Good afternoon. It is indeed my great pleasure to join you all here today at the launching of the "Race for Opportunity: Diversity List", which is particularly meaningful as today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Last December, Shalini and Puja Kapai, Director of the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Comparative and Public Law, met with and presented to me the key findings of the report "The Status of Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong 1997-2014". I should just say that access to the Chief Secretary for Administration for a meeting like this does not require any parental introduction or business networking.
The email came through and I was very happy to meet with the two distinguished ladies. I was touched by their passion in improving the lives of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. When they told me about their plan to compile a Diversity List, as a follow-up to one of the recommendations in the report that the Government should consider appointing more ethnic minorities to positions on government advisory boards and committees, I instantly expressed my support for the idea and subsequently accepted the invitation for today's launch event.
It is gratifying for me to welcome and greet the first batch of 16 civic-minded individuals on the list, and I hope more will follow suit.
During my meeting with Shalini and Puja, I reassured them that the Hong Kong SAR Government is very committed in promoting racial equality in Hong Kong. Almost a decade ago, in my then capacity as the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, I was responsible for introducing the Race Discrimination Bill despite some reservations amongst relevant government bureaux and departments on whether equal access to public services would bring about significant resources implications and operational difficulties. The Racial Discrimination Ordinance was finally enacted in 2008, and the Equal Opportunities Commission has since been ensuring its effective implementation.
But tackling racial discrimination head-on is one thing; providing equal opportunities to ethnic minorities in a predominantly Chinese society calls for stronger government leadership and greater community efforts... Click here to read the rest of the Chief Secretary's speech delivered on 21 March 2016 in Hong Kong.