Hong Kong

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Discrimination in Hong Kong

Although Hong Kong is taking big steps towards a progressive society, discrimination in Hong Kong is still prevalent. However equal rights are considered increasingly important and the government has taken measures against discrimination in Hong Kong. Read our guide to learn more.
Discrimination is still a major problem in Hong Kong.

Discrimination in Hong Kong: What to Expect

Hong Kong has the reputation of being a multicultural city with a mixture of Western and Eastern influences. Despite different government measures to reduce discrimination in schools in Hong Kong, the workplace and everywhere else, discrimination in Hong Kong is still widespread. The government has already addressed different issues and forms of discrimination in Hong Kong, taking race, sex, family status, or disability into account.

At the same time, however, discrimination in Hong Kong on the grounds of sexuality or sexual orientation has been ignored so far. The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Hong Kong is growing; yet the government still has not taken action against homophobia in Hong Kong.

Discrimination in Hong Kong: Racism and Sexism in Hong Kong

5% of Hong Kong’s population is part of an ethnic minority, including Nepalese, Indian, Pakistani, and Filipino. This multiculturalism has lead to the government finally addressing issues of racial discrimination in Hong Kong. Racial discrimination in Hong Kong is a problem which has long been ignored. Workers from Mainland China are often subject to discrimination in Hong Kong as well. As a result, the percentage of complaints people made to the Equal Opportunities Commission concerning racial discrimination reached a peak of 31% in 2003.

Sexism is another major problem in Hong Kong, although women make up 45% of the labor force and enjoy the same access to education as men. In the business world, gender discrimination often manifests in lower salaries and fewer career opportunities for women. Chinese tradition also plays a certain role in this, as boys and men usually enjoy preferential treatment according to Confucian values.

Discrimination in Hong Kong: The LGBT Community

Hong Kong’s LGBT community is constantly growing with numerous gay clubs and bars all around the city. But although, places to go and spend your time as a member of the LGBT community are plenty, Hong Kong is still far behind on gay rights. Homosexuality wasn’t decriminalized in Hong Kong until 1991 after an on-going debate which had lasted for over ten years.

Up to this date, no non-discrimination ordinance exists to protect LGBT people. The highest level of homophobia takes place in the education sector where students as well as teachers suffer from ongoing discrimination and harassment.

Still, there are changes among the LGBT community. Gay-rights organizations and support groups like IDAHO or Fruits in Suits have increased throughout the city and are getting more and more public support. In 2008, they organized the first gay pride parade in Hong Kong, which was attended by many people, among them expats and citizens from the Chinese mainland.


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