Thematic Household Survey on Racial Acceptance
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (Tuesday, 9 June 2009) announced the findings of a study “Thematic Household Survey on Racial Acceptance” conducted by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) from June to August 2008. The study included a face-to-face survey of 10,022 households, each of which a household member aged 15 and over was randomly selected for interview.
The Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), Mr. Raymond TANG, said, “This is the first time that a survey of this size and coverage has been conducted to gauge the public’s racial acceptance under different areas of life including employment, education, provision of goods, services and facilities and disposal of premises. The survey also examines the relationships between people’s attitudes towards other ethnic groups and their experience of interaction.”
Key Findings of the Study
- Socio-economic profile of Chinese and non-Chinese
The survey results showed that among persons aged 15 and over in Hong Kong, 95.5% were Chinese and 4.5% were non-Chinese. Among the latter group, most (61.1%) were Indonesian / Malaysian / Filipino, followed by Indian / Pakistani / Bangladeshi (14.2%) and Caucasian (13.5%). The remaining included Thai / Vietnamese / Cambodian (4.9%), Japanese / Korean (4.3%) and other ethnic groups such as African, Iranian and Sri Lankan (1.5%).The results highlighted that 57.2% of the Chinese and 62% for non-Chinese had attained education at secondary / matriculation level and 20.8% at tertiary level for Chinese and 28.7% for non-Chinese. Analyzed by economic activity status, 61.5% of the Chinese were economically active, 38.5% were economically inactive, with 15.4% being homemakers, 13.2% retired persons and 8.7% students. For non-Chinese, 84.7% were economically active.Moreover, more than half of the Chinese (62.1%) had a monthly personal income of less than $10,000, and 24.0% had $10,000 - $19,999. Compared to Chinese, a larger proportion of non-Chinese (77%) had a monthly personal income of less than $10,000 and 8.6% had $10,000 - $19,999. The median monthly personal income for Chinese was $7,300, while that for non-Chinese was $3,700. The relatively low income level of non-Chinese could be accounted by the inclusion of foreign domestic helpers who had a minimum wage of around $3,580 in the sample.
- Degree of acceptance towards various ethnic groups
In the survey, respondents were asked about their degree of acceptance towards various ethnic groups when taking different roles and under different situations. The roles were classified into two groups, namely community roles (as “service providers”, “friends”, “neighbours”, “neighbours communicating verbally”, “employers paying fair salary”, “employers offering jobs”, “employees working with colleagues”, “employees working under superiors”) and private roles (as “landlords”, “parents” and “relatives”).Among Chinese, the composite percentage of acceptance towards other ethnic groups when taking different community roles was 87% while it was 69.4% when taking private roles. Among non-Chinese, the composite percentage of acceptance towards other ethnic groups when taking different community roles was 87.2% while it was 73.5% when taking private roles. For both Chinese and non-Chinese, the degree of acceptance towards other ethnic groups was higher when taking community roles than taking private roles.The acceptance level among Chinese towards the major groups of minorities was highest towards Caucasian (94.3% when taking community roles and 87.3% when taking private roles), Japanese / Korean (91.9% and 83.0% respectively), followed by Indonesian / Malaysian /Filipino (87.9% and 70.3% respectively) and Indian / Pakistani / Bangladeshi / Nepalese (82.2% and 58.6% respectively).The figures showed that acceptance among Chinese towards various ethnic groups was generally higher for : (1) younger persons aged 15 to 24; (2) persons who had received education at tertiary level or above; (3) managers and administrators, professionals and associate professionals, plant and machine operators and assemblers; (4) students; (5) persons who had a monthly personal income of $30,000 and more; (6) persons who had pleasant experience of interaction with other ethnic groups.On the other hand, the average percentage of acceptance towards various ethnic groups was relatively lower for: (1) older persons aged 65 and over; (2) persons who had received education at primary level or below; (3) homemakers and retired persons. No significant correlation was found between lower acceptance and having unpleasant experience of interaction with other ethnic groups.
- Pleasant/unpleasant experience of interaction with other ethnic groups
As to interaction with various ethnic groups, 27.9% of Chinese people had pleasant experience. They had relatively more pleasant experience with Caucasians (17.6%) and least with Arabians (3.3%). In comparison, a large proportion of non-Chinese (38.4%) had pleasant experience of interaction with other ethnic groups, with 33.8% having pleasant experience of interaction with Chinese, 10.0% with Caucasian and 3.8% with African.Only a small percentage of Chinese (6.0%) said that they had unpleasant experience of interaction with other ethnic groups. 3% of them had unpleasant experience of interaction with Indian / Pakistani / Bangladeshi / Nepalese. A slightly larger proportion of non-Chinese (7.3%) had unpleasant experience of interaction with other ethnic groups.In general, the main causes of unpleasant experience of interaction among Chinese with the respective ethnic groups were “general behaviours / conduct” (ranging from 46.6% to 68.5%), “working attitude” (ranging from 14.6% to 47.3%), “with body odour” (ranging from 1.1% to 20.5%), “living habits” (ranging from 7.7% to 20.3%), “appearance / skin colour” (ranging from 2.8% to 7.6%) and “clothing” (ranging from 0.7% to 4.4%).
- Channels in promoting racial acceptance or fighting racial discrimination
Chinese people had higher awareness than non-Chinese in terms of the various channels in promoting racial acceptance or fighting against racial discrimination. 52.8% of Chinese and 27.8% of non-Chinese people were aware that television and radio were means of promoting racial acceptance.For those Chinese who were aware of the respective channels, over half considered “schools / teachers” (63.2%), “social workers” (62.7%), “unions, trade organizations or professional bodies” (58.0%) and “seminars, talks or exhibitions” (53.6%) very / quite useful in promoting racial acceptance or fighting against racial discrimination.
The survey findings showed that there were variations in the acceptance level of the Chinese population towards different ethnic groups.
“The findings will enable the EOC to evaluate the present social situation of racial discrimination in Hong Kong and to provide baseline information for longitudinal comparison when the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) is implemented,” said Mr. TANG.
“Furthermore, the survey results will provide valuable information to guide the EOC’s promotion and public education strategies, with respect to the effectiveness of the various publicity channels. More importantly, the information is useful to the EOC in targeting the variations in racial acceptance level and formulating strategies to enhance public understanding and acceptance towards the ethnic minority groups. We will continue to work towards racial harmony for our community and make Hong Kong a better place for all,” Mr. TANG elaborated.
Following the findings of the Racial Acceptance Survey, the EOC is launching extensive publicity campaigns to promote and spread the message of racial harmony and equal opportunities such as :
- New TV and radio APIs on the RDO
- Radio programmes to promote inclusion and diversity
- School play titled “The Story of Blue” on racial harmony
- Financing ethnic minority groups to organize activities that promote equal opportunities and racial harmony
For media enquiry, please contact Ms. Mariana LAW at 2106-2226.
Equal Opportunities Commission
9 June 2009