Three years into a campaign for a UK National Memorial to the Chinese Labour Corps, the Ensuring We Remember Campaign has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese development company ABP (London) Investment Limited (ABP) for the memorial to be constructed as part of the centrepiece of ABP’s £1.7bn development of a new business district on the northern side of the Royal Albert Dock in Newham. John Miu, COO of ABP London said:,
“We are honoured to host the UK’s first public memorial to the Chinese Labour Corps on the site of Royal Albert Dock London, where we are constructing the premiere business gateway between China and the UK, and London’s next business hub. We are proud of the contribution made by the Chinese Labour Corps in supporting front line allied troops: it is crucial that future generations remember their sacrifice and contribution while we enjoy living and working in a time of peace. Therefore we have set aside £100,000 budget to ensure the memorial to be built on the site and the budget supports design, landscaping, lighting, foundation construction and planning and licensing.”
ABP has national and global backing to create a new business district with supporting residential, retail and leisure at the 35 acre Royal Albert Dock site, which was the epic centre of trade between UK and Asia 100 years ago. The building of the UK’s national memorial to the contribution made by Chinese workers to the Allied war effort of the First World War now means it will also be home to what is undoubtedly to become an iconic symbol of Chinese heritage in the UK. Steve Lau, Chair of the Ensuring We Remember Campaign, said:
“As ABP pushes forward in developing a future business district for London and the UK, it is fantastic that they also being so generous towards its past. Through ABP’s support, our campaign for a long overdue memorial to the Chinese volunteers who came to Britain’s assistance in her hour of need, but who were then almost completely forgotten enters into its final chapter. Ensuring we remember is no longer a dream, it is now set to become reality.”
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have long supported the efforts from within the Chinese community to commemorate the contribution made by Chinese labourers. Lord Bourne, Minister for Communities at (DCLG) noted:
“I am delighted that the campaign for the long overdue memorial to the brave men who served in Chinese Labour Corps has had such a tremendous impact.
“They formed the largest contingent of workers recruited for the war effort, but too little is known of the dangerous yet essential work they carried out on the Western Front.
“They came to Britain’s aid in her hour of need, so it’s right that we remember and honour their contribution and within a year we will see what promises to be a magnificent addition to London’s diverse cultural heritage sites.”
The Chinese Embassy in London has long supported the campaign for a memorial, and His Excellency, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, remarked,
“The project will help everyone to understand the historical contribution of the Chinese Labour Corps, promote harmony between British Chinese and local communities and further China-Britain friendship.”
Wholehearted support has also been received from the Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP for East Ham, in which the memorial is now to be built, and has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament noting that the contribution made by the Chinese has yet to be fully recognised, and welcoming the building of the memorial at the Royal Albert Dock.
“It is regrettable that their toil and sacrifice were largely overlooked after the Great War, and have never properly been commemorated. A better tribute should be paid to their extraordinary contribution; their sacrifices helped deliver Britain’s victory. I warmly welcome the planned permanent memorial in ABP Royal Albert Dock.”