Legislative Council (“Legco”) member, Mr. Raymond Chan Chi-chuen was verbally abused by two women on his sexual orientation in Hong Kong subway earlier this week. In its editorial today, Headline Daily commented that Mr. Chan deserved to be treated this way. This is utterly disappointing, as Headline Daily did not only fail to speak up for and/or defend the victim, they helped spread such hate speech.
In Headline Daily’s commentary, they quoted as an example that “some” Legco members use foul language. That way, they sought to attribute other Legislative Council members’ conduct to Mr. Chan. If in fact Mr. Chan has never used foul language at Legco meetings but yet be labelled by Headline Daily as a “foul language Legco member”, this could well constitute defamation.
Even if Mr. Chan is a Legco member who uses foul language, does it mean that we should tolerate the use of hate speech based on a person’s sexual orientation? Citizens can of course have reservations about the political stance or ability of a Legco member. They can be dissatisfied too but to criticise and attack a Legco member based on his features such as gender, race or sexual orientation is plainly unacceptable.
A person, regardless of gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc., should be treated equally and fairly. If the incident happened to a disabled person or a member of an ethnic minority, section 46 of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance or section 45 of the Race Discrimination Ordinance concerning vilification may already have been breached. Regrettably, there is currently no legislation in Hong Kong in relation to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
There was one citizen who was courageous enough to defend Mr. Chan in the subway. Her sense of justice poses a stark contrast to Headline Daily’s commentary. By referring to irrelevant events and people in its commentary, it does not only show that Headline Daily has no empathy and respect towards sexual minorities, but also that they are willing to turn a deaf ear to real issues and twist facts to suit theories. We are extremely disappointed by fallacies in this piece of so-called “editorial”.
Progressive Lawyers Group 3 June 2015
Article originally appeared in Stand News on 3 June 2015