Hong Kong Chinese "orientalism": Discourse reflections on studying ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

Kim Ming LEE, Kam Yee LAW

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

21 Citations (Scopus)


In the past, the Hong Kong government insisted that Hong Kong did not have any serious racial discrimination problems, and preferred to educate the public rather than legislate the Race Discrimination Ordinance. Although the government finally conceded, the formal enactment of such an ordinance is only the first indication that the Hong Kong society confronts some form of racial discrimination. Multiculturalism in terms of mutual tolerance and recognition remains nonexistent in Hong Kong. Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong and its mainland immigrants seldom receive the recognition they deserve. These people commonly experience social exclusion and, perhaps, even outright discrimination. This chapter attempts to illustrate how the notion of Hong Kong Chinese Orientalism emerged from the racial hierarchy of white-yellowblack by reviewing the racial and ethnic discourses in China and Hong Kong. During the colonial period, the racial stereotypes that were entrenched in the colonial discourse were ingrained in the Hong Kong Chinese, who consciously and unconsciously accepted white supremacy owing to the economic and political divide between the white and yellow groups. As Hong Kong developed into an advanced economy, the economic status of the Hong Kong Chinese has elevated to a level comparable to the advanced Western countries. However, the colonial legacy remained despite the disappearance of the economic divide. Hong Kong is known as a place where East and West converge, making it a hybrid of both worlds. However, the Hong Kong Chinese are still colonial subjects who economically and even culturally match their colonizers but cannot become the colonizers themselves. Hence, the Hong Kong Chinese gradually constructed their own form of Orientalism, namely, Hong Kong Chinese Orientalism, in which they assume the inferiority of the Hong Kong ethnic minorities to define their own superiority. Copyright © 2016 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthnic minorities: Perceptions, cultural barriers and health inequalities
EditorsAna PRATT
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781634841924
ISBN (Print)9781634841917, 1634841913
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Lee, K.-m., & Law, K.-y. (2016). Hong Kong Chinese "orientalism": Discourse reflections on studying ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. In A. Pratt (Ed.), Ethnic minorities: Perceptions, cultural barriers and health inequalities (pp. 81-116). New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


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