Mitigating Prejudice toward South and Southeast Asian Immigrants in Hong Kong: A Mixed-Method Investigation of the What, How, and If

Project: Research

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As a multi-cultural society, Hong Kong witnesses a long-standing prejudice against ethnic minority immigrants. South and Southeast Asian immigrants, who make up 70% of all immigrants in Hong Kong (Census and Statistics Department, 2017), face unfair treatment in work and rent, as well as a generally unfavorable attitude from the Chinese residents (Equal Opportunities Commission, 2016). Although the government and various NGOs devoted substantial efforts to helping ethnic minorities integrate into the society, existing initiatives mostly target the immigrants rather than the population holding the prejudice. Activities that foster positive contacts between ethnic minorities and Chinese residents are mostly offline, small-scale, and community-based, making it difficult to motivate the population as a whole.Building on decades of successful research on intergroup contact, this research tests the effectiveness of using indirect intergroup contacts to reduce prejudice against South and Southeast Asians in Hong Kong. Compared with offline contacts, indirect contacts are easily implemented and readily reflected in our daily information consumption activities such as reading comments and observing interactions on social media, making it idealfor impacting the population at large.The proposed research features 4 progressive studies, combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. It structures the investigation along a what-how-if framework: what the contact should be like, how should the contact take place, and if people should be given flexibility in choosing the form of contact. Study 1 identifies reallife intergroup contact stories as well as perceptions about the relevant norms and contextual factors regarding contacts between Chinese residents and South and Southeast Asian immigrants in Hong Kong. Study 2 develops victim narratives from the information collected from study 1 and tests its effectiveness on prejudice reduction. Study 3 embeds the victim narratives in messages reflecting different forms of indirect intergroup contact and tests their comparative effectiveness. Study 4 investigates to what extent flexibilities should be given to best enhance outcomes of the indirect intergroup contact and to motivate people in making more direct contacts with ethnic minority immigrants.The significance of this research is multifold. Theoretically, it fills gaps in intergroup contact research by 1) using interventions developed based on real-life scenarios and 2) considering how flexibility in the contact shapes its outcomes, both of which are strongly called for in recent literature on intergroup contact (Harwood, 2021; White et al., 2021). Empirically, the research generates evidence-based, context-specific, and readily implemented messages that can be applied in campaigns by various institutions.


Project number9043459
Grant typeGRF
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date1/01/23 → …