Tag Archives: chinese liberal democrats

We don’t talk – really talk – enough about race

We don’t talk enough about race. Properly talk, that is.

It’s become obvious, as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has come to the fore with the murder of George Floyd in the United States, that, whilst many of us who consider ourselves liberals have a desire to be anti-racist and create a society where your skin colour does not determine your life chances, we lack the language and the understanding of how to achieve this.

We excel, instead, in talking around the edges of it: about statues, colonial history and political history.

If you agree, I would heartily recommend the book: “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F Saad – as an essential read, whether you are white or not. It has given me a language, terms and understanding of issues around race and discussing race that have long troubled me, that I have had no easy way to express.

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Lib Dem internationalism in practice – a member’s perspective

Liberal Democrats stand for an open society receptive to new ideas, international trade, law-law rather than war-war, cooperation amongst nations, and universal human rights. Whilst proud to be British, we oppose isolationism, nationalism, protectionism and xenophobia for political gain. We recognise the difficulties of Britain’s colonial past and support making amends.

How do sentiments such as these translate into practice, internationally, and how can members become involved?

It’s a question which is often asked in all kinds of meetups.

The coordination of international activity is undertaken by the Federal International Relations Committee, (FIRC) which is one of the party’s governing, constitutional institutions.  FIRC has a sub-committee on EU exit, known by the acronym CEUB.

There is also a foreign policy group in parliament, and a foreign policy adviser to the Party Leader.

Policy Working Groups established by the Federal Policy Committee also frequently consider UK international policy – on economics, defence, Europe, international development and other dimensions. Such work frequently involves presenting policy motions for voting at party conferences.

Cooperation with other liberal-democratic parties in Europe and the rest of the world, including policy coordination, is mostly undertaken via Brussels-based ALDE, and Liberal International.

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Welcome to Sir Ed Davey as new patron of Chinese Lib Dems

Ed Davey with Cllr Sarah Cheung Johnson, Vice-Chair of CLD

In April, Ed Davey talked to Tunbridge Wells Borough Councillor and Secretary of the Tunbridge Wells local party, Marguerita Morton, about green growth and his new role as patron of the Chinese Lib Dems. Over Zoom, Sir Ed explained how the UK must stand up for the rights of Hong Kong’s people and fight coronavirus-driven spikes in anti-Chinese racism at home.

Sir Ed would uphold the recommendations of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights in March 2019 to monitor and take appropriate measures, for any unwarranted excessive force and erosion of autonomy, rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and Basic Law. He also deplored the arrests of the 15 lawmakers against the background of the Coronavirus pandemic together with any calls for pressure on the HK judiciary or on legislators. In order to resolve the crisis of confidence of the HK people in its administration, we must call on China to uphold the “one country, two systems” rule enshrined in the Basic Law.

What are the UK’s prospects for green growth?

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Interview with Chair of Covid19 Anti-Racism Group (CARG)

Dr Yeow Poon

ME: Dr Yeow Poon, you have been the Chair of the Chinese Community Centre in Birmingham since 1995, founded the England China Business Forum in 2013 and are also a trustee of the Chinese Welfare Trust national charity. Why was it necessary to set up the Covid19 Anti-Racism Action Group (CARG)?

YP: The spread of COVID-19 in the UK has led to an increase in racism and hate crime towards British Chinese, East and Southeast Asians. Incidents ranged from children being taunted in schools to international students being violently attacked. The insistence of some political leaders and media commentators calling COVID-19 the Chinese virus, and attempts to deflect blame to China, has also further inflamed racism. CARG was set up to counter these negative narratives in the media.

ME: As of today, COVID-19 has infected nearly 2m people globally, and the UK is in lockdown with over 10,000 deaths. Why would the British public be concerned with the rise in hate crime against the Chinese and East Asian communities?

YP: Hate crime towards any community should never be tolerated. COVID-19 does not discriminate ethnically. On the frontline in the NHS, in care homes and the community, we are working together to combat and mitigate the effects of COVID-19. These selfless acts by individuals from diverse backgrounds should be applauded. Also, the many examples of mutual help and research collaboration between the UK and China should be encouraged and strengthened.

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Lest we forget… a lesson from history…

140,000 patriotic Chinese volunteered to go to the Western Front in World War 1 to help the British and the French dig trenches and perform other manual work. This was because they thought that Western democracies would appreciate their sacrifices and reward China justly after the war for her contribution.

China had been the richest and most powerful nation on earth for many centuries. However, by the time of the later Qing Dynasty China had lost two Opium wars against the British, leading to a downhill slide into semi-colonialism for the country. This period saw China being carved up like a …

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How Brexit diminishes the rights of British Nationals overseas

I was in Hong Kong in March, and most of my friends had asked me the same question: How’s the progress with BN(O) equal rights movement and how did Brexit affect it?

So what is BN(O)? It stands for British National (Overseas). According to the Home Office website, it means ‘Someone who was a British overseas territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong was able to register as a BN(O) before 1 July 1997.’ They are not granted Right of Abode anywhere, including the UK and HK.

The strict terms of BN(O) made most think that it is a travel document, but it is more than that, such as:

  1. They are eligible to join Her Majesty’s Civil Service, and are eligible to vote if they have lived in the UK for more than six months;
  2. may become British citizens by registration after residing in the UK for more than five years and possessing ILR for more than one year;
  3. would not be subjected to the annual quota of 1000 people if they wanted to apply to stay in UK under the working holiday scheme;
  4. their status is for life and is not be lost in case of Dual or Multiple Nationality, though their siblings cannot inherit the status.

According to the official figures, currently there are more than 800,000 BN(O) holders. Although the numbers are dwindling, they have no intention to withdraw it, and still use the passport to travel overseas. 

Our former leader Lord Paddy Ashdown campaigned for giving BN(O) holders the right of abode since years ago. There was also a seminar organised by the House of Lord with various campaign groups to call for the extension of BN(O) rights in March this year. 

The goal of the campaign groups is to fight for extending their rights. In a radio interview, Choy Ki, one of the representatives of BN(O) Association, mentioned, ‘BN(O) is not only a travel document, but a national identity with a lot of rights under the jurisdiction of the UK.’

The current political spectrum, however, has complicated the issue. For BN(O) holders, Brexit means our visa free travelling status to our EU neighbours could no longer be available. This is important because EU member states offered visa free travel for the HK passport holders, and most BN(O) holders are eligible to obtain one.

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Vince Cable wishes you a Happy New Year!

Embed from Getty Images

Vince Cable says:

I would like to wish a Happy New Year to our friends and members of the Chinese community in the UK and to all who celebrate Lunar New Year during this time of year. May it be a time of great joy and celebration with family and friends.

The Chinese community have long established roots in the UK, whether coming from Hong Kong, South East Asia or from the People’s Republic of China. Your contributions enrich the cultural life of all Britons, enhance our professions and bolster our economy.

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The death of Hong Kong’s freedoms

 

The Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Falkner chaired a discussion on 8th February on the demise of Hong Kong’s political freedoms since the transfer of its sovereignty to China. The event was organised by the Henry Jackson Society at the Palace of Westminster.

The speakers were Joshua Wong (a Hong Kong student and co-founder of the political party Demosisto), Angela Gui (daughter of detained publisher Gui Minhai) and Benedict Rogers (Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission).

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule.  The freedoms for Hong Kong citizens, guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, have been increasingly undermined, with additional concerns now being raised about the abduction of individuals who are not Chinese citizens and which are taking place beyond Chinese borders.

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Message to the Chinese community on how to vote in the EU Referendum

 

The Conservative government (which includes the REMAIN and LEAVE camps) together with the British media have created a lot of fog, untruths and statistics (read ‘lies’) about the EU and Britain’s membership. It does not seem meaningful to discuss IF we don’t do this we can do that, when there are countless probabilities of an IF outcome, especially outcomes that occur in the future.

My message to the Chinese community in Britain to support the REMAIN campaign is, firstly, to consider the historical context and the pursuit of peace, and secondly, the origins of the Chinese community in Britain and the values we bring to British society.

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The Chinese are coming!

Vince in ChongqingChinese Premier Li Keqiang left on Monday this week on a 5 day visit to Britain and Greece.  With him, according to the press, is a 200 strong business delegation, expected to sign up some £18 billion worth of deals.

Just over 2 weeks ago, I was part of Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable’s business delegation to China, taking in 5 cities in 6 days.  Vince was scheduled to be in Beijing to attend UK-China Joint Economic & Trade Committee (JETC) talks with his opposite number, Mr Gao HuCheng, the Minister of Commerce.

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Chinese Liberal Democrats publish e-book on twinned cities

In today’s globalised world, twin city links with China can be profitable bridges between knowledge economies if approached in a creative way by local Councils, business clusters, educational institutions and research establishments working together.  But there are many pitfalls and long-term, multi-layered commitments, leveraging existing core strengths, are required to make them work.  This report by the Chinese Liberal Democrats is a useful handbook on how 21st century twin city-led partnerships can bring valuable results in trade, investment, science and education.

Richard Pascoe- Executive Director, Great Britain China Centre

I  welcome this interesting report.  Twinning links with China, with political leadership

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Vince and the Chinese Lib Dems: “West meets East at the Roux”

Chinese Liberal Democrats Vice Chair Merlene Toh Emerson invited Vicky Wong, a freelance journalist, to attend the Chinese Liberal Democrats recent business networking event, attended by Vince Cable. Here’s Vicky’s account of the evening…

Dr Vince Cable MP, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills was keynote speaker at an “East-West Business networking event” organised by Merlene Emerson of the Chinese Liberal Democrats at the Roux at Parliament Square last week.

Dr Cable praised the work of Chinese Liberal Democrats and their role in promoting closer relations between the party and the Chinese and South East Asian community …

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Opinion: More than a Fly on the Great Wall

Great Wall of ChinaLast November I blogged here about my trip to China shortly before the Chinese leadership handover at the 18th Party Congress.  On Sunday 17 March that hand over was finally completed with Xi JinPing installed as President and Li Keqiang as Premier of the world’s emerging second super power.

China watchers have been keen to study the background of these two men to predict the future direction of the Chinese Communist  Party under  their leadership.  Their fluency in the English language and easy manner might suggest that they are more westernised hence would be “modernisers” or “reformers”.   I believe it is still early days to be using such labels.

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Merlene Emerson writes: Reflections on Media Freedom in China

I am writing this on the 22nd anniversary of ‘Six Four’ (the codename for the Tian An Men incident that occurred on 4th of June 1989). Perhaps no better day to reflect on the subject of media censorship in China and to question the role of international broadcasters?

Only yesterday I was with some 200 people at a talk organised by BBC Chinese Service at Chatham House. To my amazement even the English panel speakers such as Dr Kerry Brown (Head of the Asia Programme at Chatham House), Madeline Earp (Research Associate at the Committee to Protect Journalists) and Prof Hugo de Burgh (Director, China Media Centre) all managed to deliver their speeches in Mandarin. Sadly no interpretations were provided at this over-subscribed event.

I attempt here to disseminate some of the content (Chatham House rules have officially been suspended).

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