Cllr Sarah Cheung-Johnson takes the helm of Chinese LibDems

At a virtual AGM last Sunday, South Cambridgeshire Councillor Sarah Cheung-Johnson (pictured) was unanimously elected as the new Chair Chinese LibDems (CLD) for 2022. The meeting was well attended including by members from the Korean and Vietnamese diaspora communities.

This has of course been the vision of CLDs. – To be a network representing not just Chinese people but those of East and SE Asian heritage as well. In fact CLDs attempted a name change to BESEA (British East/South-East Asian) or CESEA in the past year, but the resolution did not pass.

During the formal part of the meeting, attendees received reports on the activities of CLDs over the past year including a virtual Chinese New Year celebration in February with Sir Vince Cable as guest speaker.  Members of the CLD executive Linda Chung, Victoria Collins and Dr Yeow Poon have also been active in the anti-racism campaign (CARG – Covid19 Anti Racism Group) including participation in rallies in London and Birmingham.

On Hongkong, CLDs worked with LibDems Overseas and the Paddy Ashdown Forum to hold a webinar on the situation there and with guest speakers from HongKongers in Britain considered how we can support British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders who have moved to the UK.  Richmond Council was the first Council to have passed a motion welcoming HongKongers. CLD have since drafted a template motion that can be adopted by Councils, both for those in control as well as in opposition. 

As in the past 15 years, CLDs took part in the LibDems Spring and Autumn conferences, and made a recruitment video for our virtual booth.

Last but not least CLD exec members Dr Yeow Poon, Paul Reynolds and Merlene Emerson were co-editors for a book of essays on China published under the auspices of the Paddy Ashdown Forum in September. The book is available via Amazon and the pdf is free to download on the PAF website

We continue to support Candidates of BESEA background who wish to stand in general and local elections and encourage those interested to come forward. This was highlighted by the Treasurer’s report; 2020 was a year with no general and few local elections and CLDs therefore managed to return a surplus for a change. However, moving forwards, we will need to fundraise to prepare for local elections next year where we will be supporting a few Chinese Libdem candidates standing in local elections, from London to Aberdeenshire.

Thanks to Roger Crouch, our Returning Officer, election of the new executive team was a smooth affair with the following line up for 2022:

Chair –  Cllr Sarah Cheung Johnson
Vice Chair – Victoria Collins
Secretary – vacant
Treasurer – Merlene Emerson
Membership Officer – Amanda Jeyaretnam

Ordinary members of Executive: Linda Chung, Cllr Yukteshwar Kumar, Cllr Marguerita Morton, David Nam and Emma Knuckey.

Robert Kim and An Dao Carrick were also co-opted onto the committee representing the Korean and Vietnamese communities respectively and Dr Yeow Poon was unanimously elected as Hon President of CLDs.

There was then a stimulating and animated address by guest speaker Amy Phung from BESEA.n following the formal part of the meeting.

* Merlene was co-founder of Chinese Liberal Democrats and on the executive of the LibDems Overseas. She co-edited “Rise of China – Fresh Insights and Observations” published by the Paddy Ashdown Forum (2021)

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