Author Archives: Weichen Li

Hong Kong’s latest policy to domestic helpers sparked controversy

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First local cases of Covid-19 variant infection is found in Tung Chung community

From the conference of Food and Health Bureau of the Government of Hong Kong on April 30, Secretary Mr Chan Siu-chee revealed that certain cases of the virus have shown a chain of transmission of the mutated virus in the community.

She pointed out that in order to step up testing and combat this, all 370,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong are now required to undergo mandatory testing by May 9. (reported by

This is a result of the first case of infection with two mutated strains of the virus was identified in a community in Hong Kong on the 29th April 2021.

The infected is a foreign home servant, who had no travel history nor contact with confirmed cases, as the authorities said. A 11-month-old girl in her care was also confirmed to be infected.

Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau on April 15 held a press conference to announce the current situation of covid-19 and said that the proportion of imported cases was quite high, at nearly 80%, up considerably from about 67% back in March. (reported by – Hong Kong Government’s latest measures on COVID-19 )

(video Link: reported by

Helpers required to get tests

The infection of the helper, 39, was forced on Thursday evening to be evacuated from the residential block in Tung Chung where she lives.

About 400 households of Tower 11 at Caribbean Coast are to be put under 21-day quarantine.

Conference – Food and Health Bureau, The Govemment of the Hong Kong Secial Administrative Region

Testing is now ongoing and the goverment’s measure sparks alarm

With many complaints of discrimination. It is disputed that the government enforce the foreign domestic helpers to take vaccination before their contracts could be renewed.

The Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said in his blog on May 2 that the purpose of requiring mandatory testing of all FDHs is to protect people. He hopes that FDHs and employers working in Hong Kong would understand the Government’s concern.

The mandatory testing measure is also applicable to other high-risk sectors and does not involve any racial or identity discrimination. (see

Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong – domestic helpers, “half of them line up for testing, half of them gathering as usual” –
“Crowds of FDHs still gathered as usual, with some not wearing masks correctly” –

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday, said the policy would be reviewed. She said the government had not decided yet on pushing ahead with its plan announced last week to have Hong Kong’s 370,000 foreign domestic workers vaccinated.

According to South China Morning Post (4 May 2021), she highlighted, “Mandatory testing is a key point of fighting against the epidemic.”

She mentioned that more than 100,000 FDHs had been tested over last weekend. In addition, tens of thousands of FDHs have take the vaccination.

The government have faith in accomplishing the mandatory testing to all FDHs in Hong Kong by May 9. (According to, 4 May 2021)

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Small private-owned enterprises and their workers

In the last decade, labour-intensive industries represented by the printing industry are gradually declining.

Many of the city centre areas were once factory areas. After going through a series of demolition and rental activities, the price of these properties has doubled compared with two years ago and many factories are no longer able to establish themselves in the city.

It is very common to witness that workers who struggle for dozens of years in Shenzhen fail to own a residence there.

Since the 2020 epidemic, the printing industry, which is already in a slump, has been further aggravated. The current situation of the entire manufacturing industry and its workforce has changed significantly from the past.

Many workers leave their hometown and head for Shenzhen in the hope of making a better living there. They work in factories for several years. All of them had such thought as once they earned sufficient savings they would return to their hometown and get married. However, the reality is different. A majority of workers choose to continue their work in these factories. After all, a steady income can be warranted. Besides, living facilities such as restaurants, groceries and dormitories are available in the industrial zone. In contrast, life in countryside is so inconvenient that even buying a bottle of water may take half an hour.

Those young workers who came to the metropolis years ago with aspirations are now married and have children. They are bearing financial pressure. After years of work, not all employees are able to master technical skills and taking up jobs with high salaries. For those who are not promoted workers with age getting elder, to leave the work of plant and find another job is an unrealistic choice. However, even if they succeed in taking another work, it is still hard for them to obtain a satisfying income.

The rapid urbanisation in Shenzhen is surprising with land rents of the urban areas soaring. As a consequence, the geographical distribution of factories change dramatically. Many factories move from the central parts of the city to the outskirts or peripheral zones with convenient transportation.

A manager of a private printing factory said, “When the real depression strikes in, we cannot bear the cost of labour when no order for good and business support company’s income, rents of the factory, management costs as well as water and electricity fees.” Therefore, many factories closed and workers don’t know where to go and what to do.

Mr Xie, a worker in a private enterprise working in the printing industry, said, “Covid-19 epidemic made many factories experience the worst situation. In order to control the epidemic, the local office had imposed a strict order to stop work, enforcing a blockade and a power cut in the factories in the industrial zones. The factories were forced to stop their business after 2020 New Year for several months, and many of them went into debt. Even now when everything is coming back to normal, whether the factories could survive still remains in doubt. Though most of them do resume full work, the number of orders has drastically reduced, making it difficult to maintain daily operations.

The condition of the workers is closely linked to the prospect of the factory. In the future, there will be fewer small-sized private factories and these plants will gradually lose their place to other larger companies in this industry.

Employee in print factory

A video piece of the interview to a employee who work in the print industry for more than 20 years.

Shiyong Xie, a worker from mainland China, came to a manufacturing based city to worker. He shared his experience and perspective to the current situation of print industry and what is it like to work in a print factory.