Hong Kong Racism on Display over Vax Demand for Domestics

Foreign domestic workers’ group demands apology over ‘arrogant’ remark as city plans to require Covid-19 shots

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has suspended a controversial policy requiring that all domestic servants be tested and vaccinated for the Covid-19 coronavirus or leave the city after an outcry in Jakarta and Manila and objections in the city itself by leaders of the 330,000 domestics.

Lam said the policy would be reviewed amid complaints of discrimination against the poorly-pad servant classes, most of them brown-skinned from the Philippines or Indonesia over recent demands that all domestics get tested although such demands don’t apply to the general population, local or foreign, triggering indignation in the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries.

On May 3, a group representing the territory’s foreign domestic workers asked for an apology from the Labor Department after Law Chi-kwong, the Secretary for Labor and Welfare Law, said the workers can opt not to work in Hong Kong if they don’t want to undergo the vaccinations.

That was viewed both in Hong Kong and other capitals as a direct threat to tie working rights to a requirement for vaccination and was called “clearly an act of discrimination and stigmatization against migrant domestic workers" by Dolores Balladares Pelaez, a representative of the Asian Migrant Coordinating Body (ACMB).

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