British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage's Launch (30 Jun 2015)
British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage Project Launch at Regent's University London (30th July 2015)
Prof Aldwyn Cooper, the Vice Chancellor of Regents University London delivered an inaugural speech denoting the launch of the British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage project. This four year joint venture between Regents University London and Ming-Ai (London) Institute is sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Prof Cooper illuminated the magnitude of this important heritage project, as it aims to capture personal reflections of military history whilst incorporating various memorial events, such as Wartime Recipe Workshops. Two international conferences will be hosted (one in Hong Kong and the other in London), promoting wider transnational engagement. Mr. Holland Kwok, the Chairman of the Ming-Ai (London) Institute emphasised the uniqueness of this project, as it offers a platform for learning, research and practical experience for young scholars.
Ms Rachel Hasted from Heritage Lottery Fund (London Committee) discussed the opportunity for sharing 'untold histories' with contemporary Chinese people, as well as assimilating cultural, historic and social data to a wider audience. Ms Chungwen Li, the Dean from Ming-Ai (London) Institute explained how the initial interest in military legacy spring-boarded from a visit to Hong Kong, as part of the recent British Chinese Workforce Heritage project (2012-15). She stressed that much of the Chinese contribution to British war efforts had not been published or archived for future generations. Therefore, film footage from Hong Kong was collated and shared, in order to commemorate the work of the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC), especially during World War One. Prof Jonathan Liu from Regents University London highlighted the "impact factor" for young people's development through the internship scheme and volunteering opportunities. He eagerly communicated the diverse range of project deliverables which are inclusive of:
57 Community Workshops;
50 School Visits;
40 Oral History Interviews;
12 Training Sessions;
10 Touring Exhibitions;
4 Parliamentary Tours;
2 week course for young people in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme;
1 Publication (online and hard copy)
Keynote Speaker & Audience Engagement
Mr Robert Fleming, the Community Outreach Curator from the National Army Museum presented the Chinese contribution to British military history; tracing the lineage of the Hong Kong volunteers (1854) and subsequent efforts of the CLC. He expressed his motivation for raising awareness of the British Chinese armed forces particularly that a recent survey by British Future (2012) found that many school children in the UK were not aware that non-British men served during World War One. A lively Q&A session concluded the project launch, where Prof Liu assured interested parties that published 'oral histories' will be both authentic and unedited. Indeed, the overall endeavour of this heritage project is to fill the historic gaps in knowledge relating to British Chinese armed forces during the 19th and 20th Century.