Friday, 8 April 2011

Chinese Coronation Street

ITV's Coronation Street has a new Chinese character - Xin Chiang played by British Chinese actress Elizabeth Tan, she is the third Chinese character to appear on the soap after 'kae lae fae' fish n chip's shop owner Mr Wong played by Daryl Kwan in 2005 and Jasmine Choong played by Lucille Soong in 1969 http://coronationstreet.wikia.com/wiki/Lucille_Soong
http://coronationstreet.wikia.com/wiki/Mr_Wong

In consideration of the programme's efforts to promote Manchester's under represented  Chinese community, Weatherfield's newest Chinese character could not have been portrayed in a more negative light.  Xin is a Chinese restaurant worker on the verge of becoming an illegal immigrant courtesy of a expiring student visa, she plots a sham marriage to her friend's White boyfriend in an attempt to stay in the UK. Only a non-Chinese could have drummed up such a  cornball  storyline that reads like a press statement released by the UK Border Agency. If  Mr.Collinson's agenda is stigmatic racial stereotyping of the British Chinese community, at least interject some counterfeit DVD's.

The problems with her character are profuse, where exactly  did she get off the boat from? Mainland Chinese account for most Chinese sham marriages in the UK, but she bears little resemblance to a mainlander, her persona is strikingly South East Asian. Indeed, her name Xin Chiang, 'Chiang' is not a mainland name, hedge your bets on Singapore, Malaysia or Taiwan. Regardless of her origin, her character is supposed to be a FOB, but  listen to her accent. (Watch segment  10:19 - 11:40) .



At the start, her 'un-fobby' accent is unmistakably British middle class, it sounds remarkably like Myleene Klass, but towards the end - "we must get it right or we'll all suffer the consequences," it breaks out into Fu Man Chu.

Xin is aged 24, but how many sham marriages in the UK involve 24 year olds on expiring student visa's? From past experience of working in catering, students who overstayed their Visa did work in Chinese catering establishments, but this was over a decade ago, it is doubtful students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are still following their predecessors, although one cannot be certain about Malaysia. Today, overseas Students from the Far East tend to be very middle class, many are so wealthy they don't need to work to support their studies, sham marriages are certainly not required, those who are desperate can simply depart for countries with less restrictive immigration laws.

As attractive as Xin is, a Wendy Deng she most certainly isn't, if She was uber-smart, she would marry  legitimately without the need for a sham marriage and then petition for divorce, not only would she avoid paying the sham marriage fee but take half his assets too. Or alternatively, she could find herself a nice British Chinese male instead, but this is verboten in the western media, attractive Chinese women are portrayed as either prostitutes, wives or girlfriends for White men, surprise surprise...Elizabeth Tan previously played a prostitute in Hotel Babylon. Xin's character has been introduced in Corrie purely for the benefit of a White audience.

The storyline reflects some of the more contentious topical immigration issues that have been avidly covered by the British press of late - detected sham marriages in the UK have reportedly risen from 282 to 934 in the last 4 years.

The most memorable story is that of  an Englishman who tried to marry off his mentally ill sister to a Mainland Chinese national, he himself was already married to the Chinese man's sister in a previous sham marriage. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8426289.stml

Not to mention the continuing demonisation of the British Chinese catering industry through the UK Border Agency's publicised raids on Chinese catering establishments. http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.com/2011/03/british-chinese-takeaway-racism-uk.html

Whilst the aforementioned immigration issues provide fodder for soap opera scripts, the current Chinese storyline in Coronation Street is racist, misleading and irresponsible in suggesting Chinese students are widely abusing the student visa system, rather students from the Indian sub-continent are the main culprits, the UK government suspended student visa applications from Pakistan last year and Northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal earlier this year.

To write a complaint to ITV: http://www.itv.com/contactus/itvcomfeedback/default.html

Written by BBCZeitgeist (British Born Chinese blogger)  http://www.bbczeitgeist.blogspot.com/

15 comments:

  1. falling on deaf ears, as always. In America the Chinese are geeks, martial artists, triads and laundry owners. In Britain they're illegal immigrants, sell DVDs, the women are prostitutes (like America) and the only contribution according to the British is takeaway food. Unfortunately they conveniently forget they are the hardest working and most productive ethnic minority group in their respective countries - whereas other racial groups tend to be the least productive, most reliant on the state and welfare benefits.

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  2. I couldn't agree more, it is tough for Asian actors in the western world. I wonder if ITV received any complaints about this storyline.

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  3. Im a chinese actor
    chrisli.co.uk

    how can i get in touch with you ?

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  4. Hi chris, nice website, I like your work, not the usual stereotypical roles. I'll send you an email.

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  5. As if there would not be a host of middle aged British men who would be willing to marry this pretty girl straight away! But if they cast a minger who spoke with a barely intelligible accent it would be a ratings killer. At least they are making an effort and having a go. How come East Enders still has never had a Chinese character? That's where you should be directing your anger. Either they have a Chinese story or not. Surely its better to have one, even if the casting is wrong?

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  6. Jury's out on that one. Is it even a Chinese storyline? Isn't it a story about an illegal immigrant who just happens to be Chinese, couldn't they replace her with a Nepalese, Indian etc without even altering the script (except her name)?

    Btw, Eastenders has had a Chinese character before. Elaine Tan played Li Chong. She was the girl friend of Mickey Miller and supplied him with....you've guessed it - DVD's.

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  7. Rather not have a Chinese in a storyline if its gonna make us look bad. EA only shows Chinese women as white mans whores. And as long as we dont say anything, then...they're RIGHT!

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  8. And the Chinese women seem to love it! I guess they have a fetish for being abused.

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  9. Plenty aspiring careerist Western Chinese women have been brainwashed by imperialist media thing for being abused by white men. Psychologically its exciting for them to be beaten to a pulp because that makes them feel wanted and makes up for the lack of 'strength' that us East Asian /Chinese men supposedly have.

    This show just carries on this fine , fine tradition.

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  10. anyone where she's from originally? corrie elizabeth tan singapore malaysia?

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  11. coronation street xin has left the show now? permanently?

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  12. They're going to replace her at some point with some other me sucky fucky stereotype no doubt. as a BBC it feels great to be fairly represented on tv. how exotic!

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  13. Let’s go wherever you want. If you want business tour, tourist visa for china and visit visa for any country. Its sure time for china visa, china visa application, Chinese Visa London China Visa UK and China Visa Agency.

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  14. 'nice British Chinese male' Bullshit. Chinese males in Britain who only date Chinese girls are not British, just Chinese.

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