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We would like to invite you to join us at Labour Connected, the virtual replacement of this year's Party Conference, for a panel event with Sarah Owen MP, Chair of Chinese for Labour taking place on Tuesday 22 September 14:30-15:30.

On the panel, we will have:

  • Sarah Owen MP, Chair of Chinese for Labour and PPS to the Shadow Foreign Secretary
  • Simon Cheng, Hong Kong activist and founder of Hongkongers in Britain
  • Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director at the World Uyghur Congress and advisor to the Interparliamentary Alliance on China
  • Hau-Yu Tam, student activist and campaigner for End the Virus of Racism (https://www.endthevirusofracism.com/)

The past year has been particularly testing for East/Southeast Asian communities: the growing boldness of the CCP in tightening control over its citizens; rising tensions between China, its neighbours, and the West; and for East/Southeast Asians here in the UK, increased racial attacks over the course of the Covid pandemic. This exacerbates the ongoing issue of low political engagement amongst the BESEA community. We have brought together an exciting panel to discuss a way forward. 

To sign up, please register for Labour Connected (free for Labour members). We will send round more specific joining instructions closer to the time - but please make sure you're registered for Connected here: labour.org.uk/labour-connected/ 

Best wishes, and hope to see you there!

Chinese for Labour

Panel event: Repression and Prejudice: the challenges faced by East Asian communities at home and overseas

We would like to invite you to join us at Labour Connected, the virtual replacement of this year's Party Conference, for a panel event with Sarah Owen MP, Chair of...

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Dr Edward KWAN

Time flies. I was one of the guest speakers of the captioned sharing held at the China Exchange Chinatown London last August. SCMP journalist Mdm Hilary Clarke was there covering the talk. We later had a discussion over Chinese dim sum on issues related to the risk of gambling addiction that overseas Chinese students face when they landed in the UK for studies. Clarke later published an article on 2019-08-19 to raise attention to this concern. (Click HERE)

Later on 2019-12-09, I shared the same concern in my 微博 Weibo and had about 2000 readers on the article (translated to English below):

"Chinese families are getting richer, and the number of students studying in the UK is increasing every year. In September 2019, there were about Chinese 120,000 international students studying in the UK. Parents have to know that their children studying in the UK are facing the risk of gambling addiction. Therefore, parents should pay attention to their financial situation and tell them that gambling could be addictive.

Ladbrokes gambling group is the largest gambling company in the UK, with more than 4,000 betting shops in the UK (still increasing). Therefore, it should be easy for a lone student to find a local Ladbrokes gambling store near his/her school."

2019 UK - Gambling Commission of the UK found that more than 50K of children have gambling problems. Following the death of Jack Ritchie, the UK's first gambling clinic for children and young adults is open in 2019. Apparently, the Labour Party UK has put in some efforts to raise awareness as well as action to deal with this UK's 'hidden epidemic' that has been long neglected by neoliberalists in power. The author hopes that the opening of the clinic could be a positive factor against gambling risk for the 120,000 Chinese students studying in the UK. As a matter of consumer/youth protection, though Chinese students are not locals, being consumers of UK education services they should be protected and treated like local British youth as they are thousands mile away from home in the mainland.

Chinese parents should be aware that their proud investment in sending children away for overseas study is subject to risk of substantial 'loss' because our world is already globally gambalized. Parental naivety could mean 'casualty' to everyone in the family.

Gambling Risk to Chinese students in the UK

Dr Edward KWAN Time flies. I was one of the guest speakers of the captioned sharing held at the China Exchange Chinatown London last August. SCMP journalist Mdm Hilary Clarke...

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Harmful media stereotypes are exacerbating the everyday racism faced by British East Asians, writes Sarah Owen MP

The Times’ lazy accusation that Chinese for Labour has ties with the Chinese Government will exacerbate the everyday racism faced by British East and South East Asians. What’s more, it plays directly into the hands of the CCP’s anti-West tactics, sowing divisions which make it harder to bring about change in China on fundamental issues like human rights.

If you live in the UK and look Chinese, you will be well-accustomed to casual stereotyping. But one particular form of racism has become especially painful recently: the assumption that anyone with Chinese heritage is a supporter of the Chinese Communist Party.

I chair Chinese for Labour, one of the twenty Socialist Societies formally affiliated with the Labour Party (alongside the Jewish Labour Movement, LGBT+ Labour and the Fabians). We campaign for greater political engagement amongst British Chinese, East and Southeast Asian communities; and campaign on issues relevant to them. This has included supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong; highlighting human rights abuses of Uighurs in Xinjiang; and supporting the calls from Labour’s front bench for more robust responses on these issues.

Despite this, our organisation often comes under greater scrutiny from those who are – rightly – wary of CCP influence in British politics. At last year’s Party Conference, members of Chinese for Labour were asked several times who funds us (clue: it’s not the CCP). However, while the average Party member can be forgiven for not knowing our aims, one would expect a national newspaper to do basic research ahead of publishing an article about us.

That’s why we were taken aback when The Times published a piece alleging that Chinese for Labour has been “infiltrated” by the CCP. Even more surprising was the blatancy with which the article relied on racist generalisations for evidence. Quoting Australian author Clive Hamilton, the article reads: “With names like ‘Chinese for Labour’…they are part of the CCP’s programme of injecting people they trust into positions of political influence”. This is a textbook example of conflating the Chinese people, and people of Chinese heritage in Britain, with the authoritarian Chinese government. In making so explicit the inference from our organisation’s Chinese-ness to an alleged relationship with the CCP, Mr Hamilton “said the quiet part loud”. No effort was made to disguise the racial generalisation underlying his claim.

The article also cites meetings between CfL and a representative from China’s UFWD, the governmental office which manages relations with overseas individuals and organisations. While we are under no false impressions as to the conflicts between our aims and those of the UFWD, it is inevitable that in working to support Chinese communities in Britain, we have some communication with their staff. In fact any official communication any person, organisation or indeed Government makes will mean some contact with a CCP representative - given it is a one party state of which nearly every official has to be a member of, it would be hard not to. The double standard that if you go to China or have to communicate with Chinese officials, it is ok if you’re ‘white’ but not if you’re ‘yellow’, is blatant. In May 2019, British government officials took a trade trip to China - the 20 strong delegation included the permanent secretaries of the departments for business; digital and culture; exiting the EU; trade - they met their counterparts in the Chinese government, yet nowhere in print has this raised suspicions that these delegates have been infiltrated or are doing the dealings of the CCP. And indeed it shouldn’t, because like it or not, the idea that we can tackle serious issues like climate change without conversations with China, is not the reality we currently live in.

At best, The Times’ article was lazy journalism. You only have to scroll through Chinese for Labour’s Twitter feed, glance at our website’s blog, or flick through the leaflets at our Conference stall to know what we stand for. Either their reporter didn’t bother, or they ignored the evidence for the sake of a click-bait headline.

However, this wasn’t just a harmless journalistic error. If respected British newspapers act as though all Chinese-heritage people are tied to China’s current administration, they will be pushed out of mainstream political spaces – including those who are campaigning for the freedoms of their relatives and friends in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

With Boris Johnson nowhere to be seen, Donald Trump dominates the international agenda. There needs to be a grown-up voice from the UK that ensures that tough criticism of the Chinese State does not slip into racism, lazy or otherwise, against the Chinese and East Asian citizens who are an integral part of our diverse culture.

Calling Times on Racism - We’re East Asians, but we’re not tied to the Chinese Communist Party

Harmful media stereotypes are exacerbating the everyday racism faced by British East Asians, writes Sarah Owen MP The Times’ lazy accusation that Chinese for Labour has ties with the Chinese...

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