In Britain, there is no question that ethnic minorities are slowly finding their voices. Afro Caribbean Black people, African Black people, Indians and Pakistanis form sizable groups, all quite well established and more importantly proud of their individual status and also part of an ethnic group with its own culture.
Amidst all this, ethnic Chinese seem to form fragmented communities punctuated by Chinese supermarkets dotted around large cities where once a week or month, Chinese people may come together to do their shopping specific to their personal needs.
Dig deeper and it’s very evident that many younger Chinese are no longer going to these places to shop and more and more have merged into the host nation’s culture. This is natural of course, after all, we are all living in Britain and will form friendship with people indigenous to this country.
Please see below an article about our history, a study done in London 2009 to help find out the changing needs of the Chinese community within London. I’m sure many can recognise and relate to the findings:
Many cultures that have formed in Britain, the ethnic minorities that have grown strong in political power and religion tend to all have been part of the British empire. Yet China, no stranger to foreigners pillaging its treasures can still argue it had never officially been colonised. It’s this one single fact that I believe determines our struggle to gain acceptance and even respect.
Based on these statistics alone, you would think that we would have more say and respect, and yet Black Africans and Pakistanis can command more rights and respect which tells me two things. You need to be a victim (colonized before) or you need to show struggle to get something in life. The British love a sorry case. Both not really linked to the Chinese communities here in Britain.
Whilst we are busy integrating, China has been growing stronger. Many BBC's will have watched from far mostly disinterested in what’s happening. But unknown to many BBC's, the media in the meantime have been building a slow hate campaign against China. Only able to get away with it because of the sheer fact that the ‘challenger’ had never been colonized. The brazen press go into over-drive very often with little evidence, claiming China’s closed society as the reason for the sketchy research and potential lies.
China might be emerging and about to take on America. BBC's growing up here do not seem to form any kind of link or opinion on China. Probably thanks to our parents’ ignorant views on Mainlanders formed from decades before. I find it strange that many either are ignorant or ‘choose’ to not link or discuss things relating to China. Even this blog sometimes can be accused of failing to discuss China, which is very narrow minded since we all have a history, and it pays to understand the whys and where because in the end, to form a sub-culture or new culture, you need to have started from somewhere to get here.
Many BBC's fail to link this issue, and I believe failure to do this either comes from our upbringing because many of our parents are still riding this fake high believing it’s pre-1997 Hong Kong and being part of the empire makes them extra special. Many are ignorant towards China, almost distancing themselves, therefore creating this separation for us to believe to be true when half of the British population can’t tell China from Taiwan let alone Hong Kong. We are all Chinese to them…
Many minority groups in Britain are very interested in their history, whether vaguely or detailed. Many also have parents that have taught them to be very proud and stand up for their own rights as a minority. Chinese people living abroad tend to do the opposite. They tend to teach their kids to bury their heads and beaver away through education. I have even witnessed some telling their children to forget about their past.
What do we get in the end? Someone who can perform in their jobs and earn a lot of money. But collectively, BBC's are possibly invisible, with no kind of culture or strong presence that speaks for the BBC's. Why? Because we have more or less adopted this country with our arms open. We do this because our parents did. We do not view this country with suspicion like other minority groups here do in Britain. The Empire thing helps to cement that suspicion. But for BBC's, we are led (falsely) to believe we are one of Britain’s specially protected regions. Simple fact is, hardly anyone knows the full difference of Hong Kong and China nowadays.
With our parents failing to teach us a full account of our own history. We blindly go about our days never asking the questions. Questions like: Why are we not looked upon with any kind of respect. Why are we expected to take insults more readily and accept slurs at the drop of a hat.
The answer lies in China. It was never part of the empire and, now able to challenge the west on capitalism after years of manufacturing. The political powers and the media controllers are unable to contain themselves with the bitter jealousy. Even more annoying is the fact that China was not expected to rise in any shape or form, especially after communism.
BBC's in Britain can gain acceptance if they either merge themselves in British culture and clear themselves of any traces of Chinese heritage. Many BBC's are already more closely linked to British culture than Chinese culture. Quite a few play ignorant regarding anything to do with China. There are many that don’t want to discuss Falung Gong, Dalai Lama’s exile and the struggles of Uighurs’ independence etc, because they are deeply unpopular subjects for Britons rather than ourselves, possibly blurring our boundaries of BBC's and Mainland China.
My question is, by doing these things, it’s denial and turning down a chance to face head-on where we are in Britain. Why are so many highly educated staying silent on subjects that should be close to our hearts? Many ethnic minorities who are very passionate about their past, their heritage and yet, they are able to incorporate that in with their culture here in Britain. They then also enjoy the victim status awarded to them by the western nations, which Chinese nationals do not get because the Chinese are not victims but villains.
Why? Because we are not victims in the eyes of the west because we were never officially colonised. A problem for BBC's living in Britain today. Our voices are made even more weaker because we are actually viewed with suspicion.
A couple of cases proved this in America when ABC's were even accused of being spies when they were working for a computer chip company. Many of the allegations die down and you never hear from them again. Because they are unsubstantiated. Such headlines are now part of the norm because the media are normalising this image of untrustworthy Chinese people who cannot be trusted, even if they’re brought up in America. Chinese students that are highly educated are routinely accused of being spies for China if they so happen to make a tiny mistake for a computer company. If they hack, expect the police to be at their door within minutes.
Below are just some links and examples that are regularly littering the headlines and internet:
According to Sir James Dyson , ‘he thinks’ the Chinese come here to study for dubious reasons. To steal secrets for their own technology. These unchallenged claims are able to fill even the broad sheets, where one of Britain’s leading inventors can openly accuse a whole nationality of such actions speaks volumes. Not only is it now some kind of an open secret, his claims are receiving nods from others too. He would certainly receive a reprimand very quickly if he had said Nigerians did that.
The Telegraph found time to tell us how the French intelligent service had warned how the pesky Chinese are partial to stealing information for company gain. Read the article carefully, and you soon recognise it’s an exercise to tell French companies to be more smarter since all techniques employed by the Chinese companies are perfectly within their rights. When the Chinese are smarter in business, they are spies apparently.
Finally, BBC’s highly in-depth report on ‘China’ sending thousands to developed countries to deliberately gather important data to help its development. They reluctantly accept that some are just rich families who want their children to do well, so choose to study abroad, but note, the general tone is Chinese only get to where they are because they are cheats and spies. China can’t get to where they are through merit, it has to be something sinister and nasty. More slanderous news reporting.
In the end, it means we as an ethnic group can be despised rather than admired. So for those that bury their heads, merging in with the host nation’s culture, thinking Britain will accept them, I think not. Not until the day China collapse, we will never have a sympathetic voice or able to draw government money to help with the Chinese communities because we are not one of Britain’s victims. Even more damaging, we may be witnessing a new-wave of racism directed at us, more intolerant and more blatant. All because of China’s ability to stand up without the hand-out and help of the west.
We as BBC's must admit this. Until we open our eyes and accept this, we will never have a fair voice. We need to rise up and fill the internet with pages of the media hatred and unjust reporting going on daily. We need to wake up from the comfortable surroundings and understand that if we believed in equality as the western education taught us, we need to look closer for equality.
If we don’t start now, in a decade’s time, we may be seeing full-on hatred. People from the streets, our colleagues and neighbours could one day turn against us, all because of our failure to speak up and say how we feel and utilise our knowledge of our rights and demand respect and fair reporting. It’s time for BBC's to fight back, show pride in ourselves and our ethnicity here and in China.
(By Guest Blogger- BBCNewAgenda is a British Born Chinese Female living in the UK)