Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

Ethnic groups fear chief executive's policy may only be window dressing

Minority representatives are not convinced that the chief executive's statements on integration hold water and criticise his lack of commitment

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 September, 2015, 11:15am

Representatives of the city's ethnic minorities have voiced scepticism about Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's pledge to do more for them, describing his comments in Wednesday's policy address as "only window dressing".

Leung said in his speech that his administration would make every effort to ensure that minorities were treated equally. In an unprecedented move to get his point across, the cover of his policy address featured a picture of a group of children of different ethnicities.

In the speech the chief executive said: "Many [members of] ethnic minorities in Hong Kong were born and brought up here. Some of them are less successful in integrating into the community because they are unable to read and write Chinese.

"To provide an opportunity for ethnic minority students to learn Chinese more effectively, we will enhance support measures in schools. We hope that it will help nurture a new generation of people who call Hong Kong their home regardless of origin, race and religion."

Leung promised that new arrivals who settle in Hong Kong, regardless of their ethnicity, would get help integrating into the community, and that the government's youth development policies would be inclusive.

But critics of his ethnic minorities policy remain unconvinced.

Hong Kong Unison, an NGO that works with ethnic minorities, believes that much more can be done. The group was disappointed with the government's continued lack of commitment to implementing the "Chinese as a second language" policy set out in Leung's election manifesto.

"Some of the proposed measures are merely variations of old measures that have no proven record of success," a Hong Kong Unison spokesman said.

The group also said the report of a review of education policy for ethnic minorities was due this year, but that Leung had made no mention of the review in his policy address.

Tsim Sha Tsui-based immigration consultant Richard Aziz Butt, who specialises in naturalisation and passport issues for the city's ethnic minorities, had his reservations, too.

"Not one of his team is from an ethnic [minority]. How, then, can he know what's best for ethnic minorities here?" Butt said.

"It's just window dressing. Actions speak louder than words. He's just saying what he thinks people want to hear.

"None of this was mentioned as part of his manifesto when he was running for the chief executive job."