EOC Statement: The EOC Condemns Discrimination against Mainland Visitors
In relation to the lodging of complaint to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (22 July 2015) by the Anti-Sectionalism Parents Concern Society, which alleged that an organisation has launched a series of discriminatory campaigns against people from the Mainland China, the Commission has made the below-stated response:
“The EOC considers that any kind of discrimination, harassment or insult against visitors to Hong Kong is unacceptable, and should be condemned. These behaviours not only tarnish the image of Hong Kong, which has long been regarded as an open, civilised international city, but also intensify the conflicts in the society,” said Dr York CHOW, Chairperson of the EOC.
“Currently Section 8(2) and (3) of the Race Discrimination Ordinance provide that an act against a person based on his nationality, citizenship or resident status does not constitute discrimination on the ground of race. As a result, the EOC has no power to handle such complaints on discrimination against the Mainland visitors. Nevertheless, the EOC has made strenuous efforts to emphasise through advocacy and public education the importance of treating newcomers, including those from the Mainland, with mutual respect, and expressing opinions in a rational manner.”
“In view of the inadequacy of the existing legislation in addressing discrimination against the Mainland visitors and other areas, the EOC sought the public’s opinions on whether the Race Discrimination Ordinance should be expanded to include nationality, citizenship and resident status under the Discrimination Law Review public consultation exercise launched last year. The EOC is currently analysing the public responses received, and targets to complete the report by the end of 2015, upon which the EOC will submit the report, along with the law reform recommendations, to the Government in early 2016.”
“Meanwhile, the EOC believes that the conflicts between Hong Kong people and the Mainland visitors, and the discrimination against the latter involve complex issues across a broad spectrum. The anti-discrimination ordinances cannot and should not be considered a panacea. Rather, co-ordination and co-operation between different parties, including the Government and various sectors, is needed for resolving the problem. In particular, the discriminatory behaviours by certain parties are in violation of the law and order of society. These are beyond the powers of the EOC, and require actions from the law enforcement agencies to tackle them.”
“The EOC will continue its close watch on the development of the matter. Working together with different stakeholders, we will strive to eliminate discrimination, and build an inclusive society with equality for all, with a view to further enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness and international standing,” Dr Chow said.
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Equal Opportunities Commission
22 July 2015