Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 231


Virus or not, the law remains the law

Lately, there have been numerous reports of shops and eateries turning away Mandarin-speaking customers amid COVID-19 scares. A common defense goes like this, “People are not happy that there hasn’t been a complete shutdown of the city’s borders, and they are doing whatever they can to contain the spread of the virus.”

But as EOC Chairperson, Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin wrote in a recent article published by Hong Kong Free Press, South China Morning Post and EJ Insight, “even the most sensible objective can be marred by the way it is pursued. As the saying goes, the end does not always justify the means. Is what you are doing actually relevant to your stated goal? Are there alternative ways to achieve the same objective without affecting a disproportionate number of people?”

These may sound like boring technicalities to some, but in certain cases they may go to determine whether an act violates Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination ordinances. Read the article now and find out why.