Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 220


EOC expresses concern over insensitive acts towards minorities amid recent social unrest

On 11 October 2019, the EOC issued a statement to express concern over various acts that transpired during the ongoing anti-extradition bill saga, as they reflect a serious insensitivity towards disadvantaged communities, including persons with disabilities (PWDs) and ethnic minorities (EMs).

When elevators at MTR stations are damaged, wheelchair users and other people with mobility difficulties would not be able to reach the platform and board the train; when traffic lights are broken and stop emitting sound signals, people with visual impairment cannot cross the road independently. Indeed, the EOC staunchly opposes any act that may deprive PWDs of their commuting and other basic rights, or worse, put their safety at risk.

The EOC is also alerted to incidents where the phrase “Allah is the Greatest” was painted in Arabic on some roads. As vehicles may run over and leave stains on the words, it could come across as disrespectful, offensive and insulting to members of the Muslim community. The same insensitivity underlies some of the sweeping generalisations about EMs that have circulated recently, such as the remark that EMs would make better security staff because they are less likely to be provoked by Cantonese swear words.

As much as one is entitled to express an opinion or pursue a goal, the fundamental rights and wellbeing of marginalised communities should never be compromised in the process. The EOC calls on all parties to show greater respect and empathy towards others, and to appreciate the diversity that makes Hong Kong the unique and vibrant place it is.