Author Archives: administrator

Responding to Racial Discrimination During a Pandemic

The virtual forum “One World, One World-How to Cope with Racial Discrimination in Epidemic Situations” recently brought together international Chinese communities via social media platform Wechat on the 23rd of May. By Jian Ping Sun

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial discrimination and hostile behaviours experienced by overseas Chinese and other ethnic minorities have soared. The UK Beijing Association, the UK Society of Chinese Lawyers, and the Roundtable of Southern California Chinese-American Organizations co-hosted a Wechat lecture to talk about responding positively to racial discrimination during the pandemic. Dr Zhu Xiaojiu MBE, President of the UK Society of Chinese Lawyers and Surrey Councillor Wang Xingang strongly advised pursuing legal action to definitively say no to racial discrimination.

Dr Zhu Xiaojiu gave an invaluable keynote to clarify the concept of racial discrimination for the audience from a legal and moral perspective. She encouraged the international audience to stand up together to safeguard the rights, interests, and dignity of overseas Chinese around the world. Responding passively strengthens the harmful impact of racial discrimination on society. Responding actively by reporting incidents to the police and taking legal action is part of everybody’s duty to protect themselves, their families and their society. Overseas Chinese are representatives of China and valuable contributors to their adopted country. Refusing to tolerate racism at an individual level protects the great strength and indomitable spirit of their motherland and safeguards the best interests of their adopted home. This novel virus does not distinguish between races and does not respect borders.

The number of reported cases is the essential statistic. Only when the statistic is significant will the government and local authorities take notice and respond with appropriate protection measures.

The most important way to report racism or hate crimes is to notify the police at the time of the incident or as soon as possible afterwards. This can include calling the police or making an online report. Chinese people in the London area can also directly contact the London Police Chinese and Southeast Asian Employees Association. If Chinese children encounter racial discrimination in the school, parents can report it to the school headteacher. If Chinese staffs encounter racial discrimination in the workplace, they can report it to their line manager and human resources.

Dr Zhu also encouraged overseas Chinese to get involved in their local communities to help the vulnerable and key workers during this pandemic. This could include delivering food and medicines to those who are shielding, fundraising for NHS staff welfare initiatives or sewing masks and scrubs for carers in nursing homes to name but a few ideas. Kindness and compassion speak louder than ignorance and hate.

Mr Wang Xingang, local councillor and Conservative campaigner, encouraged the audience to write to or email their local councillors and MPs about their experiences and seek support from charities. He re-emphasized racial discrimination is not only a criminal act but also a topical issue that MPs are deeply concerned about. Local MPs are elected to represent their constituents in parliament. Their job is to listen to their constituents’ concerns and to advocate for them. Chinese people need to inform their local MP of the racial discrimination happening currently in their community. Only when their MP is aware and fully informed can the MP appropriately address the issue to improve their community at a local and national level.

Speaking from his own leadership experiences in efforts to improve his local community, Wang Xingang reflected on successful integration into mainstream society. He encouraged Chinese people to take up volunteering and get involved with their local council and school governor boards.

Cases of racial discrimination in the UK have gradually increased over the past five years. From 2018 to 2019, there were 103,000 reported hate crime cases in the UK. Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, reported crimes of xenophobia increased significantly. There were 360 crimes reported in 2019. There were 267 crimes in the first 3 months of the pandemic alone. Currently key UK legislature includes the Public Security Law, 1986. This includes 12 related laws to punish racial hatred and religious hatred. Under this law, the minimum prison sentence is 6 months and the maximum is 7 years. The “Crime and Disruption of Public Order Law” declared in 1998 included nine related laws to punish racial and religious discrimination, with an increase in the maximum period of imprisonment from 7 years to 14 years.

The third keynote was delivered by Ms Zhang Sujiu, the Honorary Chairman of the Roundtable of Southern California Chinese-American Organizations. She discussed current racial discrimination in the United States. Ms Zhang said that as the virus has spread to all part of the US, the inadequacy of the American government’s response has caused tremendous harm to its people. Currently, the number of infected patients and deaths in the United States account for one-third of the world’s death total. A group of prominent American politicians, including the US president, attempted to discredit China to evade responsibility for the consequences of their failure. They frequently used discriminatory, inflammatory terms such as “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan pneumonia” to concoct statements such as “the virus originated from the Wuhan Virus Research Institute” and “spread to the United States.” The US president played a direct role in aiding xenophobia to spread as fast as the virus throughout the US. Ms Zhang called on the international audience to challenge racial discrimination together.

Although COVID19 is a new disease, racial discrimination is an old disease that the world has long struggled to treat. International laws such as the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the European Union’s European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom are well-established. Overseas Chinese are encouraged to seek help from the police and their local embassy if required. The law is on their side.

“One World in the World-How to Cope with Racial Discrimination in Pandemic Situations” was chaired by Li Hai, President of the UK Beijing Association, He Jianfei, Secretary of the Beijing Overseas Friendship Association and Zhang Jinlong, Chairman of the UK Chinese Business Association. Over 8000 Chinese people from around the world participated in this innovative event.

By Jian Sun

Celebration of the Year of Dog by the UK Society of Chinese Lawyers

Ruihua Wang, associate at the London office of Linklaters, discusses the event celebrating the Chinese New year at the Law Society on 26 February.

The reception

Attended by over a hundred guests, the reception was opened by Dr. Xiaojiu Zhu, the chairwoman of UKSCL. The event had generous support from the Law Society, Bank of China, China Taiping Insurance and Cruickshanks Solicitors. Dr. Zhu addressed in her opening speech that the UK qualified Chinese lawyers play a unique and significant role in building stronger relationship between the two countries and particularly in better assisting language communication, culture integration and promoting legal awareness.

Speeches

Mr. Rehman Chishti, Conservative member of parliament for Gillingham and Rainham, emphasized that the British government is very keen to develop a closer and stranger tie with China and they firmly believed that the Chinese community has made substantive contribution to the development of the UK society.

In counsellor Fei’s speech, he acknowledged the important role that UKSCL plays in developing better relationship in trade, investment, culture and legal communication between two countries. He also mentioned a number of notable initiatives of UKSCL.

Firstly, UKSCL has assisted the Chinese embassy in launching an online legal guide to equip the Chinese community and Chinese businesses with basic knowledge of the UK legal system, and how to live and work in the UK, and provided a legal database with Chinese speaking UK qualified legal specialities.

Secondly, UKSCL set up a joint Wechat group, which enables timely responses to enquiries from the Chinese citizens coming through the Chinese Embassy. Thirdly, counsellor Fei personally initiated an annual forum attended by 20 lawyers and 10 embassy staff discussing on how to better serve the Chinese community in the UK.

The message from Joe Egan, president of the Law Society, highlighted the positive contribution which Chinese lawyers make to the legal profession, both in the UK and internationally.

In the message from Rt Hon Mark Field MP, minister of state for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he congratulated and commended UKSCL for the service it provides and the values it promotes.

Ms. Ruihua Wang, the deputy chairwoman of UKSCL, summarised the achievements of UKSCL in 2017 with three key phrases: bridging the gap, professionalism and social responsibility. The first key phrase ‘bridging the gap’ is demonstrated by actives that we organised for exchanging ideas between judiciary/lawyer in both UK and China. On May 19 2017, we had an in-depth discussion with a delegation from the prosecution service of Shan Xi province, China on topics in criminal procedural law such as sentence reduction, bailing. The second phrase ‘professionalism’ has been manifested by a well-received talk by Dr. Colin Ong, probably the only mandarin speaking Queen’s Counsel and a well-respected barrister and arbitrator. The talk focused on ‘how the Chinese business should conduct international commercial arbitration under China’s one belt one road initiative’ and was generously sponsored by Howard Kennedy LLP.

UKSCL also hosted an immigration law talk on 21 December 2018 by three members of UKSCL, specialists in immigration. The third key phrase ‘social responsibility’ is demonstrated by the legal aid programme lunched by UKSCL on 18 February 2017 at the Chinese Community Centre in London’s Chinatown, which provides free legal advice to the underprivileged people in the Chinese community.

Plans for the year ahead

UKSCL aims to expand the portion of the Chinese Community who can benefit from our pro bono service. We will reach out to Chinese students in London and small Chinese businesses and encourage them to access our service. We also have plans to give further lectures on topics such as employment law, landlords and tenants and family law, some of the most common topics we come across in the pro bono project.

UKSCL welcome suggestions and advice on how we can do a better job in expending our memberships, collaborating with other organisations and serving the wider society.

Reporter: Xiaolong Zhao

UKSCL 2018 New Year Reception 英国律师协会2018年新年酒会

2018年2月26日,值此戊戌年中国农历新年之际,英国律师协会(The Law Society of England and Wales)华丽的会议大厅再一次迎来由英中律师协会 (the UK Society of Chinese Lawyers) 举办的一年一度的新年酒会。酒会在隆重且祥和的气氛下回顾了2017年英中律师协会所做的工作成果,并展望2018年工作计划。

本次新年酒会得到了英国各界人士的鼎力支持,与会人员高达百人以上,英国律师协会会议大厅在各界精英人士的簇拥下熠熠生辉。 英中律师协会会长朱小久博士致欢迎词并隆重介绍了到场贵宾: 英国政府现任执政党议会议员 Rehman Chishti、上议院议员在野党前工党议员 Lord Pendry、上议院议员在野党前自由民主党议员 Lord Cotter、中国大使馆费明星公使兼总领事、中国大使馆金旭公使兼参赞。与会来宾包括英中律师协会会员(大都为取得英国律师资格的华人华侨)、华人企业社团,商会,中国银行,中国在英公司各行各业的负责人和中文学校的代表,还有一些每年都会参加我们酒会的团体代表,如英国华人金融家协会,英中企业家协会,英华会计协会。本次酒会的顺利召开更是得益于本次活动赞助商的鼎力支持,他们是:英国律师协会、中国银行、中国太平、凯律师事务所。朱会长强调了华人律师在致力于推进中英全面交流时在语言沟通、文化融合以及法律支持方面所起到的独特且有效的桥梁作用。

酒会期间贵宾们都做了简短且精要的讲话,英国政府现任执政党议会议员 Rehman Chishti 发表了精彩的演讲,他提到英中关系的重要性并强调本届政府高度重视英中关系并感激在英华人华侨在英国各行各业的积极贡献。

费明星公使兼总领事高度赞赏英中律师协会在支持中英双边贸易、投资、文化和法律交流方面发挥的重要作用。费明星公使提到协会为使馆的网站撰写的大量法律指引,向在英的华人华侨和中国公司介绍英国法律制度;为使馆建立了一个在英华人律师执业专长的资料库;赞扬了协会为使馆提供的法律微信群,以便使馆在有华人华侨或中国企业求助时,能及时地找到法律协助;还有他亲自启动与主持的使馆人员和协会成员每年一次的大型工作座谈,为华人社区提供更好的服务。
有一些贵宾因公务原因不能来到与会现场参加我们的酒会,但他们向我们寄来了祝贺信。英国律师协会 Nicola Williamson在贺信中强调在英华人律师对于英国以及国际社会在推广法律职业多样性方面的积极作用,并愿意加强英国律师协会与英中律师协会的交流合作。英国政府东亚地区外务部部长 Mark Field在贺信中高度评价英中律师协会在英中交流工作中所起到的积极作用,并强调英国政府致力于发展良好健康的英中关系。

最后,王瑞华副会长做了我会一年来的工作总结,提到2017年2月18号启动的英中律师协会为华人华侨提供免费法律咨询,在华人社区中心提供定时定点的为侨服务;2017年10月4号在Howard & Kennedy 律师事务所举办的主题为“在一带一路进程中,中国企业如何在海外进行仲裁”的讲座,英国皇家御用大律师Colin Ong 为大家呈现了一场既有理论深度兼有实践操作意义的精彩演讲。讲座的听众中有专长争议解决和仲裁的英国律师事务所的高级律师和合伙人以及出庭律师。2017年5月19日,协会与中国山西省检察院代表团就减刑,保释等刑事诉讼法专题进行了深入探讨。此外,工作报告还展望2018年的工作计划,2018年我会计划扩大中国社区中可以从我们服务中获益的潜在群体,我们将联系中国学生和中国企业,普及法律知识。

照片:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xuqxom5co61gkvb/AAClACDtDK7nUitqQEPOZGVNa?dl=0

撰稿人:赵枭龙

英中律师协会为华人华侨提供免费法律咨询

英中律师协会为华人华侨提供免费法律咨询
王瑞华

2017年2月13号晚上,英中律师协会在伦敦华人社区中心成功启动了免费法律咨询项目。这个免费法律咨询项目是英中律师协会在其2017年年新春招待会上宣布的新年计划之一,是在英的华人律师为服务华社的重要举措。

项目启动仪式现场请到的嘉宾中有中国驻英大使馆卢海田参赞和伦敦华人社区中心主席丘玉雲MBE女士。卢海田参赞代表使馆发表了语重心长的讲话,提到在英的华人社区虽然发展得很繁荣,但是还有些弱势群体需要帮助。法律援助项目通过向老人、留学生以及其他弱势群体提供免费的法律咨询服务,可以帮助他们更好地了解英国当地的法律法规并更深入地融入英国主流社会。卢参赞对英中律师协会的这一创举非常赞赏和感激,他说律师的时间非常宝贵,他们牺牲周末休息的时间, 用他们的智慧和专业知识为华人社区服务,值得赞赏。同时,卢参赞提到打持久战的重要性,希望英中律师协会的会员能够持之以恒地奉献和付出,他期待参加这个项目的一周年、两周年甚至三周年庆祝。

华人社区中心的主席丘玉雲MBE女士代表华人社区中心向英中律师协会的帮贫扶弱的一片热忱之心表示感谢。她说华人社区中心成立37年以来,曾经尝试过法律援助服务,但是因为律师人数太少,服务没有坚持下去。这一次有英中律师协会来负责提供法律咨询就不一样, 因为协会的会员众多,涵盖的法律专业也各种各样,她因此对这个项目充满了信心。

最后英中律师协会会长朱小久博士代表协会感谢大使馆和华人社区中心的支持和殷切期望。朱律师说,法律法规就像社会的游戏规则,如果个人或企业不懂规则,注定无法赢得游戏。这个项目资源丰富, 除了英中律师协会的律师和律师所, 我们还有非华裔律师朋友支持这个项目.
众人拾柴火焰高。她表示协会的律师会努力帮助来咨询的人员,向他们普及法律知识,解释法律法规,预防纠纷。

华人社区中心的法律援助项目将于2017年2月18日周六下午3:00开始第一次服务。以后每周六下午三点到四点之间,都会有律师在华人社区中心值班,欢迎广大华人华侨、企业或者个人来咨询法律问题。华人社区中心承诺,当事人第一次来咨询是免费的,如果需要进一步的服务,值班的律师会视情况推荐合适的同行。如果当事人第二次来社区中心,就需要成为社区中心的会员,缴纳会员年费12英镑,之后也可享受华人社区中心丰富多彩的服务。

华人社区中心的地址是:2 Leicester Court, London, WC2H 7DW, United Kingdom
如果需要来咨询,请当事人提前打电话020 7439 3822 预约,并提供必要的个人信息。