To many who have been following developments at the Equal Opportunities Commission, the government's announcement yesterday that it will not reappoint Anna Wu Hung-yuk as the commission's chairwoman comes as no surprise. When Ms Wu's original three-year contract expired last summer, the government waited until the very last minute to renew it. And as that extension neared its end in recent months, it stayed reticent on the question of Ms Wu's position, even while signalling intent to move ahead with introducing race discrimination laws she had championed. In her four years on the job, Ms Wu has won kudos for her energy and her willingness to enforce the gender and disability discrimination laws under her purview, even if it meant taking on establishment interests and the Hong Kong government itself. There was speculation that she had stepped on too many toes and that the EOC would be downgraded or even dismantled. It is a credit to the commission staff and to Ms Wu herself that the uncertainty has not been allowed to visibly disrupt the commission's work. With the appointment of Michael Wong Kin-chow to a three-year term, some of those questions about the government's commitment to the continued existence of the commission can be laid to rest. However, a protest must be raised at the manner in which the change has been carried out. Until as late as last week, neither Ms Wu nor anyone on her staff had any indication that there would be a new chief. As dedicated public servants carrying out important work, they deserve greater courtesy than this. Even though he will take office under less than ideal circumstances and is not known for previous involvement in anti-discrimination work, Mr Wong deserves the benefit of the doubt. Most important will be whether he and the EOC are willing and able to enforce the law. Over the next year, the EOC will be helping the government shape new laws banning discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity, and may even be tasked with enforcement. In making the case for new legislation, the government has relied on entirely pragmatic reasoning, saying it would fulfil international covenants and enhance Hong Kong's reputation - at minimal cost to business. These benefits can be assured only if the laws are drawn as broadly as possible, with limited exemptions, and based on progressive international standards. Most complaints received by the EOC go through conciliation, though a handful are sent to court after conciliation fails. Because of the EOC's limited resources, it has to be selective in the cases it chooses to take on. But under Ms Wu's leadership, the commission was independent enough to litigate when necessary. We hope this will also be the case under Mr Wong.