We live in a post-information revolution age where we are deluged with information and data. How we make sense and make use of this information presents complex challenges. This issue of Varsity explores some of the complex issues around information in our society today.
Despite lobbying from archivists and activists, Hong Kong still doesn't have an archives law, which means the government can casually destroy documents or fail to keep records of internal communications. When it comes to researching Hong Kong's history, scholars, journalists and members of the public are forced to rely on Britain's national archives.
Hong Kong currently ranks 37 among 97 countries in the Open Data Index but the city has set ambitious goals to be 'smarter'. But without legislating for access to information, and without providing data in friendlier fomats, those ambitions will be hard to realise, say open data advocates.
The government is allowed to intercept and carry out surveillance on private citizens in the name of public security and there are laws to regulate the snooping. However, critics say the regulations are out-of-date in the digital age and existing safeguards are insufficient to protect citizens' privacy rights.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong's sovereignty from Britain to China in 1997. That was the year in which most of the reporters working on this issue of Varsity were born. In Periscope, we take a look back on some of the issues that have shaped Hong Kong in the past 20 years.
On the first working day after the handover on July 1st 1997, the mainland-born children of Hong Kong permanent residents lined up to claim residency rights under Article 24 of the Basic Law, kicking off a years-long struggle known as the right of abode saga. The impact of the legal battles and discourse over mainland new arrivals affect us even today.
In 1997, the government announced a dramatic shift in education policy, replacing English with Chinese as the medium of instruction in Hong Kong schools. Not long afterwards it said it was making the teaching of Chinese in Putonghua a long-term goal. These were just some of the big education reforms that have been instituted in the last 20 years, which have left teachers scrambling to adapt and keep up, and students struggling under heavy workloads.
Hongkonger's sense of identity and the extent to which they consider themselves to be Chinese have changed in the 20 years since the handover. We talk to those born at pivotal moments in Hong Kong's recent history - 1967, 1984 and 1997 - and ask how the experiences of their formative years have affected how they see China.
At home and in the world at large, societies seem to be getting more polarised and many are seeing a pushback against globalisation. Boundaries are becoming more apparent. In this issue's Periscope, Varsity looks at the boundaries and divisions between different groups of people in Hong Kong society.
Conflict between the young and the old has greatly escalated since the Umbrella Movement in 2014. They label each other as “useless youths” and “fogeys” respectively, blaming each other for causing problems in society. Varsity talks to both sides and explores what drives their hostility.