Opinion on Legislating Against
|16 December 2004
- Social Inclusion:
- Legislations against racial discrimination
should take a more proactive approach rather
than a remedial approach.
- Thus, relevant legislations should aim
at enhancing social inclusion of ethnic
minorities in Hong Kong but not just to
take preventive and remedial measures to
forbid racial discrimination.
- To achieve this, additional resources
have to be allocated to various policy areas.
Otherwise, effort against racial discrimination
will not be mainstreaming in policy formulation
and related service delivery but just an
added value to existing services provided.
A “top-up” approach will not be as effective
as a proactive approach in enhancing social
inclusion of ethnic minorities.
- Civic Education:
- The government should provide additional
resources to cultivate a culture of social
inclusion, in particular the inclusion of
ethnic minorities, among Hong Kong citizens.
- Civic education has to be conducted so
as to change the mind set of Hong Kong people
to perceive ethnic minorities as a family,
and Hong Kong as a home for all races. Mutual
respect should be one of the major themes
- Specifically, more effort should be put
by the government in promotion on the forthcoming
- Supportive Services
- Just lip service is not helpful in facilitating
the ethnic minorities to integrate into
the Hong Kong society. The government should
provide supportive services to students
of ethnic minorities, and to provide adequate
opportunities for them to further their
- In this connection, resources should be
allocated to schools so that they can employ
additional teaching assistants or buy in
services to enhance the learning of the
ethnic minority students.
- As most of the students from ethnic minority
groups have great difficulty in learning
Chinese, which is a subject that counts
with a heavy weighting among different subjects,
they should be provided another option to
sit examinations for Chinese Syllabus (B)
which is of lower standard than Syllabus
(A) and easier for them.
- Economic Development
- In order to ensure that no Hong Kong citizen
would be treated with public services of
second-class quality, such as medical service,
the government should organize retraining
courses on translation and interpreters
for ethnic minority school leavers, which
is a win-win situation that more jobs can
be created for ethnic minorities and at
the same time other ethnic minorities can
receive adequate and proper services.
- Some of the ethnic minorities in fact
have high qualifications in their own birth
place but unfortunately not recognized in
Hong Kong. The government should provide
a user-friendly mechanism to provide qualification
accreditation services for them.
- The government should introduce tax allowances
for those employers who employ ethnic minorities.
- The government should act as a role model
for other employers in Hong Kong by recruiting
a substantial number of ethnic minorities
who are qualified for the jobs respectively.
- Supportive Services
- It may be a stringent requirement for
SMEs to observe the future legislation if
they have to revise their practices all
by their own. Thus the government should
provide tangible assistance to SMEs, such
as workshops, guidelines, and translation
services and the like.
- Free legal consultation and advice should
also be provided for SMEs to help them examine
whether their practices will possibly contravene
with the law and to help them to make necessary
- A high power Social Inclusion Authority
should be set up to implement the Racial
- The jurisdiction of the Authority should
not limit to enforcement of the ordinance,
but also to investigate proactively any
cases that breach the ordinance.
- In addition, this high power Authority
should be given sufficient resources to
proactively promote, educate, and advocate
for a racial-discrimination-free society.
- Tackling implicit
forms of racial discrimination:
- Sometimes racial discrimination occurs
in subdue forms, either intentionally by
the person or due to the ignorance of that
person. A common and obvious example is
using improper expressions that results
in the embarrassment or bad feeling of the
person of ethnic minority.
- The legislation should thus include obviously
offensive forms of language expressions
or body language.
- Political Participation:
- Ethnic minorities should be facilitated
in political participation. Although they
have equal opportunity in registering as
voters and to stand for candidateship as
fellow Chinese citizens in Hong Kong, more
efforts should be made by the government
to encourage them to be more active in political
participation, such as recruiting interpreters
to help in voter registration exercises
and relevant educational activities.
- The government should consider appointing
more people from ethnic minority groups
into existing and new consultative bodies.
- Another arena that the government can
do more is to launch the government web
site in various language versions, which
will certainly help to reduce the information
gap of the ethnic minorities from the main
- New Arrivals:
- New arrivals from the Mainland China are
Chinese but not ethnic minorities, and thus
it is not unreasonable not to include them
as the target group protected by this legislation.
- However, by leaving them out, they will
then be even worse off then the ethnic minorities
in Hong Kong, a society mainly consists
of Chinese. This is ridiculous.
- Hence, the government should draft another
legislation to cater for these new arrivals
so as to enhance their social inclusion
into the Hong Kong society.