Tuesday, May 8, 2012

HFS in Taiwanese Context

Here is a review of another piece of literature I came across.

In the article "Analysis of Human Flesh Search in the Taiwanese Context," authors Tao and Chen seek to explain the significance of the human flesh search in Taiwan. Upon reading this article, I was intrigued because I have not previously done much exploration of HFS outside of mainland China, although I've read of instances occurring in Taiwan, South Korea, and other areas of Asia. To provide a frame of reference, the authors posted a table of primary HFS incidents in Taiwan and the authors who have documented the cases (left).

The authors do a great job at concisely describing both the positive and negative aspects that are depicted in instances of HFS:
The benefits include truth revelation, solicitation of public assistance, promotion of the internet as a leading media, fight against illegal behavior, and determent of unethical yet lawful behavior. Meanwhile, the drawbacks include privacy invasion, violence, exploitation for unintended purposes, low information quality, and restraint in the adoption of internet as a media. (187)

To conclude, the authors make a call for an increase in research on all fronts of HFS incidents, to both quantify cases and research that builds upon HFS theory (189-90).

Participation and collaboration by users play a vital role in the HFS process. On one hand, HFS practices, which are considered a manifestation of citizen empowerment and civil participation, are supported and applauded by other countries.On the other, majority of high-profile HFS cases in China have become aggressive and vicious, arousing research interest on the involved legal, privacy, and social issues. (187)

This is clearly evident in the way that HFS cases are examined and written by both eastern and western media. On the one hand, Chinese media applaud netizens who help track down corruption, while the western media views that and puts a spin that Chinese corruption is out of control and needs to be curbed. Another apparent case which I discussed in my paper is the case of Grace Wang - where the Chinese media named her "the most ugly exchange students" and where the New York Times ran an article citing her bravery and strength of character.

Tao, Yu-Hui and Chian-Hsueng Chao. Analysis of Human Flesh Search in the Taiwanese Context. (IEEE Computer Society, 2011): 187-190.

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