Poll: More Chi­nese seek­ing public of­fice in UK

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Lib­eral Democrats are field­ing three eth­nic Chi­nese can­di­dates — Steven Che­ung, Philip Ling and Alexander Pay­ton. The Green Party has one, James Chan, and Labour two, Sarah Owen and Re­becca Blake.

There were seven eth­nic Chi­nese can­di­dates at the last gen­eral elec­tion in 2010, and none won a seat in the House of Com­mons.

With the rapid growth in the num­ber of skilled im­mi­grants and stu­dents from China set­tling in Bri­tain, there has been a po­lit­i­cal awak­en­ing and a grow­ing de­sire to have their voices heard, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts.

“For a long time, the Chi­nese com­mu­nity has stayed out­side the po­lit­i­cal process in the UK,” said Joseph Wu, a mem­ber of the Bri­tish Chi­nese Project. “Few Chi­nese can­di­dates have stood in elec­tions. But in the last five years we have seen the Chi­nese be­com­ing en­gaged in a wide range of po­lit­i­cal events and mak­ing use of the Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal process to voice their con­cerns.

“With the in­creased Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the UK and Europe, par­ties in­creas­ingly rec­og­nize the need to en­gage the Bri­tish Chi­nese com­mu­nity.”

He said he hoped the 11 can­di­dates will in­spire more Chi­nese to be­come in­volved in pol­i­tics.

The Bri­tish

Chi­nese Project, work­ing with an­other or­ga­ni­za­tion that pushes for in­creased in­volve­ment in Bri­tish pol­i­tics, ar­ranged a cam­paign bus tour pro­mot­ing voter reg­is­tra­tion in the run-up to the elec­tion. The ini­tia­tive helped to make the com­mu­nity more vis­i­ble to the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

“We need to vote and make Chi­nese voices heard by the gov­ern­ment,” said Christine Lee, founder and chair­woman of the Bri­tish Chi­nese Project.

Anna Man­wah Lo, a Hong Kong-born politi­cian who won a North­ern Ire­land As­sem­bly seat in 2007, was the first East Asian to be elected to a leg­isla­tive body in the UK. Lord Wei, a Con­ser­va­tive peer and chair­man of Con­ser­va­tive Friends of the Chi­nese, sits in the House of Lords, Bri­tain’s un­elected up­per cham­ber.

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