Women’s online participation and the transformation of citizenship in Hong Kong

    Principal researcher: Iam Chong

    Co-researcher: Oiwan Lam


      The research project explores the dynamics of the insurgency of multiple counter and alternative public spheres in the context of Guangzhou (mainland China) and Honk Kong characterised by authoritarianism and post-colonial power. This is especially relevant in the milieu of ICTs, because of the advances in the new technologies – China has the biggest labour army employed in ICTs, as well as the largest number of ICT users. Discussions about the China model and the China miracle make such explorations of citizenship particularly pertinent.

      The research project focuses on women organisations and activists, their uses of new media and online platforms, and their implications for citizenship. The team is undertaking field work in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, conducting interviews with both members of established women NGOs and online activists engaged in the online citizen rights movement. China and Hong Kong's situations differ while still being historically linked. The team carries out qualitative interviews to try and understand the development of feminism, leading to its increased institutionalisation in Hong Kong, and in contrast looks at lesbian groups and individual activists. In China, the participants in the research are a women’s issues-related NGO and women bloggers – opinion leaders, activists or dissidents. The researchers hope that the research would help the state-party embedded women NGOs to develop a certain self-reflexivity. They also hope that the findings from the research would contribute to cultivating a self-awareness of developing alternative forms of gender citizenships.


      Iam Chong is teaching at the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University (Hong Kong). He is one of the founders of Hong Kong In-Media – one of the most important online independent media in Hong Kong which was created six years ago to promote a more participatory kind of media through new information technology in response to the political and economic crisis. Last year, they published a book titled Info-rhizome: Report on Independent Media in the Chinese-speaking World to cover these new developments. As women's voices are not yet easy to hear in the field of new media, they have been recruiting more women as contributing reporters, providing them training and a platform for sharing their skill and information. Recently, Chong also shifted his research interest more to media studies.


      Lam Oi Wan is currently a freelance editor at, a website providing voice to grassroots citizen media and helping them reach a global audience. She was a student activist in her younger years and post her graduation, worked as a journalist for a few years, her focus being political news, in particular the political transformation of Hong Kong from British colony into SAR of China. From 1997 to 2000, she worked as an Alternative Education Programme Officer in a regional NGO called Asian Regional Exchange. She then attended the International Woman University under the migrant program in Hanover in 2000 and moved to Taiwan and worked as Managing Editor for an academic journal - Inter-Asia cultural studies for three years. She re-entered the Beijing Tsinghua University for her M.Phil in Sociology from 2002-2005 and co-found Hong Kong In-Media and with a number of local activists in Hong Kong in 2004.