But those seeking redress must ask courts if they fall under new ruling The proposed anti-racism law will cover all ethnic groups in Hong Kong - without specific exceptions for new arrivals from the mainland, Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Stephen Fisher said. In an interview with the South China Morning Post yesterday, Mr Fisher put down to miscommunication the suggestion that new arrivals from the mainland would be specifically excluded from the law. He said the group would neither be expressly included nor excluded and that the matter would be left to the courts to interpret once a law had been passed. 'What we are saying is we will follow the definition of racial discrimination in ... the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, based on colour, descent, national origin and ethnic origin,' Mr Fisher said. 'Our interpretation is that mainland Chinese do not come under any of those categories in Hong Kong. We are not going to exclude anyone - if someone can bring a case, provide the evidence and argue in front of a judge, our interpretation can be challenged. This is what the rule of law in Hong Kong is about.' Similarly, indigenous residents of the New Territories would not constitute a distinct ethnic group, according to the bureau's interpretation, he said. 'All of us at some time were new arrivals, some get assimilated sooner than others - someone from Guangzhou, university educated, can be assimilated much more easily than someone from a rural area - they are not ethnic minorities, they constitute a social category,' he said. Mr Fisher said he would welcome views contradicting the bureau's interpretation during the proposed law's public consultation process, due to begin at the end of this year or early next year. The law will be modelled on existing anti-discrimination legislation from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It will cover racism in employment, education, admission to professional bodies, the provision of goods and services and the use of facilities. Mr Fisher stressed that the anti-racism law would cover all groups, including local Chinese, who found they were discriminated against. 'If a bar owner offers free membership to expatriates but not to local Chinese or Asians, that is discrimination in favour of another ethnic group and therefore against the local community,' he said. 'If in an advertisement, the prospective employer states only expats need apply, that would constitute racial discrimination, whereas if they say a native speaker level of English is required, anyone could apply.' Rejecting 'conspiracy theories' on why Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping would not commit to the law falling under the Equal Opportunities Commission, Mr Fisher said the EOC would be the obvious choice, but they were studying examples from England where a separate commission was set up.