In a second round of the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, SKH Chan Young Secondary School and CCC Kei Yuen College debated the motion that "Hong Kong is taking care of mainland immigrants arriving here since 2006".
The debate took place on April 15 at SKH Chan Young Secondary School, with Chan Young taking the negative stance and Kei Yuen the affirmative.
The debate was adjudicated by three English teachers: Roula Andreadakis from HKTA Tang Hin Memorial Secondary School, Calvin Foo from SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School and Ian Sanderson from TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College.
The adjudicators decided to give the edge to Chan Young because they were better able to relate their speeches to the team line.
"The first speakers of both teams were able to present the team line, which was good," said Foo. "The negative team's line was that the government actively discriminated against new immigrants, and they were able to focus on telling the audience the problems faced by new immigrants and how they encountered this discrimination."
On the other hand, the adjudicators felt that the affirmative team was not able to follow through on what was stated as the team line. "The affirmative mentioned that the government had several policies to help new immigrants, but could not produce figures to back up their case when the negative team asked for them," Foo said. "If they had mentioned things like the government supporting 97 per cent of new immigrants' medical expenses, or the reduction in the waiting time for public housing, they would have been much stronger."
The affirmative built their case on the fact the government had policies in healthcare, housing and education to help new immigrants. They said there were 30 NGOs running training programmes to help new immigrants settle in.
The negative questioned the effectiveness of these projects and raised the issue of discrimination. The second speaker for the negative, Form One student Tiffany Pang Chung-yan, said: "There are many online forums containing offensive messages towards new immigrants and they are not protected under the new racial discrimination law because they are Chinese."
The third speaker for the negative, Klarissa Ngo of Form Five, said there was not enough education on discrimination. "The media and online forums are calling new immigrants 'parasites'," she said.
Foo said both teams needed to do better research. "I think the research by both teams was weak and lacked academic evidence to support arguments."
The contest is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.