Tag Archives: Chinese Lib Dems

Myanmar Executions, what now? 

After the initial burst of news, there have been few updates in the UK press on the situation in Myanmar following the military coup in February 2021.  This was till recently on 25th July 2022, when the military rulers announced that 4 democracy activists were executed.  According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), these 4 executions “were the first carried out among some 117 death sentences handed down by military-run courts since the coup”.

Chinese Libdems posted two articles on Myanmar previously Standing with Myanmar – Military rule and the struggle for democracy in Myanmar (March 2021) and Myanmar’s Simmering War and UK’s moral duty (June 2021).  Given recent developments, it is perhaps timely to give an update on the situation.  

Based on our research, we have gleaned the following:
– Myanmar is in early stages of civil war.  The pro-democracy groups have set up a National Unity Government (NUG) and has established a People’s Defence Force (PDF).  Other armed groups are the Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAO) and the Sit-Tat (Myanmar Armed Forces belonging to the Junta).

– Myanmar is fragmented along conflict lines.  Some areas are under NUG control, and others by the various EAOs and the SIT-Tat.  Some areas would be in conflict as between government and rebel groups.  There is also a breakdown of national institutions (i.e., the military government) with some villages establishing their own administrative bodies.

In July 2022, China’s foreign minister during his first visit since the coup, “called for Myanmar’s junta to hold talks with its opponents.  The Junta would of course want to retain power as far as possible and is currently set on destroying the NUG despite calling themselves a transition government.  The NUG on the other hand is far from united with some seeking the replacement of the 2008 Constitution without any power sharing arrangements.  The execution of the 4 political activists can only stiffen the resolve of the NUG to defeat the Junta.

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Why I’m sick of being the invisible minority and why we need to change!

Chinese families live in every community in the UK. Some of the smallest, remotest villages in the UK will still have one Chinese takeaway. And yet we and other East and Southeast Asian minorities are consistently under-represented in the media and in positions of power – in businesses, in the judiciary, the legislature and most other institutions of note.

Hey, have you seen the Chinese family in Eastenders? No? That’s cos they don’t exist – it only started in 1985, maybe they just didn’t get around to it yet. Oh wait, how about the East or Southeast Asian celebrity that’s taken part on Strictly Come Dancing, the biggest show on TV? No? Having just completed its 19th season maybe they couldn’t find anyone…

And on and on it goes. I have young, mixed-race children and their own experience with a lack of representation moved me to start a petition to ask CBeebies to feature a storyteller who was from an East or South East Asian background on their flagship CBeebies Bedtimes stories. They’ve filmed over 800 episodes featuring many diverse guests, Marvel superhero actors, Hollywood stars, Olympic champions and many more. But in the 4 years my kids have been watching them at bedtime, not one has been someone who looks like them.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

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.

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Joint statement from LDCRE, BLAC, Lib Dem Muslim Forum and Chinese Lib Dems

More than a year has passed since the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement stunned the world into vowing to take racism more seriously.

Tackling racism, however, always needs to begin at home, and both Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality (LDCRE) and Liberal Democrats Black Lives Action Committee (BLAC) had hoped BLM would propel the party into making faster progress to increase membership and electoral support from ethnic minorities.

LDCRE made a major submission, duly accepted, to the Thornhill Review. The Review’s recommendations included that the party fulfil the recommendations of the earlier Alderdice Review “in full, with urgency”. It added the party should:

  • revise targeting strategy to include the BAME electorate particularly in the most diverse areas,
  • Change the culture of the party to embed at all levels the concerns and interests of BAME communities and issues in all its activities, reaches out to the BAME communities and actively plan how it will achieve real integration at all levels.
  • Ensure resources – paid staff and investment – are in place to implement this.
  • Help local parties reflect the demographic of the electorate they represent.

Alderdice made crystal clear that the party has to make ethnic diversity – not diversity in general – its top priority. Alderdice said: ”In the Liberal Democrats the commitment to diversity and the campaigns to make diversity happen have brought significant changes and improvements for women and LGBT+ members and representation, but not for BaME members and representation.” He stated that ethnic diversity now had to be a “Number 1” priority issue for the party. “The party has a tendency to try to be inclusive of all issues at all times and that has an intellectual appeal, but it has not worked for BaME communities, because addressing everything means focussing on nothing.”

He added: “Every local association needs to compare the make-up of the population in their area with the make-up of the local party, the make-up of the officers in the local party, and whether their activities, leaflets and preoccupations are reflective of the local community.”

So it is incomprehensible that the leadership, who were given responsibility for carrying out the recommendations, are doing precisely the opposite of what Alderdice recommended. It has embarked on a general equality, diversity and inclusion policy that does not prioritise ethnic minorities, and has no plans to lead a campaign to help local parties reach out to local communities.

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