Home Affairs Bureau defends survey of ethnic minorities
Pressure groups have misconceived ideas about the Government's first survey of ethnic minorities, according to a Home Affairs Bureau official.
The $350,000 survey, conducted for the bureau by ACNielsen, is the first attempt to determine the demographic profile of non-Chinese and identify their needs and difficulties.
The report, released on Tuesday, found that the non-Chinese population of Hong Kong was 4.1 per cent of the total. It said Filipinos and Indonesians accounted for 71 per cent of the 279,600 who were not Chinese.
The survey found that 69 per cent of non-Chinese cited language problems as their most frequently encountered difficulty, followed by jobs, housing and transport.
A summary of the report has been submitted to the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
But community representatives said that not only were some of the demographics inaccurate, the survey failed to identify the needs and difficulties of minority groups.
John Dean, principal assistant secretary for Home Affairs, said: 'They're entitled to say what they want, but they got it wrong about what the survey was for and why we're doing it and why we submitted it to the UN. We already dealt with racial discrimination.'
This was a reference to the Hong Kong report submitted last year to the UN committee.
'This is simply statistical information that the UN asked for. Their views on this are misconceived,' Mr Dean said.
A director of the Indian Resources Group, Ravi Gidumal, said: 'If this is the reason the Government undertook this survey - to assist them in preparing the [UN] report - then perhaps they should have expressly asked: Do you feel there is racial discrimination or not?'
He said the Government should not have submitted the survey summary to the panel.
'This whole report says nothing about the problems or issues of racial discrimination in Hong Kong. If it doesn't address the issue, then to me it isn't relevant,' he said.
Anna Wu Hung-yuk, chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said that although the survey asked about difficulties experienced by minorities, the survey shied away from asking about 'the crucial area relating to race discrimination'.
She said: 'That's one of the crucial problems we have to tackle under any race covenant. The obvious question was not asked; on the obvious question, we have no information from this survey.'
Mohan Chugani, vice-chairman of the Indian Club, said he was surprised only 12,000 Indians were found in the SAR. This, he said, was a gross under-estimate. Hong Kong-born Indians alone would run to several thousand, he argued.
'How was the survey done? I don't know which format they've used to come up with this figure,' he said.