The Ensuring We Remember Campaign if spearheaded by a coalition of major UK Chinese non-profit organisations. To mark today’s centennial anniversary of China declaring war on Germany we reflect on the position of the Chinese community in the UK, whilst launching our Centenary Commemorations Toolkit.
Today the Chinese community holds a privileged position in the UK. Through the hard work of those Chinese who came after the second World War, Chinese communities in Britain are strong and vibrant. Although no country is perfect, and no people are without faults, Britain and the British people have overwhelmingly welcomed and accepted Chinese people. For their part, the Chinese have worked hard and hindered nobody, through which they have built, and maintain, strong economic and cultural capital. Chinese children have for decades outperformed children from all other ethnic groups at both GCSE and A’Level, fulfilling the dream of every parent that their children’s lives should be better than their own. But it is not only duty to family that concerned the Chinese in Britain – we would argue that they have also contributed to a better society. The Chinese are the only ethnic minority group that is under-represented in the British criminal justice system, something for which the Chinese community can justly be proud.
Less obvious is the pride that might be held in the fact that in both World Wars the Chinese and British peoples stood united against common enemies and ideologies.
For this reason we are today encouraging Britain’s Chinese communities and supporters to commemorate this much neglected are of our heritage – a century to the day when China formally declared war against Germany and joined Britain and her allies in World War I.
To this end we created a Centenary Commemorations Toolkit which has already been sent out to British Chinese religious, voluntary and community organisations. We will be working with Chinese supplementary schools in rolling out the toolkit.
We hope, by promoting a growing awareness of the full contribution of Chinese people in British history, we can contribute to the ongoing development of a fully integrated, high performing, socially cohesive British Chinese community.
We are delighted to announce the publications of, The Chinese Labour Corps: Photographs from the WJ Hawkings collection, launched today to commemorate the centenary of China declaring war against Germany and formally joining Britain and her allies in the Great War.
- Hardcover: 96 pages
- Publisher: Myosotis Books (14 August 2017)
- Languages: English, Chinese and French
- ISBN-13: 978-1-9998066-0-6
- Product Dimensions: 28.5 x 1.3cm x 21 cm
Rediscovered in 2014 by his grandson, John De Lucy, photographs from the collection are published here for the first time. Unlike the set piece propaganda photographs taken by official photographers, the WJ Hawkings Collection shows the day-to-day lives of the Chinese Labour Corps; many of the photographs are believed to be unique in the subject matter they cover.
The profits from the sales of this book will be donated to the Chinese in Britain Forum, registered charity 1096542 ,and used exclusively for raising the awareness and profile of the Chinese Labour Corps.
A press preview copy of the book as well as a number of cleared images are available to use for supporting coverage of the book, please enquire via our contact page.
Buy our new A2 sized poster (42cm x 59cm).
Today we remember three men of the Chinese Labour Corps who died in service.
LI FU CHEN (56237) 1919.
LU HSUEH SHU Labourer 106238, died 1919.
TSENG CH’IEN SHENG Labourer 25109, died 1918.
YANG CHIH FU Labourer 99855, died 1919.
We Remember Them.
The following four members of the Chinese Labour Corps died on the 12th August:
CH’ANG CHIH HAI (100234) 1919
KAO HUA CH’I (7740) 1919
LI LAI FU (76400) 1919
LIU FENG I (54908) 1919
If you are wondering why 12th August 1919 when hostilities ended on 11th November 1918, it’s because the Chinese Labour Corps were kept on after the armistice to repair roads, clear the battlefields and recover ordnance. They also exhumed the fallen, reburying them in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries. See our video for more information.
We remember them.
Par France 3.
Vive Labeur, Chinese Labour Corps in de Eerste Wereldoorlog
Prijs: € 24,50 (incl. verzendingskosten)
Sun Gan is een plattelandsonderwijzer die de kans heeft gegrepen om verre horizonten te verkennen door zich aan te melden bij het CLC. Met een opmerkelijk observatievermogen vergelijkt hij de toestand en de gebruiken in Europa met die in zijn thuisland en beschrijft hij zijn wedervaren in de oorlogsjaren.
WAR AS SEEN BY THE CHINESEAN INTERPRETER IN THE LABOUR CORPS
Mr Chow Chen-fu, Interpreter to the 167th Chinese Labour Co., Labour Corps, B.E.F., France, writes to a foreign friend in Shanghai: You ask me to give you a description of my life in France. I will attempt to do so without going into details. I was posted to this Company at the Base for Chinese Labour; every draft coming from China is sent to this aforesaid Base, which is just outside a small French village not so very far from the place of landing. After spending about three weeks here, the Company was transferred to work to a place about 10 miles behind where the fighting was actually going on.
The village we arrived at had been knocked about a great deal by shell fire, while I saw one or two very exciting air fights. I cannot say much about that place, or the French people as they were very few.
At present we are stationed in or just outside a lovely French village. The countryside is about the finest that one could wish to see, and to make things more pleasant we have been having splendid weather. My opinion of France is that it is about the best country for farming in the world.
The French nation can farm; every inch of land is put to use. Just at present, I would very much like you to see the different crops. I know very well you would have the same opinion as myself.AIRING A LITTLE FRENCH
About three times a week I get permission to visit the nearest villages for the purpose of shopping. There one meets French and British soldiers mixing with each other both in the village and en route. Every estiminet is packed, singing, etc., which is the custom here. As you are aware, I dress in my own private clothes and the French people, both civilian and soldier, look at me with great curiosity, wondering who on earth I am, as being differently dressed from the coolies, who, I should have mentioned before, are dressed in uniform. When I go into a shop and air the little French language I have managed to pick up, the shop people fairly stare. I know very well that they expect me to ask for whatever I require in Chinese. I must admit that the French always treat me with kindness and respect.
The company is made up of Southern and Northern coolies, and taking things generally, I have had a very strenuous time. I am a go-between of the officers and the coolies. My duties are to go out every day with the company, translating the work at one place. Then I am called to another, and this kind of thing goes on the whole day through. I can assure you that I am jolly tired at the end of the day.TOMMY ATKINS
Since I have been in France, I have had the pleasure of seeing a great deal of the British soldiers, and my opinion is, they are about the finest and fairest in the world, brave men who are fighting and dying for a just cause. When you write me, please give me news of the trouble regarding the North and South of China.
I have not been here any more than nine months, but I could fill a book about the things that I have seen and gone through. Do not imagine for one moment that is has been all sunshine, because I can assure you it has been cloudy as well. There is one thing: it is an experience that could not bought or read in books.
1 July 2017 – 17 September 2017
The WWI Chinese story inspires contemporary artists.
Two famous Belgian photographers, Stephan Vanfleteren and Sanne De Wilde go back to the roots of the Chinese labourers. They explore the China region where they came from. This results in a fascinating photographic account.
Authorities in China have built this enormous Memorial Hall to Chinese labourers who participated in the First World War.