British Chinese community must unite – Jonathan Lui

By Jonathan Lui – Diaspora Emerging Leadership Programme (DELP) Member 

The British Chinese community must unite now, more than ever before. The aftermath of the EU referendum has set a precedent for local communities and interest groups to raise their heads and seek available opportunities. In order to create better conditions for our families, community and nation, we must raise ours. By working together, we can make a long lasting difference and set a precedent for on-going development.

With approximately half a million British and another half a million members of the wider diaspora residing in the UK, our community constitutes a significant force, if we collaborate and work together. That much has been apparent for some time. Brilliant local community groups are working hard across our nation, but there is minimal interconnectivity between them. Co-operation and communication will enable us to better fulfil our needs. National engagement will also remain crucial.

The referendum result has revealed legitimate discomfort with political conduct. Many citizens are dissatisfied with the way the EU is run, their connection with politicians and certain politicians’ actions. The solution for a conscientious citizen is to vote. By exercising this democratic right, you contribute to the future of this nation, and the next steps to active engagement are closer still.

Conservative party members will elect a new leader in 3 months time, and a plan for Britain will be mapped out. The incoming leader will negotiate the terms on which to enact Article 50 – the legal mandate for the European Union to remove a member state after 2 years. That same leader may also trigger a general election. Meanwhile, community, government and business groups will be seeking opportunities for advancement. The road ahead is unknown and there will be uncertainty, which all parties can prepare for.

New immigration measures are likely to be announced in due course, further trade and investment relations will be sought and there is impetus to support localism and communities. The Chinese diaspora in Britain and those looking eastwards will continue building relations with the East. The British Chinese community can clarify and tackle its own agenda. Members of the Diaspora Emerging Leadership Programme, led by Lord Wei – a British Chinese parliamentarian, are launching KeYi, a network to connect community organisations and mobilise KeYiRen, ‘can-do time givers’, which will make a valuable difference to the lives of many and enable people to raise the profile of their local community. So, what can you do?

If you have any ideas or suggestions for what you would like to see or make happen, please let members of your community know and contribute towards their fruition. The challenge now, as it has always been, is to be heard and make change. The British Chinese community is growing in strength and ambition. These shores have been our home for over 2 centuries and we continue to shape British society. Now, we have a further opportunity still, and will make the most out of it by working together.

The current DELP cohort is launching KeYi, a community organisation network on June 29th, to find out more visit keyi.org.uk. To find out more about the DELP and to apply for the upcoming 2016/17 programme visit diasporaleadership.co.uk.

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