Ethnic minorities claim racial discrimination in HK

HONG KONG: More than 50% of Nepalese, Pakistanis and Indians here say they have been victims of discrimination at work, a survey released yesterday found. 

The survey, conducted by the City University, also found nearly a third of the 400 people interviewed believed they had not been offered employment due to their race. 

Keith Woon, from City University's department of Applied Social Science who conducted the survey, said laws to outlaw racial discrimination were needed. 

“More than 30% of them believed they were not employed because they are not Cantonese or local Chinese,” he told local radio. 

The Hong Kong government has claimed racial discrimination laws are not needed here, arguing that racism was not a serious problem in the former British colony. 

However, Bill Rammell, British parliamentary undersecretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth office, in February cited the death of an Indian-born woman when calling on authorities to implement a law against racial discrimination. 

Harinder Veriah, the Indian-born wife of British journalist Martin Jacques, died in hospital from an epileptic fit after collapsing during celebrations here to mark the millennium. 

Jacques' accusation of racism against Hong Kong medical staff sparked a heated debate in the territory. 

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes during the inquest and cleared hospital staff of negligence. 

However, Jacques sought a second inquest in Britain last year in which the coroner recorded an open verdict and said serious questions had to be raised about the quality of care Veriah received. 

This prompted Jacques to file a High Court writ seeking damages from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority. 

There are an estimated 279,600 members of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. – AFP 

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