The SAR's most senior Catholic representative has launched a strong attack on racism and said the next bishop of Hong Kong should not be Chinese if there was a better candidate of another race. Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kuin signalled his determination to avoid a strict policy of localisation within the Hong Kong Church in his outspoken attack. The bishop also called on Catholic schools to help lead the way in breaking down racial barriers and admitted racism dogged the Catholic clergy. 'Some locals have said that the bishop, top jobs in the diocese and in religious orders [working in Hong Kong] should be open only to Chinese,' he said. 'But I say, let the best man do the job, it should not be based on race.' Bishop Zen's comments in the Catholic publication the Sunday Examiner follow a rising tide of public debate over racism in the territory and the question of whether legislation is required to combat it. The Government has consistently rejected claims that racism is a major problem despite mounting international pressure. Last month the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called the situation in Hong Kong 'unsatisfactory'. It rejected the Government's arguments against the need for introducing legislation. In the same month, the Government announced a consultation over the need for a new law. The bishop pointedly refused to be drawn into the debate for legislation, but he did acknowledge that racism remained a problem within the Church, albeit one he called 'minor', and one the clergy was working to resolve. He said that some Chinese priests resented foreigners because of the history of 'imperialist missionaries, as they call them'. The bishop revealed that, on one occasion, he was forced to remind these Chinese priests that 'Chinese have been imperialists too'. By teaching pupils to value all human beings irrespective of race, the barriers of prejudice could be broken down, he said. In an accompanying article, in the Sunday Examiner magazine, an unnamed priest said: 'No one wants to talk about the problems of racism in the Church, but there are racial divisions. The Church reflects society, we have the same problems.' Father James McCaslin, quoted in the same article as Bishop Zen, said one of the main problems lay in the division between Filipino groups and locals. 'Seldom do Filipino groups feel they are allowed to use parish facilities in the same way as their Chinese counterparts,' he said.