Canada-China Initiatives Fund supports three projects on Asian research

York Centre for Asian Research YCAR

Three faculty-led research projects out of York University’s Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) are recipients of funding through YCAR’s Canada-China Initiatives Fund.

Founded in 2019, the Canada-China Initiatives Fund (CCIF) was created to support scholarly exchanges and research on modern (i.e. post 1911) and contemporary China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, their global reach, their linkages with Canada, or the experiences of the diaspora communities.

When regimes like China try to practice digital authoritarianism and influence public opinion overseas, what strategies do they use? How are these strategies related to their practice at home? To answer these questions, Muyang Li (Sociology), Cary Wu (Sociology) and Zhifan Luo (YCAR and Institute for Research on Digital Literacies) will compare China’s information campaigns overseas and back at home. Using innovative big-data techniques to collect and analyze large-scale text data from newspapers and social media, they are conducting a bilingual comparison of the narrative that the Chinese state promoted within China and in Canada and the United States. The project’s findings will advance knowledge of foreign propaganda, pave the way for further study of its impacts on the trust levels of Canadian and U.S. audiences, and contribute to the literature on media and trust from a comparative lens. It will also develop new methodological tools that other social scientists may use to study media impacts with access to large-scale text data. 

Led by Rick Sin (School of Social Work), “Chinese Canadian’s Awareness of Indigenous Peoples and Their History in Canada: Mapping Knowledge Gap and Finding Solutions” is a community-based initiative between researchers at York and the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter. It aims at exploring, evaluating and documenting the existing knowledge gap pertaining to past events and current realities faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada among Chinese Canadians in Toronto. The team’s objectives include: (i) to explore the prevailing knowledge of experiences faced by Indigenous peoples and Canada’s colonial history in the Chinese Canadian community; (ii) to understand where, how and from whom their knowledge was acquired; and (iii) to gather, develop and prioritize recommendations to fill the existing knowledge gap, and to promote and restore respectful relationships with Indigenous communities.

Through long-established community networks, they will apply snowball and purposive sampling to identify and recruit 40 to 60 research participants from five stakeholder groups – namely newcomers, youth, community media, and community leaders/ service providers. The project’s research and knowledge mobilization processes will promote shared interest, a sense of responsibility, and awareness of the colonial history and oppression currently experienced by Indigenous peoples among Chinese Canadians. 

Margaret Boittin (Osgoode Hall Law School) is leading an international team that received funding for a research project that focuses on the long-term effects of migrant rights’ campaigns on vulnerability to forced labour in Hong Kong. The city has the highest density of Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) in the world, a group that indirectly contributes over $2.6 billion USD annually to Hong Kong’s economy by providing domestic help and elderly care. Although Hong Kong is regarded as one of the best places in the world for MDWs to work, policies that make it compulsory for MDWs to “live in” with employers as well as leave within two weeks of completing a contract, leave workers vulnerable to forced labour.

A 2016 survey of MDWs in Hong Kong found that nearly one in five has experienced at least one indicator of forced labour. In this project, the team will investigate the long-term impacts of mass-media campaigns on norms and behaviours that could reduce child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking (CFT) in Hong Kong. This research will address this gap in the literature and contribute to evidence-based policy solutions that target CFT. 

The next deadline for the CCIF is Jan. 21, 2022. For more information, click here.