Multiculturalism with Hong Kong Characteristics : A Qualitative Study

Gizem ARAT*, Narine N. KERELIAN, Manoj DHAR

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Hong Kong (a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China) is promoted as “Asia’s World City” due to its interconnectivity, East-meets-West geopolitical orientation, and composition of migrants from both Asian and non-Asian countries. Hong Kong-based scholars have suggested that Hong Kong’s policy towards the social inclusion of non-Chinese communities is ambiguous. For example, the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) lacks an informative description of racial discrimination, which may lead to shortcomings in ethnic minority protections under the current social policy for integration (e.g., ethnic minorities’ experiences related to religious discrimination). Most of the non-White ethnic minority population of Hong Kong consists of low-income South Asians and Southeast Asians, with some ethnic groups (e.g., Nepalese) reported to reside in socially segregated districts. Furthermore, scholars have highlighted that current social policy in Hong Kong appears to be partially or completely different from Western-based approaches to multiculturalism, necessitating further examination to promote social inclusion. To fill this gap, this study explores the perspectives of Chinese and non-Chinese individuals regarding multiculturalism in Hong Kong. The study adopts a qualitative research design and includes interviews with twenty ethnically Chinese and non-Chinese teachers serving minorities in Hong Kong. Three themes emerge in this study: 1) a general understanding of multiculturalism as diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds, mutual understanding and acceptance, and inclusive social harmony and social justice; 2) perceptions of Hong Kong-based multiculturalism and the perceived hierarchy of ethnic groups; and 3) the main differences between Western and Hong Kong-based multiculturalism, including more acceptance of diversity in the West and geographic location. In sum, this study provides recommendations to ensure a respectful and ethical inclusion of non-White ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, such as developing a tailor-made policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-211
Number of pages21
JournalDu Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
Issue number1
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the first author’s affiliated university: Faculty Research Grant, 102177, Faculty of Social Sciences, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China. The points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not represent the official views of the institution/the funding body. The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.


  • Multiculturalism
  • Ethnic Minorities
  • Hong Kong
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Social Policy
  • Social Inclusion
  • Social Harmony
  • Social Justice


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