SCMP Thursday, February 15, 2001

Survey criticised over racial problems


Minority groups and legislators yesterday criticised the Government for ignoring race discrimination in a survey submitted to the United Nations.
Ethnic groups said the survey, conducted by the Home Affairs Bureau and the Census and Statistics Department, was a waste of money.
The report was submitted to the UN last October under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. A delegation will also attend the UN hearing to spell out the Government's position.
"My contact with ethnic minorities and their issues makes me wonder if the administration is living in a dream world," Democrat Albert Chan Wai-yip said at a legislative council home affairs panel meeting. "Such a low-quality survey is really regrettable."
Law Yuk-kai, director of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, said the survey ignored differences between ethnic groups.
"Caucasians usually receive preferential treatment in HK, while darker coloured people are discriminated against unfavourably. It is not proper to combine these two types of people into one group," he said.
Vandana Rajwani of Hong Kong Against Race Discrimination said: "The survey should have asked about specific difficulties if they were interested in identifying special needs."
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Leo Kwan Wing-wah said while the survey was not perfect, it was successful in identifying the demographics of minorities.
"This is not a survey on racial discrimination," he said. "We do not say there is no racial discrimination in Hong Kong."
Ethnic groups and legislators asked that their criticism be submitted with the report to the UN.