Friday, October 21, 2005

China Plates

SOME good news, against a sad background.
Min Quan, the Chinese rights and monitoring group, has campaigned to raise the real issues of exploitation of migrant workers behind the Morecambe Bay tragedy. It has encouraged people to resist the property tycoons threatening to swallow London's Chinatown (see poster on right).

It has also focused attention on Takeaway Racism - the racist harassment and violence that Chinese restaurant and takeaway owners and staff have to put up with.

On 23 April 2005, Mi Gao Huang Chen, a Chinese takeaway owner was brutally murdered in a race attack by a gang of 22 youths in Wigan. This tragedy was the culmination of a long period of racial harassment suffered by Mi Gao which the police failed to take seriously until it was too late. The police charged six white youths with murder.

Unbelievably, they also charged Mi Gao's partner, Eileen Jia, for daring to defend herself while attempting to save her partner.

Min Quan called on the DPP to drop all charges against her, and appealed for signatures for a petition from the public. We're often asked to sign petitions, on the street and online, and wonder wearily whether it does any good.
Well, for once it has.

As Min Quan's website reported on October 14,
Due to public outrage, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided to drop criminal charges of Affray and Common Assault against Ms Eileen Jia. Ms Jia has always argued that she was simply defending her partner and herself against a racially motivated attack. Nearly 1000 people signed a TMG Min Quan postcard urging the Director of Public Prosecution to intervene in this case. As a consequence the CPS has decided to take no further action against Ms Jia because "a prosecution is not needed in the public interest". The case against the real perpetrators is expected to start at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday 24th October 2005. Eileen Jia wishes to express her warmest gratitude to all those who have supported her in making the Crown Prosecution Service realise the grave error and injustice they have inflicted upon Eileen and the Chinese community by charging the victim of a brutal crime.
Read more ...

I'd like to to thank Anna Chen for drawing my attention to this news. Award-winning writer, actress and comic performer Anna was a founder member of Media Workers Against the War. She was also an effective publicity officer for the late Socialist Alliance until she came up against the dominant SWP faction's chicanery, prejudices and bullying, and decided she'd had enough. Anna was told by John Rees that Chinese workers were not important. What it is to be active in a minority whose struggles aren't fashionable with these "Lefts"!

At least Anna was spared witnessing the Socialist Alliance's drawn-out and painful demise at their hands, as they ditched it to join Gorgeous George.

Now working on a major novel about Chinese workers who built America's Pacific coast railways through the Rockies, Anna Chen continues to combine genuine commitment with irreverent, even startling, humour. She has a website about her cultural work at, and a play coming up on Radio Four.

It's in Woman's Hour Travel Stories: Upturned Roots series, and called
Red Guard, Yellow Submarine

So you've been brought up as a Red Guard ... in Hackney. You make your first ever visit to the motherland during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. How will clashing ideologies compete in the fragile battleground that is you? How high a price would you pay in order to belong?

Written and narrated by Anna Chen
With Kwong Loke and Carolyne Pickles
Produced and directed by Pam Fraser-Solomon
Series produced by Shabina Aslam
10.45am Thursday 10th November,
Repeated at 7.45pm You can also listen on line for seven days following the broadcast:
Scroll down and click on Woman's Hour drama

I'll be listening.



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