29 February 2020

Simon Shen

Associate professor and director of Global Studies Programme, Faculty of Social Science, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Lead Writer (Global) at the Hong Kong Economic Journal
  • A protester holds a flag bearing the acronym RIC (Citizens' Initiative Referendum) during a Yellow Vests march. The French movement, which had been waning, gained some momentum recently after an incident of suspected police brutality. Pic: AFP

    How police high-handedness fuels popular anger

    - Aug 19, 2019 6:41pm
    Some international media outlets have drawn a parallel between Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill movement and France’s Yellow Vest protests, both of which have been continuing for months. Although I don’t agree that one can draw a...
  • Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, No. 10 Downing Street is led by PR specialists rather than policy consultants. Photo: Reuters

    Boris Johnson’s grand Brexit plan

    - Aug 9, 2019 10:57am
    Whether to investors or to international media, Boris Johnson’s do-or-die approach to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is intriguing. Since becoming prime minister, Johnson has been touring the United Kingdom but he has yet to...
  • Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is likely to adopt a more congenial attitude towards China. Photo: Reuters

    Why Boris Johnson is not the British version of Trump

    - Jul 29, 2019 11:15am
    The United Kingdom’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, has often been regarded as the British version of Donald Trump, his popularity gained primarily from the Brexit situation. Last month, in a seminar on Britain’s withdrawal from the...
  • The so-called Shandong Coppers, at their peak, accounted for one-fifth of Hong Kong's police manpower. Photo: Internet

    HK police and their historical links with Shandong

    - Jul 22, 2019 6:30pm
    If you delve into the history of Hong Kong’s police, you might come to know about the existence of a very unique unit known as the “Lu patrolmen” within the force in the past, with “Lu”...
  • Former South African President Jacob Zuma showed his political savvy in managing a crisis triggered by the death of a student leader three years ago.  Photo: Reuters

    What HK can learn from South Africa in defusing social crisis

    - Jul 15, 2019 6:54pm
    Since the outbreak of the mass movement against the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, four young people in our city have reportedly taken their own lives for reasons linked to the proposed legislation. A couple of weeks ago,...
  • Under the "Vision 2030" plan, Saudi Arabia seeks to transform the kingdom in the "post-oil era" and build a special region to become a financial center in the Middle East. Photo: Reuters

    What Saudi Arabia likes about ‘one country, two systems’

    - Jul 12, 2019 10:30am
    A few months ago I was invited to Saudi Arabia, where the government is hoping to learn more about the successful implementation of the “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong. Saudi leaders are keen to...
  • A file picture depicts a photo exhibition marking the 120th anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War, in Shengyang in July 2014. The ‘fake-news’ phenomenon during and after the 1894-95 war bears resemblance to the internet hoaxes we see now. Pic: Xinhua

    ‘Fake news’ is nothing new

    - Jun 24, 2019 6:10pm
    US President Donald Trump has given currency to the term “fake news”, a jab on the media that has now become widely known to people around the world. But the phrase is nothing new, nor is...
  • Ever since the fall of the Taliban regime, the Afghans have generally attached huge importance to education. Photo: AFP

    Walking into Afghanistan

    - Jun 18, 2019 6:17pm
    Many people would probably think that traveling to Afghanistan must be a very dangerous proposition. But the truth is, a trip to the once war-torn Central Asian country through the Wakhan Corridor can offer another kind...
  • When Facebook celebrated its eighth birthday in 2015, 30 million of its users had already passed away. Photo: Bloomberg

    The ‘virtual ancestor’

    - Jun 6, 2019 6:33pm
    In the age of the internet, different concepts regarding life and death have begun emerging. The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) of the University of Oxford recently published a study which projects that “dead users” are likely to...
  • Pro-government forces stand amid the ruins in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of Damascus last year. The government is eager to show everyone that life is back to normal in Syria. Photo: AFP

    An invitation to travel to Syria

    - Jun 5, 2019 6:30pm
    Recently, a friend of mine invited me to go to Syria to attend a wedding; the groom is the son of the country’s interior minister. Some people would probably decline such an invitation. For them, traveling...
  • Schools across Finland have formulated programs to fight fake news. Photo: Reuters

    Finland wages war against fake news

    - May 31, 2019 5:49pm
    In the face of the growing menace of fake news, particularly from Russians, Finland has begun a systematic, nationwide campaign to educate its students, starting from kindergarten, on how to identify fake news. Finland’s experience may serve...
  • In Zimbabwe, where inflation has soared as high as 79.6 billion percent, banknotes have become obsolete and electronic payments more popular. Photo: Reuters

    Cashless Africa

    - May 20, 2019 3:12pm
    We have talked about the resistance to a cashless society in places like the United States and Germany. However, in Africa, this phenomenon is much more widespread. For example, in a landlocked African country like Zimbabwe,...
  • A survey conducted by the European Central Bank shows the average German wallet carries 103 physical euros, an amount far larger than that of any other EU member country. Photo: Bloomberg

    The Germans’ obsession with cash

    - May 16, 2019 1:08pm
    Electronic payments are all the rage in China, India, and even Africa, but they are less popular in western developed countries. According to a report on the Merchant Machine website last year, China is currently the...
  • A child interacts with a robot at the World Robot Conference in Beijing in August 2018. AI may replace top-down and spoon-fed coaching, but other models of teaching, particularly those that emphasize human touch, will remain in demand. Photo: CNSA

    Why it’s hard for AI machines to replace kindergarten teachers

    - May 14, 2019 6:29pm
    I had mentioned multiple times previously in this column about the possible implications of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), and the resulting “Industrial Revolution 4.0”, for the job market. Like I said in the past,...
  • With the support of its central bank, Sweden is moving rapidly toward a cashless society. Photo: Reuters

    Toward a cashless society: A Swedish example

    - May 14, 2019 11:42am
    Despite Hong Kong’s claim as an international, cosmopolitan society, there have been complaints from the tourism sector that the city is lagging behind in technology. For one thing, Hongkongers seem to be not that interested in...
  • St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was one of the targets of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday. Photo: Reuters

    Why massive drone attacks are a real and imminent threat

    - May 6, 2019 5:47pm
    The recent carnage in Sri Lanka could be indicative of something even more profound and worrisome.  As the threshold for launching terrorist attacks is getting lower and lower, they could become increasingly frequent around the world...
  • In Singapore, it is compulsory for students to study coding, alongside English and Chinese. Photo: Bloomberg

    Singapore’s coding education shows how much HK is lagging behind

    - May 2, 2019 10:24am
    Earlier, we talked about a team in Singapore that develops teaching resources on computer coding, which were then localized and introduced in Hong Kong. Many people are curious to know: why do these people choose Singapore...
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains a very strong candidate, but some of his economic policies have not been very successful. Photo: Reuters

    Questioning the success of Modi’s economic policies

    - Apr 23, 2019 5:13pm
    The election marathon in India has begun. Divided into seven phases, the election will last until May 19. Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains a strong candidate. His biggest rival is the Indian National Congress, which includes...
  • Guizhou's climate and geographical features offer an ideal environment for data center operations. Photo: Xinhua

    Guizhou: China’s outstanding example of a tech miracle

    - Apr 12, 2019 11:53am
    Previously, we talked about how Rwanda was able to rise from poverty by embracing technology. Such a dramatic shift also seems to be happening in southwestern China’s Guizhou province. As one of China’s poorest regions where...
  • Rwanda’s Paul Kagame has won plaudits for his audacious and determined efforts to pursue reforms and transform the nation’s economy. Photo: Reuters

    Rwanda: From genocide to ‘Africa’s Singapore’

    - Apr 11, 2019 6:46pm
    This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, during which an estimated 500,000 to one million people, predominantly Tutsi, were massacred by the majority Hutu, and more than two million fled the country amid...