British Chinese now collaborating with OBV


The British Chinese Project had its media launch in Westminster last night, only six months since it was founded by a group of young Chinese community activists.

The BC Project aims to empower the UK Chinese community to change their under representation in our political system. It's come a long way in those short six months, setting up regional teams based in cities with large Chinese populations (the Birmingham branch was much in evidence last night), and supporting Chinese candidates in the May General Election.

It has also organised a scheme to encourage Young Leaders and Ambassadors from the Chinese Community to be better equipped to take leadership roles at community, local and national levels, and their awards were made at the event last night by Barry Gardiner, MP who spoke powerfully about the positive contribution young people from ethnic minorities could and should make to our society.

Central to Michael Wilkes' keynote address was the news that BC Project and Operation Black Vote had agreed to collaborate, which means that now, within the broad grouping we define as Black and Minority Ethnic, is included the huge UK population of Chinese heritage.

We are now working with The BC Project to ensure the OBV eXpress campaign bus will be visiting those cities with large Chinese populations to encourage the Chinese to register to vote and become involved in civic society. We will include literature in Mandarin and Cantonese, and The BC Project representatives will be present to assist Chinese people to understand our democratic process and the importance of the franchise.

The BC Project has also worked out that a significant number of Parliamentary constituencies are held with majorities smaller than the Chinese population in those constituencies who are qualified to vote, which is why they are so enthusiastic to be on the eXpress bus as it visits marginal constituencies and why we are so pleased to welcome them.

It must be stressed that, like the event last night at which all three main political parties were represented, the eXpress bus will be completely non-partisan in its aims, its itinerary and its messaging. The objective is to encourage as many disenfranchised people as possible to register to vote…how they use that vote is up to them. However, by increasing the number of ethic minority voters, the political parties will be forced to address more seriously the issues faced by those minorities, the result being a fairer society and a more representative democracy.

Operation Black Vote is pleased to welcome The British Chinese Project as a partner organisation and wishes it every success in the future, as its success is our success, and our success is the nation's success.

Paul Hensby