Written by Grace Lee – Photo by Terry Li
8th June will be another big date to mark on your calendar since the irreversible Brexit vote.
This summer, the showdown between the Conservative Party, Labour Party and other political parties is inevitable. This snap election is politically-charged and the national interest of the country is once again at stake. Perhaps it may produce an unsurprising result or deliver another shocker following the Brexit. As a British-Chinese community, what can we expect from the political parties if we were to cast our vote? Unbeknownst to many of us, Chinese for Labour believes supporting the Labour Party ensures our voice, as a community, will be heard.
About The Chinese for Labour Group
Formed in 1999, Chinese for Labour is a UK political group that strives to become the voice of the British-Chinese community – one of the fastest growing non-European ethnic groups in the UK. As the group is affiliated with the UK’s Labour Party, it shares the same mantra: by the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we achieve alone; as well as the strong sentiment on building a fairer Britain for the masses and not for the few. Chinese for Labour runs in tandem with the main party but is driven by the strong purpose of promoting the interests of the Chinese people in the Labour Party and improving the quality of life of the Chinese community in Britain.
The party also hopes to…:
• Increase the recruitment of Chinese people to the Labour Party
• Increase the involvement and representation of Chinese people within the Labour Party
• Increase Chinese support for the Labour Party at elections
With over 500,000 British-Chinese in the UK, Chinese for Labour’s main focus this year is to encourage more young British-Chinese – the voice of a new generation – to get actively involved with the organisation, and to get the Chinese votes out and to “expose this morally corrupt Conservative government” (Sonny Leong).
In a recent article, Seven Weeks to Expose Seven Years of Broken Conservative Promises, Sonny Leong CBE (currently the Chair for Chinese for Labour, a member of the Development Board of Labour Party 1000 Club and the director of Left Foot Forward), sees the General Election as “unnecessary”, believing it to be move to secure Theresa May’s position and power within her Party.
The executive board also consists of Ashton McGregor (the Vice Chair, who was a former Chair of Chinese for Labour and Labour councillor), Dr Jayne Lim (Vice Chair). Vincent Lo (Treasurer), Chris Ng (Secretary), Alex Chair (Membership Secretary), Lady Katy Blair (Women Officer), Dr Stephen Lui Nam Ng (Press Officer), Alvin Shum (Communications officer), Peter Wong (Welsh Officer) and Chris Chen (Committee Member)
So how can Chinese for Labour help the Chinese community?
Owen Jones, a journalist from The Guardian, had highlighted the “need to talk about Theresa May”. Many would think she appeared to be safe but she was the politician who wanted Britain to leave the European convention on human rights, voted against the adoption for same-sex couples, against an equal age of consent, keeping a record of 12 months’ internet activity for each person and the politician who sent those ‘Go Home’ vans around the ethnically mixed communities (as eloquently listed in the video). Stirring those far right sentiments, Theresa May is said to have also appointed the most right-wing government since the war.
How does that affect the British-Chinese community itself? Plenty. Currently, the Conservative austerity programme has cut funding for the Chinese community centres. The recent high profile funding cut of the Westminster Chinese Library, which holds the largest Chinese collection of Chinese books in the UK and is managed by a Chinese-speaking Chinese Community library, is a major blow to our community – affecting jobs, and our access and service to this public collection. Chinese for Labour will fight to save these community centres all around the UK by lobbying the main Labour party.
Chinese for Labour hopes to champion the rights of the Chinese and lobby the main party to make or change policies that directly benefit the Chinese in the UK, for example:
a) The Labour party has a compassionate stance on immigration so that genuine needs can be met such as, hiring a chef from China or getting a spouse visa.
b) With the Conservative party leaning increasingly to the right, there has been a 20% increase in hate crimes targeting ethnic minorities such as the Chinese community. Labour will be put a stop to this by recruiting 10,000 more police offices. Under Theresa May, the police have lost 20,000 officers.
c) The Labour Party vows to reduce hate crime by taking a reasonable stance on immigration and non-white people. This is very much needed in an ethnically diverse nation. If you have been a victim of hate crime, you would know the feeling of being forced to become an outsider in a place you call home. Is this the country you want to continue living in?
d) The Chinese are well known for looking after their elders and that means we have to save the NHS against being underfunded. This is what a Labour government will do.
Chinese for Labour is hoping to reach out to the British-Chinese community and urging it to play a part and change the seven years of Conservative power on 8th June 2017. It desires to campaign for an alternative vision for Britain – one that is fairer, caring and more compassionate. So do vote for Labour on 8th June 2017 if you do not wish to see a country that is divided and isolated. Chinese for Labour also wants more people from the community to get involved, to share ideas and join in events at their London headquarters.
This article is supported by Chinese for Labour.