On February 18th 2021, the UK Society of Chinese Lawyers (UKSCL) held its annual Chinese New Year Reception online to celebrate the year of the Ox. The event was well supported by the UK community and was attended by over 100 people including its members.
Dr Xiaojiu Zhu MBE, President of the UKSCL, first addressed the guests with a welcome note. The Ox in Chinese culture represents strength, hard-work, and determination, and whilst the pandemic has affected us all, Dr Zhu believes this means we will only come back stronger as we embrace the characteristics of the Ox.
Dr Zhu in her welcome note gave thanks to the distinguished guests of the night, including Mr David Greene, President of the Law Society; Ms Stephanie Boyce, Vice-President of the Law Society, Mr Xuejun Tong, Minister Counsellor and Consul General from the Chinese Embassy; Ms Nickie Aiken, Member of Parliament for Cities of London and Westminster; Mr Xiaodong Yu, Director and General Manager of China Taipin Insurance UK Co Ltd; Jun Tong, Deputy Assistant General Manager of China Insurance UK Co Ltd; Madam Liang Xiao, Deputy General Manager and Chief Retail Banking Officer of Bank of China (UK) Limited; Ms Yan Wu, Manager of Chinatown Branch of Bank of China (UK) Limited; Mr Chuting Tang, Chairman of London Chinatown Chinese Association; Guangfeng Ren, CEO of UK Chinese Entrepreneurs; Feng Zhang, Chinese students and Scholars Association UK; Chen Li, Head of UK China Economic and Culture Promotion Association, along with other professional organisations, including the Chinese Association of Financial Executives in the UK and the UK Society of Chinese Accountants. Special thanks to K Education, technical support provider of the event.
David Greene, President of the Law Society, gave an enthusiastic speech as the first speaker of the night. Mr Greene drew comparisons between the legal profession and the characteristics of the Ox, such as honesty, hard work, and diligence, and expressed that Chinese lawyers in the UK have played a key role and have made outstanding contributions to the Chinese community in the UK. Mr Greene especially praised UKSCL’s weekly pro bono clinic at the Chinese Community Centre, and thanked all the Chinese lawyers who took part and made the weekly sessions possible.
Minister Counsellor and Consul General Mr Xuejun Tong thanked and applauded UKSCL’s contributions in the fight against the pandemic in the past year, and the positive effects in promoting anti-racism campaigns. Mr Tong further encouraged UKSCL to play a positive role and work with other organisations to foster the continued relationship between China and UK development.
Mr Xiaodong Yu, Director of China Taipin Insurance UK, delivered a speech on behalf of the Chinese enterprises in the UK. Mr Yu commented that Chinese companies in the UK are becoming more mature and diversified, and with investments between China and UK continuing to rise, UK is becoming the largest spot for Chinese investment in Europe. Mr Yu emphasised that Chinese companies in the UK maintain optimism in its long-term goals despite the pandemic. Looking ahead, Taiping Insurance will continue to provide reliable and professional services to Chinese companies, as it has done so in the past 35 years in the UK.
Ms Nickie Aiken, Member of Parliament for Cities of London and Westminster, though unable to attend the celebrations due to her parliamentary duties, recorded a special video for the event and wished everyone a happy New Year.
Lastly, Ms Ruihua Wang, Vice-President of the UKSCL, gave a summary of UKSCL’s achievements over the last two years. One of UKSCL’s aims is to promote legal education in the local Chinese community, and since February 2017, UKSCL runs a weekly pro-bono legal clinic at the Chinese Community Centre. This clinic plays an indispensable role in providing legal aid services for the Chinese community, and since the pandemic, this service has moved online to continue the weekly consultations without interruption. In 2019, UKSCL members held a lecture on ‘My Legal Practice Journey’ to visiting students from Beijing Normal University, in an effort to inspire more Chinese students to get involved in the legal profession. In October of the same year, UKSCL organised a panel discussion on the Hong Kong Basic Law. Ms Wang also highlighted that Dr Zhu was calling the returning Chinese from China to self-isolate for two weeks since February 2020 via YouTube and Chinese media, and organised an online anti-racism seminar in May 2020 with nearly nine thousand people attending, then the launch of the iCAAR (International Chinese Alliance Against Racism). In 2021, UKSCL will continue to cooperate with the Law Society of England & Wales to provide further service to the Chinese community in UK.
The evening celebration also included a raffle draw for UKSCL members who have previously volunteered at the pro-bono clinic as a token of appreciation and reward for their hard work. 10 lucky members were selected for an electrolysis sanitiser, provided by Aviair UK.
The evening of celebrations concluded with an array of musical performances, including ‘Good Luck Comes’ and ‘Uptown Funk’ by UK China Performing Arts, ‘Big Fish’ by the Divine Melody Choir, ‘Gongfu Fan’ by Deyin Tiajiquan Institute, and ‘Moonlight from Kekexili’ by London Chinese Philharmonic Choir.
This event was hosted by UKSCL committee member Lily Cheung and UKSCL member Kainan Liu, and came to an end with Dr Zhu’s closing remarks.
21 March 2021