A new study has found that six out of 10 of the city’s Chinese residents believe prejudice against ethnic minorities is still common in Hong Kong.
But the same survey revealed growing support for giving right of abode to refugee children born in the city, and allowing some asylum seekers to work here.
And, as Hong Kong’s ties with the mainland are pulled ever tighter, nearly six in 10 urged the local government to improve its human rights policy, with freedom of speech, political freedom, treatment of asylum seekers and refugees’ rights the biggest concerns among those questioned.
Dr Isabella Ng, the study’s main writer and assistant professor at the Education University of Hong Kong, said it was encouraging to see the support the public gave to asylum seekers and refugees.
“It should be a wake-up call to the policymakers who have been consistently attacking this marginalised group,” she said.
“The survey results caution the government to handle human rights issues with care, and be aware of Hong Kong’s political legacy from a democratic and liberal tradition, and its position as an international city.”
The study, organised by the department of Asian and policy studies at the Education University and the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme, comes as the city is under a five-year periodic review by the United Nations.
Officials from several countries and regions, including Hong Kong, will meet later this year in Geneva to discuss the results of the review.