From Old London to New Milton Keynes: Chinese Identities in Britain

On Saturday 20thJuly 2019, following our morning AGM, we held an afternoon event jointly with our partner The Meridian Society, in St Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge. Our event included talks and a film, timed to coincide with the Lao She symposium held earlier this year in Beijing to commemorate the 120thanniversary of the birth of novelist and playwright Lao She. He was one of 20thcentury China’s most significant literary figures who came to London in 1924 to teach Chinese at the School of Oriental Studies (now SOAS). Out of the four years he lived here, came his novel Mr. Ma […]

The Story of China with Professor Michael Wood

We were delighted that Professor Michael Wood could join us on Friday 15 March to talk on ‘The Story of China’. Illustrated with film clips, Michael reflected on some of the themes in his recent highly-praised series on Chinese history. He also gave us a preview of his forthcoming film on the 40th anniversary of Deng’s Reform and Opening up. SACU is grateful to EY (Ernst & Young) for their generous support of this event at their prestigious offices in Canary Wharf. The film team from China Minutes interviewed Michael just before his talk:- Here is a short introduction on Facebook (3 minutes): […]

Jessica Darling speaks at SACU ChinaCafé

2019 SACU ChinaCafé Series is underway: SACU ChinaCafe 1 took place on 19 February 2019. The theme of this year’s three café-style meetings is ‘Health and Wellbeing’, co-hosted by the Lau China Institute, King’s College London (KCL) at Bush House, Strand Campus. SACU and the Lau are working in partnership to create a UK-Chinese understanding of Health and Wellbeing with a particular focus on supporting KCL students and their mental health needs. Our first session featured Jessica Darling who spent her childhood in China with her father Dr Joshua S. Horn, author of Away with All Pests: An English Surgeon in People’s […]

Chinese Gordon

Rob Stallard surveys the exploits of one of Britain’s greatest heroes in China (China Eye magazine (2008)). When I heard the phrase ‘Chinese Gordon’ I wondered, surely, our Prime Minister could not have turned into a Sinophile? The explanation became more intriguing at every turn. The ‘Gordon’ in question was the all-British hero I knew as ‘Gordon of Khartoum’. So why the Chinese sobriquet and why did he have amongst his possessions the throne of the Chinese Emperor and a gold medal struck especially in his honour by order of the Emperor? If you go back one hundred years and […]

The UK Chinese Community

Walter Fung gives a survey of the Chinese communities in the UK. The article first appeared in SACU’s China Eye magazine in 2008. Walter Fung was born in Liverpool of Chinese parents and grew up in his father’s laundry. He is now retired after working for 35 years in the textile industry and is a member of SACU council as magazine editor. This subject is more complex than its simple title would suggest. The Chinese community comprises a variety of people from different places who came to the UK at different times, for different reasons, from different backgrounds and with […]

The Chinese in Britain

This is a historical article from an early issue of China Now magazine. Jenny Clegg tells the story of Britain’s Chinese community and their hosts’ ambivalent reaction. The history of the Chinese in Britain has yet to be written. What exists is only a handful of surveys, dissertations, census figures, and newspaper reports. But put these together and the story begins to unfold – a story that is part of both Britain’s and China’s history, and one that only makes sense viewed in the context of the relations between the two countries. It is a story in which there is […]

Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor: Translator of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Cyril Cannon worked in the printing industry before moving to academia, undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics. His final posts were in Hongkong, initially helping to set up what is now City University, and then as Academic Consultant to Lingnan. He is retired and lives in London. He has been a SACU member for well over 20 years, and was on the editorial board of China in Focus. This article is based on the author’s Public Success, Private Sorrow: the Life and Times of Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor (1857-1938), China Customs Commissioner and Pioneer Translator. Foreword […]

First Impressions of Chinese about the West

China’s introduction to Europe was a bewildering experience. R.G. Tiedemann, a lecturer at “S.O.A.S. University of London” ➚ describes how it was not just the gunboats which shook Chinese civilisation. First published in China Now magazine 1992. First impressions The intellectual discovery of Europe was a traumatic event for imperial China. It shattered entrenched notions of a centrality and superiority which had intensified after China’s retreat into isolation in the fifteenth century, since the self-contained Chinese world order denied the existence of a civilisation other than their own there had been little inclination to find out about the outside world. […]

Robert Hart: a man of two worlds

Martin Lynn recounts the experiences of Robert Hart employed by the Chinese in the dying phases of the Qing Dynasty. This article first appeared in SACU’s China Now magazine in 1988 Robert Hart was witness to many of the major events of late nineteenth century Chinese history, a period when the country was wrestling with the twin problems of foreign intervention and the need to modernise. He was to live through four foreign invasions of China, the Taiping Rebellion of 1852-64, the Boxer rising of 1900, the attempted partition of the country by the West and the eventual crumbling of […]

Agnes Smedley 1892-1950

Alice Roberts describes the fascinating life of a committed American friend of China : Agnes Smedley, the article first appeared in SACU’s China Now magazine 1972. It is difficult to convey in a few brief words how a working-class woman, born in northern Missouri ➚ of an itinerant miner and a boarding house cook and raised in the Rockefeller ‘mining camps’ where the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company owned ‘everything but the air,’ and who never even finished grade school came to write: ‘I have but one loyalty, one faith, and that was to the liberation of the poor and […]