Chinese for Labour held a very successful and enjoyable banquet to welcome in the Year of the Snake. Over 170 members and supporters attended the event on 27 February 2013 at the Phoenix Palace Restaurant in Central London. This year's event attracted many guests, among them Shadow Leader Baroness Royall, Caroline Flint, the Chinese Embassy's Counsellor Cong Peiwu and the Deputy Mayor from Paris's 13th District Buon-Huong Tan.
With the evening being ably compered by David Yip of 'The Chinese Detective' fame our surprise guest, former Prime Minister Tony Blair introduced our patron Cherie Blair. Cherie spoke of her many years of support for Chinese for Labour and the role the organisation plays in providing a link between the Labour movement and the Chinese community in Britain. Welcoming Prospective Parliamentary Candidates Sarah Owen (Hastings and Rye) and Rebecca Blake (Redditch) she reminded us of the need for Labour to increase the number of local and national candidates of Chinese heritage including by supporting the Dragon's fund.
Cherie also spoke of some of our work over the last twelve months including a very well-received Q&A with Tony and David Miliband on '40 years of UK-China diplomacy', a Party Conference fringe debate on immigration, with John Denham and IPPR, outreach to London Chinatown's employers and workers and campaigning on East Asian representation in the Arts.
Chinese for Labour Chair Sonny Leong spoke passionately about problem gambling in the Chinese community as well as the need for more individuals from the Chinese community to be recognized by the honours system. BAME Labour Chair Keith Vaz and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper spoke of the contribution of the Chinese community in promoting the richness and diversity within British society.
Greeting us in Mandarin our keynote speaker, Shadow Foreign Secretary spoke of his family's historical links with China, his grandparents helping to set up the medical school in Shenyang in the Liaoning Province and his mother being born in China. He also spoke of his visits to China and on bilateral relations between China and Britain. Finally Labour Leader, Ed Miliband looked forward to the Year of the Snake which symbolizes prosperity, arguing for a 'One Nation' economy that rewards the forgotten wealth creators and works for us all. He praised the Chinese community's contribution to Britain's economy and its cultural life, with a hope that its presence would be felt more in our political life.
Throughout the evening we were entertained by the fabulous singer-songwriter, Kristina Lao. As always, the diners enjoyed some of the best Chinese cuisine in London and went away with goody bags, raffle prizes and some impressive auction items, donated by many generous supporters.
Our thanks go to all donors and our generous sponsors, especially Mr Raymond Siu of Phoenix Palace Restaurant, all of whom helped us make the evening one to remember. We hope to see you all in 2014, the Year of the Horse.