An attempt by members of the legislative council (Legco) to pass an Anti-Discrimination Bill in Hong Kong failed when the colonial government and pro-business conservative legislators defeated the motion. Considered to be "too radical" the bill covering sexual, racial and age discrimination was thrown out while opponents paid lip-service to the principle of equal opportunity. Fearing the cost this legislation wil be to Hong Kong, the government has been keen to see it that no burden would fall to the busines community.
While passing of the bill would have only been the beginning of ensuring rights, it was also an indication that Hong Kong people's rights are not foremost in the minds of its colonial rulers. A day earlier, the domestic workers, who account for 5% of Hong Kong's workforce were denied from eligibility to the Mandatory Provident Fund. Striking an "indecent proposal" by the colonial government and pro-business lobby, the law was changed so as not to provide security to all workers upon their retirement.
After 150 years as a colony of Britain, Hong Kong gets ready to be part of China in 1997. This capitalist oasis that was recently voted as the number one place in the world to do business was taken away from the China, soon after the Opium War with the British.
That war started when China tried to stop British traders from the role of "drug pushers" (of opium) to the people of Southern China. That sordid past continues to bring profit to some of the original traders, who today are the biggest companies in Hong Kong.
The corporate psyche that shaped the territory to be the bastion of free enterprise continues to deny the people of Hong Kong their basic rights. Amidst all the glitz and smeel of money is the poverty that does exist in a territory made famous for having the most Rolls Royce per capita in the world.
Governor Chris Pattern (the last British Governor of Hong Kong) portrays himself as the governor for "democracy". But isn't it a bit too late and a bit odd to talk about democracy when the colonial system is still very much intact (what with an appointed governor and Executive Council). Isn't it ironic that only in September 1995, less than two years before leaving the colony, will the people of Hong Kong finally get to elect - in a direct election - their representatives to the Legislative Council?
From Movement News Round-up, July '95, Asian Students Association (ASA), Hong Kong
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