September 17, 2004

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It's a slight problem when your proposed anti-discrimination law is discriminatory itself. 95% of Hong Kongers are Han Chinese and like any society with such a huge majority of one race (see Japan for an even worse example) racism doesn't just exist, it's often not even considered unusual. Those that suffer the worse are the SE and South Asian workers that form the backbone of HK's army of helpers and menial labour. "Foreign professionals" (read Westerners) have different rules and are treated to far more subtle forms of racism. But that's for another time.

There are two main problems with the proposed law. Firstly discrimination against mainland immigrants will not be included in the bill's scope. The reason? Because they are Han Chinese, so it is considered a "social" form of discrimination rather than a racial form. Who knew some forms of discrimination are better than others? The other problem is the 3 year exemption for any business with 6 or less employees. As to why small businesses are able to discriminate when it's not acceptable for larger businesses or the general public is hard to fathom. The excuse "More than half of the companies in Hong Kong are small ones. Will the legislation help ethnic minorities in finding a job? I don't think so,'' is baloney. It certainly won't help them as it stands. It really makes no sense at all. There's no increase in paperwork or any cost for the business. All they have to do is give non-Chinese people a fair chance. Why do they need an exemption for that?

You cannot legislate people's opinions away but you can certainly give victims of racism the tools they need to fight it.

posted by Simon on 09.17.04 at 10:20 AM in the Hong Kong category.


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