brought a lot of impacts to member states in the past decade, and has become a well-known international cooperation platform, covering two-thirds of the countries in the world.

The Chat was mainly organized by Basic Law Foundation, HK Basic Law Foundation, China Resources, and two LegCo Members (Dr Hon Simon Hoey Lee and Hon Ambrose Sankeung) APAC FOCUS supported the Chat as an supporting orgainzation, and joined the discussion with these students


Belt and Road Initiatives and Indonesia

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a Chinese project that was first announced in 2013 It aims to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors, with the goal of improving regional integration, increasing trade, and stimulating economic growth Indonesia is one of the countries partnering with China on this initiative

According to their presentation, the BRI provides loans and investments for various infrastructure projects, including shipping lines, railroads, airports, and power plants. These projects are focused on developing Indonesia's potential to become a superpower country Six of these projects are already underway, including the Kuala Tanjung port (North Sumatra), Kura-kura Island (Bali), Ketapang industrial park (West Kalimantan), power plant (North Kalimantan), Morowali industrial park (Central Sulawesi), and the development of the fishing industry PT Wahana Lestari Investama in Seram (Maluku Islands)

The Presidential Decree (Peraturan Presiden) No 16/2017 on Indonesian Ocean Policy dated March 1 2017 has also strengthened Indonesia’s motivation to realize its global maritime fulcrum. This regulation was constructed to facilitate the development of the global maritime fulcrum by focusing on seven policy pillars, including marine and human resources


The meeting point of interest between Indonesia and China was also successfully realized in the signing of the MoU on cooperation between the World Maritime Axis and the Belt and Road Initiative in 2018. The MOU aims to improve intergovernmental communication to better align high-level government policies like economic development strategies and plans for regional cooperation, strengthen the coordination of infrastructure plans to better connect hard infrastructure networks like transportation systems and power grids, encourage the development of soft infrastructure such as the signing of trade deals, aligning of regulatory standards, and improving financial integration, and bolster peopleto-people connections by cultivating student, expert, and cultural exchanges and tourism

The BRI provides Indonesia with an opportunity to connect its islands and improve transportation, maintain and manage marine resources, and prevent transnational crimes piracy terrorism and conflicts at sea The BRI also aims to strengthen strategic cooperation in infrastructure, business, and investment with 65 other countries, which collectively account for more than 30 percent of global gross domestic product 62% of the population, and 75% of energy reserves The cooperation between Indonesia and China in the BRI is a road to the future and it provides an opportunity for economic growth, which will improve the legal and social systems of the countries involved


Belt and Road Initiatives and Nepal

When it comes to the BRI, the "common future" becomes the point. "BRI means a peaceful and mutually beneficial way to cooperate, and that's the key For small countries like Nepal, it means a great opportunity," said Pushpa, a Nepalese student

Students describes that Nepal is a multiethnic multi-lingual multi-religious and multi-cultural state, with Nepali as the official language It is a landlocked country located in South Asia between India and China and has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point in the world

The country has 125 ethnic groups, and its cultural and historical heritage sites, a blend of different castes and religions, and pilgrimage sites are some of the factors that attract tourists to Nepal With a GDP of 36 29 billion USD and an annual growth rate of 4 2% in 2021 Nepal has the potential for further growth and development

The country is at the center of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) The BRI is a massive infrastructure project aimed at creating a new Silk Road, connecting China to Europe, Africa, and Asia Nepal formally became a part of the initiative on May 12, 2017, after five years of the establishment of the BRI

"The first one to dance in your wedding and the first one to mourn your death is your neighbor"



The proposed Nepal-China cross-border railway is a significant project under the BRI, carrying the potential to carry 5,000 MW of electricity and opening the doors for power trade between Nepal and China The first stretch of the road will be 32 km long from Tokha in Kathmandu to Chhahare in Nuwakot with a 4 17 km tunnel, while the second 19 km stretch will link Mailung with Syaphrubesi in Rasuwa district

Students believe that the BRI can open up a lot of opportunities in Nepal reduce unemployment, and mitigate the problem of brain drain However, the progress towards its materialization seems very slow and a strong mutual synchronization is thus necessary to achieve the goals of the BRI

A P A C F O C U S t e a m APAC FOCUS 41



The increasing popularity of AI applications like ChatGPT has drawn polarised responses in Hong Kong ChatGPT, for instance, is being used by the Singapore government agency to draft reports and speeches with the help of the chatbot Conversely, Hong Kong is still struggling and debating whether higher education institutions and public sectors shall adopt it or not

The University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and Chinese University (CUHK) in Hong Kong have embraced the use of the AI chatbot ChatGPT believing that it could enhance teaching and learning in the long run HKUST gave staff free rein to create their guidelines for using the system while CUHK announced that students would need permission from tutors before using the tool for assignments CUHK also issued guidelines for the use of AI tools in teaching learning and academic assessments encouraging teachers and students to be familiar with the use of these tools and reminding them to monitor their accuracy and reliability.

This is in contrast with the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) which temporarily banned the use of ChatGPT or similar tools for student coursework They treat any instances of students using AI tools for coursework but presenting it as original work as plagiarism

Meanwhile, the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is yet to decide on the matter, and Polytechnic University was still discussing it internally

Meanwhile, the government plans to set up a special task force to recommend measures to deal with the "revolutionary" disruption caused by ChatGPT It is essential that the government works towards maintaining the pace of technological development while ensuring that these technological advances are used correctly

H O N G K O N G A N D T H E A I S I N G U L A R I T Y 44


One of the main challenges of AI technologies is social acceptance A general application to the AI systems in society might cause a variety of issues Those concerns are mainly related to fear of job loss (replacing human workers), lack of trust (privacy and security issues) and ethical concerns. Another issue is that it is developed by a system known as "garbage in, garbage out" – if a flawed data set is used to train an algorithm, the AI application's output might mislead users. And it is indeed the case. Misleading and wrong data always appeared if there is no control from the imputer For example, we used AI software to write an article introducing Singapore The AI system has provided the wrong statistics regarding Singapore's population It stated that it has 54 million people, but in fact it is only 5 4 million That means anyone must have proper training and governance in every step when using AI, including how the data is sourced, how the training is carried out, and how the system is evaluated

As Hong Kong embraces the opportunities of Web3 and the digital economy, the city will inevitably run into similar ethical concerns and there is a need to start working on regulation The government should not wait and risk falling behind the competition Legislation that might deliver economic benefits such as an intellectual property licensing regime for AI-assisted creations, could be an effective solution

While the implications of AI-based tools for teaching and learning are certain to be significant, it will take a while for universities to settle on a long-term policy. A broadbased campus debate on the implications of AI-based tools for teaching and learning at the institution is planned. The primary direction should be learning to adapt to the technology, while ensuring that students are not denied their own learning and knowledge verification process

Anyway, the contrast in responses to AI-based tools in Hong Kong underscores the opportunities and challenges of AI technologies Yet we believed that the city's hot debate regarding AI is indeed a good sign, as it shows they are being responsive to the new technological singularity

A P A C F O C U S t e a m APAC FOCUS
= T E X T T O I M A G E : I M A G I N I N G A F U R I S T I C H O N G K O N G ( W A T E R C O L O R ) B Y A I R E I M A G I N E D H O N G K O N G A I 對 香 港 的 我 思 我 想 46
= T E X T T O I M A G E : I M A G I N I N G A F U R I S T I C H O N G K O N G ( W A T E R C O L O R ) B Y A I 47
= T E X T T O I M A G E : I M A G I N I N G A F U R I S T I C H O N G K O N G ( C I N E M A T I C ) B Y A I 48
= T E X T T O I M A G E : I M A G I N I N G A F U R I S T I C H O N G K O N G ( C I N E M A T I C ) B Y A I 49
= T E X T T O I M A G E : I M A G I N I N G A F U R I S T I C H O N G K O N G ( C I N E M A T I C ) B Y A I 50
= T E X T T O I M A G E : I M A G I N I N G A F U R I S T I C H O N G K O N G K O W L O O N ( P H O T O ) B Y A I 51
= T E X T T O I M A G E : I M A G I N I N G A F U R I S T I C H O N G K O N G I S L A N D ( P H O T O ) B Y A I 52

We apperciate to all those who made submissions to this issue, and those who spent their time to edit and design this publication

By the way we used NotionAI to assist the editorial process Since we believe it is important to adopt AI singularity Hence it is time to


This publication is free-of-charge and is not to be used for any commercial purposes It is intended solely for the purpose of promoting educational, academic and cultural exchange

Any reprint of this issue needs the permission from the Society of Asia Pacific Focus

All other images contained in the issue are courtesy of unplash com and canva com

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