Research Project Introduction: Immigration Detention in Hong Kong

The project began in July 2020 and will run through June 2023. This will be the first detailed study of immigration detention in Hong Kong, and will add significantly to comparative analysis of immigration detention in East Asia.

The team, Prof. Surabhi Chopra, Raquel Amador and Chloe Fung from the Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong, examines the functioning and effects of immigration detention law, policy and practice, with a focus on survivors of torture, victims of human trafficking, and low-income migrant workers.

Based upon their findings, they develop actionable, evidence-based guidelines for improving the system.

This project is funded by the Research Impact Fund of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, which operates under the University Grants Committee (UGC).

For more information, see Immigration Detention in Hong Kong.

Appointment of New Associate Director

The Centre for Criminology (the “Centre”) is pleased to announce that Dr. Julie Ham (“Dr. Ham”) has been appointed as an Associate Director of the Centre with effect from 1st September 2021.

Dr. Ham’s research is grounded in ongoing engagement with community-based organizations and international networks working for migrant rights, sex worker rights and social change. She has published on domestic work, sex work, anti-trafficking, gender and migration, feminist participatory action research, and activist efforts by trafficking survivors, sex workers and domestic workers. Prior to joining the Department of Sociology, Julie worked with the Border Crossing Observatory (Monash University), the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) and with community-based research projects and organizations in Canada, working with sex workers, immigrant and refugee communities, women substance users, low-income urban communities, and anti-violence organisations.

Her recent research explores knowledge production and cultural production by migrants in Hong Kong through participatory and visual methodologies. For more information, see Mobile Methodologies and Migrant Knowledges.

Event promotion: Refugee Protection in Hong Kong Today Online Talk

Online Talk: Refugee Protection in Hong Kong Today 

Speaker: Surabhi Chopra
Raquel Amadopr
Chloe Fung
Date: 2021.03.31 (Wed)
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Venue: Online (zoom session details will be given after registration).
Language: English

This talk will focus on people seeking asylum / refugees in present-day Hong Kong. We will discuss the forces that drive people to seek asylum in Hong Kong and the circumstances in which they live here.

China has not extended the 1951 Refugee Convention to Hong Kong, which means that the government is not bound by this international treaty to recognize and protect the rights of refugees. However, Hong Kong is a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Thus, the Hong Kong government is obligated under these treaties to protect people in Hong Kong – regardless of their formal residence status – from torture, refoulement, persecution, ill-treatment or arbitrary deprivation of life. These obligations have prompted the establishment of an official system to evaluate whether individuals would face these risks if returned to their countries of origin.

If someone’s claim for protection from forcible return to their country is found to be valid, and they are recognised as a refugee (who the government labels as a ‘substantiated non-refoulement claimant’), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees works to re-settle them in a third country. This process can take many years. In the meantime, families seeking asylum navigate many challenges accessing education, employment, availing social services, and making ends meet financially in Hong Kong.

In our talk, we will examine the governmental and United Nations mechanisms in relation to refugees in Hong Kong. We will also discuss the socio-economic realities of being an asylum applicant in Hong Kong. We will highlight civil society advocacy in Hong Kong, including advocacy by refugees themselves, to recognise and respect the rights of refugees. Finally, we will outline areas for future reform.

The talk will be held by the research team of the project Immigration Detention and Vulnerable Migrants in Hong Kong: Evaluating the System, Facilitating Reform (funded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council). Surabhi Chopra is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, CUHK specialising in human rights. Raquel Amador is a researcher, lawyer and civil society advocate specialising in migrants’ rights. Chloe Fung is a researcher with a particular interest in data analysis and visualisation to advance rights protection and transparency.


The East Asia Policing Studies Forum Seminar Series: Community engagement policy of the Hong Kong Police Force

The talk will focus on the community engagement policy of the Hong Kong Police Force. From the youngsters to the senior citizens, even including the minority groups like the Non-ethical Chinese, the Hong Kong Police Force has launched a wide range of innovative and outreaching schemes targeting various groups in the society so as to enhance mutual understanding and secure public rapport. The presentation will shed light on a bunch of programs like Junior Police Call, Senior Police Call and Police Mentorship Program etc, illustrating the organizational effort in engaging the community. To echo the Force’s Vision – ‘That Hong Kong remains one of the safest and most stable societies in the world’, the support from the community is essential.

The East Asia Policing Studies Forum Seminar Series: Predicting confidence in the police: Evidence from Shanghai

Using a household random sample from Shanghai (N=2,430), this study explores the nuanced meaning of “police” to Shanghai residents and brings trust into the study of confidence in the police. Results reveal that China as a society with “differential mode of association” indeed makes a distinction between different hierarchical levels of the police agencies based on their power-distance with residents. In addition, the multi-variate regression analyses of confidence in the local and upper-level police indicate that institutional trust is the most influential factor. Media trust, feeling safe, satisfaction in life and collectivism are significant in both models. Obeying the law, gender and class influence confidence in the local police but do not have any influence on the upper-level police while intermediate trust and education have a significant effect on confidence in the upper-level police.

Liqun Cao is Professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada. He is also an adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. His research interests include China study, criminological theory, gun ownership, police integrity, policy on ascetic deviance, race and ethnicity in criminal justice, sociology of policing, etc. His research essays have appeared in many top national and international journals, including Criminology, Journal of Criminal Justice, Justice Quarterly, Policing, Social Forces, and Social Problems. He is the author of Major Criminological Theories: Concepts and Measurement (2004) and co-author of Policing in Taiwan: From Authoritarianism to Democracy with LanYing Huang and Ivan Sun (2014). He is also co-editor of Lessons of International/Comparative Criminology/Criminal Justice with John Winterdyk (2004) and The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Criminology (2014) with Ivan Y. Sun and Bill Hebenton. His co-authored paper “Crime volume and law and order culture” (2007) won the 2008 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Donal MacNamara Award – the best article of the year. Professor Cao is also the founding president of Association of Chinese Criminology and Criminal Justice in the U.S. (2010 to 2012).