Posted on May 23, 2005

Hong Kong Plans Support Group for South Asians

AP, May 18

Hong Kong plans to launch a support group for South Asians living in the territory, as a survey found that nearly half of the mostly Chinese population believes racial discrimination exists here.

The group aims to help South Asians better use social services and will be launched in an urban district where 18 percent of the minority group live, the Home Affairs Bureau said in a paper seen Wednesday.

The paper said some South Asians, especially Nepalese and Pakistanis, can’t use government services because they don’t speak either English or Cantonese, the Chinese dialect used in Hong Kong.

The support group will be budgeted 1.4 million Hong Kong dollars (US$180,000; €142,400) annually, the government said.

Separately, a government survey found that 49.5 percent of Hong Kongers think the territory has a racial discrimination problem.

The survey interviewed about 2,000 people by telephone in March and has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.

The government will propose planned legislation banning racial discrimination by the end of the year, a Home Affairs Bureau spokeswoman who declined to be named said.

As of 2001, more than 40,000 south Asians — many from India, Nepal and Pakistan — lived in Hong Kong, which has a total population of nearly 6.9 million, according to government statistics.