"Is Hong Kong racist? Prejudice against ethnic minorities, especially Africans, undermines city’s claim to be truly international"
Mandy Zheng and Rachel LeungSouth China Morning Post
21 July 2018
With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Camy Lok Mei-ching takes a deep breath and strides into a rural committee meeting. About 10 people turn to face her. She recognises lawmakers, government officials and the residents of Shek Wu Tong Village in Yuen Long district.
Lok is president of the Hong Kong African Association which she hopes will be allowed to convert an abandoned school in their village into an activity centre.
Despite approval by the Town Planning Board, Lok’s plan faces strong opposition from villagers. Over the past months, various protests were launched, with residents citing security concerns and accusing African people in the community of being “more likely to be criminals”.
Lok, in her 50s, is married to 45-year-old Nigerian, Ezeakunne Sylvester, and has been leading a lonely battle against what she says is a clear-cut case of racial discrimination – part of a long-standing yet often neglected problem in Hong Kong.
Kelley Loper, associate professor and director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong’s faculty of law, calls the events in the Yuen Long village a “worrying development”.
She says: “The case highlights a clear need for much greater efforts to educate the public and promptly address racist attitudes.“Blocking the establishment of the activity centre is likely to violate the Race Discrimination Ordinance which prohibits direct and indirect racial discrimination in the provision of facilities, goods and services.”
Loper calls for the government and Equal Opportunities Commission to investigate the matter. “Views that racial minorities are more likely to engage in ‘criminal’ activity perpetuates negative, discriminatory stereotypes about minority communities in Hong Kong and are not based on fact.”...
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