Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

EOC Opposes All Forms of Online Bullying and Discrimination


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) expresses grave concern over recent comments on various social media pages attacking the race and skin colour of a female journalist. The EOC is staunchly against all forms of verbal abuse and online bullying, and believes that no one should be discriminated against, harassed or vilified because of their sex, race, disability, family status, age, sexual orientation or gender identity. Any expression or exchange of opinion should be rational and follow the principle of mutual respect.
The EOC is tasked with enforcing the four anti-discrimination ordinances currently in place, namely the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO), and the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO). The RDO protects all persons from discrimination, harassment and vilification based on race, which is defined under the ordinance to include not only a person’s race, but also her or his colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.
In particular, the RDO renders unlawful any act of “racial vilification”, i.e. engaging in any public activity that incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, another person on the ground of race. If the act further involves threat of physical harm to persons, their property or premises, it constitutes “serious vilification” under the RDO and is a criminal offence.
“It is understandable for people to be distressed by the social unrest over the past few months, but by no means does it justify any sort of discriminatory or vilifying language, which is counter-productive and serves only to escalate tensions,” said Mr Ricky CHU, Chairperson of the EOC. “We call on all social media operators to fulfil their social responsibility by proactively seeking out ways to root out hate speech online and minimise the harm done to vulnerable communities. The EOC also appeals to all sectors in society to find harmony in difference, and common ground in diversity – a core value of our city we must all continue to uphold. There is simply no need and no room for verbal abuse. Instead, we should strive to be empathetic and respectful of others, and express ourselves in a peaceful and rational manner.”
Equal Opportunities Commission
21 January 2020