Pro-Beijing lawmaker Ann Chiang said she regrets comparing her rivals to mental patients for trying to stop a controversial copyright amendment bill.
Chiang said she did not mean to single out anyone but stopped short of retracting her remarks or making an official apology, Ming Pao Daily reports.
She said she was expressing her frustrations at some of her colleagues in the Legislative Council.
On Wednesday, Chiang said filibustering lawmakers are “like mental patients and we are like psychiatrists who are forced to listen to them and could end up being as insane as them”.
As a result, psychiatrists are more likely to suffer from mental disorder than others, she said.
Chiang made the comment after pan-democrats repeatedly called for a roll call to see if there was a quorum.
The Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists struck back, saying Chiang’s comment was unfounded and discriminatory.
The group demanded an apology.
Other professional organizations weighed in, including the Hong Kong Medical Association, Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union, Hong Kong Council of Social Service and Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities.
The Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union has started an online petition to demand a formal apology from Chiang.
The Equal Opportunities Commission called Chiang’s comment inappropriate and said it will only deepen public misconceptions about mental illness.
Chiang said she will write letters or visit concerned institutions to explain her side.
Hong Kong law prohibits discrimination against anyone on the basis disability.
But Chiang might not be liable under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance because she is protected by legislative privilege, having made the remarks in a Legco session, according to sources.
Psychiatrists blast lawmaker over ‘mental patient’ comment (Dec. 17, 2015)
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