Proposed legislation could widen the existing definitions of discrimination People in Hong Kong who suffer discrimination because of the race of a family member may have recourse under proposed anti-racism legislation. Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Stephen Fisher said drafting instructions for the legislation were still being fine-tuned as the racism bill differed in many ways from existing anti-discrimination laws. In drawing up the law, drafters were referring to bills put together by former equal opportunities commissioner Anna Wu Hung-yuk and former legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai, as well as the three existing pieces of anti-discrimination legislation, Mr Fisher said. 'But while we can make use of the common elements between the existing laws, racism is a unique matter and there are a lot of technical issues to consider,' he said. Under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, for example, a person cannot be said to discriminate against someone on the basis of a relative's gender, but this can be the case with racism. 'You cannot say you were discriminated against because your wife is a woman, but with race discrimination, we need to look at the fact that different members of the same family may be of different ethnic origin,' he said. 'For example, what happens if a Chinese landlord refuses to rent an apartment to a Chinese man because his wife is Caucasian or Indian? Can this Chinese man accuse the landlord of racial discrimination or is it only his wife who has the legal standing to do so?' The concept of vilification, or incitement to hatred or discrimination, would be adapted from the Disability Discrimination Ordinance. Mr Fisher said the Home Affairs Bureau would send drafting instructions for the law to the Department of Justice, get its views and then proceed with the actual drafting, a process that would take several months. A consultation paper outlining the main principles would be released by early next year, 'as soon as we are clear in our minds as to what will go in the bill'. 'Issues such as the indirect discrimination concept, vilification and the question of which agency will be responsible for enforcing the legislation will all be flagged in the public consultation,' he said. The bureau plans to submit the completed bill to the new Legislative Council in the 2004-2005 legislative year.