Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 261


EOC Chairperson reflects on COVID lessons and highlights the Commission’s work in interview with The Standard

In a recent interview with The Standard, EOC Chairperson Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin shared how the Commission has stayed closely in touch with ethnic minority communities through face-to-face and virtual meetings during the year-long COVID-19 pandemic to hear about their challenges and facilitate positive change.

When the coronavirus first broke out in Hong Kong last year, official information on health protection and quarantine measures were published in Chinese and English only. Information later became available in languages more commonly used by ethnic minority communities, such as Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sinhalese, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese, and yet the translation was sometimes incomplete. The EOC has been communicating with the Government on an ongoing basis to address such information asymmetry, while helping to spread accurate information in a more timely manner with the support of community leaders.

Further, some contractors in the construction industry have allegedly banned South Asian employees from working on development sites – even after they have tested negative for COVID-19 – whereas Chinese workers and those of other ethnicities with negative test results were allowed to resume work. The EOC subsequently released a statement calling on employers to avoid discriminating against employees beause of their race or an imputed disability (COVID-19 in this case).

On a more positive note, Mr Chu revealed in the interview that despite the hardships COVID has posed to employees and employers alike, there has been an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to the inaugural edition of the Equal Opportunity Employer Recognition Scheme, an incentive programme launched by the EOC to promote diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies among organisations and recognise best practice. As many as 420 applications were submitted in total by organisations big and small, representing over 220,000 employees across an extensive spectrum of industries. The EOC unveiled the results and presented awards to the winners at a series of ceremonies in May 2021.

Read the full interview now with the links below.