A study of housing inequality in Chinese new immigrants and their needs for public housing in Hong Kong
KeywordsDiscrimination in housing - China - Hong Kong.
Immigrants - Housing - China - Hong Kong.
Public housing - Social aspects - China - Hong Kong.
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Abstract(Uncorrected OCR) ABSTRACT Housing inequality problem in Chinese new immigrants was primarily attributed from the co-existence of the government's exclusionary policy and the discriminative perceptions of the host community in the past decades. The setting up of the seven years residence qualification in our housing distributive system in 1979 undesirably restricted new arrivals' opportunities to access the public housing services. Local residents also converged with the government to defend their citizenship rights and the scarce housing resources, as new arrivals commonly acknowledged themselves to have the same social membership and hence the same opportunities to access the housing serVIces. The social and political interventions to the housing policy in 1999 eventually forced the government to expand the equality of opportunity for the new arrivals to access the housing benefits, which in turn prominently narrowed their relative equalities with the local populace. The contested linkages between the conceptions of equality, citizenship and distributive justice constitute the discussion framework of this dissertation. Conceptual analysis of various literatures guide us to draw the conclusion that albeit Chinese new arrivals are ethnically equal to the local people, their civic rights for enjoyment of social services should be based upon their citizenship status that is inextricably tied with their length of residence and deserving factors (i.e. contributions, efforts and compensation) III our society. Ideologically, failure to satisfy these prerequisites contribute an unequal status in citizenship while their disparities in receipt of housing services should be deemed as a just treatment. Since the housing distributive system in Hong Kong was designed to ensure that the less advantaged citizens can receive the same housing benefits (i.e. the equality of result) but not in the same way for entitlement (i.e. the equality of opportunity). Forcibly applying an equal treatment to the unequal people in the distribution process inevitably contravenes the principle of justice, which is unfair to the rest of the populations in our soCiety. -1- Our empirical data in social survey revealed that both local residents and Chinese new arrivals share almost the same opportunity to access housing services after relaxation of residence restriction. However, housing inequalities in terms of a worse-off position in living environment still exist in new arrival households, which is indirectly associated with the unequal employment status and wages received. We suggest that the HKSAR government should pro actively promote an equal employment opportunity by the way of civic education to the host community, which can essentially facilitate a better social assimilation of the new arrivals to the society. Lastly, our social survey indicated that Chinese new immigrants haye the same social need for the public rental housing by employing the comparative need concept as the assessment tool. They also showed a strong housing aspiration to rent a flat rather than applying subsidized housing benefits to become homeowners. In this respect, the rental allowance scheme previously shelved by the HKSAR government should be re-considered to assist the new arrivals finding a better accommodation from the private market. This can both remove the inequality problem causing from their substandard housing environment and stimulate the lacklustre private rental market in a long run. -11-
TypeThesis or Dissertation