Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 180


EOC calls for greater effort to tackle poverty of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

As Hong Kong celebrated the Lunar New Year, the city was laden with festive decorations. Consumers crowded the glitzy malls and busy markets to spend on gifts and indulgences. Yet in this city, there is another world – a poverty-stricken world where families struggle to make ends meet. With one of the world’s highest Gini coefficient, it is not surprising that a portion of the city’s population, including the ethnic minorities (EMs), is living in dire situation. In the latest Hong Kong Poverty Situation Report on Ethnic Minorities 2016 released by the Government in February 2018, the poverty rate of EMs went up from to 15.8% in 2011 to 19.4% in 2016. This means that almost one in every five EMs is living in poverty. Even taking into account Government subsidies and allowances, the rate stood at 14.5%, higher than that of the general population.

In response to the report, the EOC issued a media statement on 13 February, urging the Government to take concrete measures for improving the employment prospects of EMs as a key to alleviate their poverty. EOC Chairperson Professor Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming said, “The Poverty Situation Report on Ethnic Minorities 2016 shows alarming levels of poverty among the city’s ethnic minority population. Equal access to employment opportunities necessitates the provision of equal access to quality education and necessary support to overcome language and social barriers. The Government needs to study the data carefully and come up with concrete steps to help the EMs in order to show its commitment towards their betterment.”

The EOC has been advocating for greater support to the EMs in their education and employment. As well as working with the respective Government departments, such as Labour Department, on enhancing their services to EMs, the EOC also lines up the support of private enterprises on hiring more EMs. In the run-up to International Day on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March, the EOC is organising a number of events, including a public event in collaboration with Radio Television Hong Kong Radio 2 at Lok Fu Place in the afternoon of 10 March, and a seminar on inclusive corporate practices in collaboration with HSBC on 21 March. The EOC hopes that these events could raise awareness of the plight of EMs and encourage greater inclusion in society.