OPINION - Emma Raducanu shows best of British-Chinese community

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  • Emma Raducanu
    Emma Raducanu
    British professional tennis player
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

In less than two hours in September, Emma Raducanu shot to global fame. After her tennis triumph, social media focused on her British-Chinese heritage. Raised in London, with a Chinese mother, she drew attention to one of Britain’s most established yet under-recognised diaspora communities.

Whilst the restaurants and takeaways in London’s Chinatown, and present in almost every village, town and city across Britain, are often the most visible symbols associated with the British-Chinese, they do not represent all that British-Chinese people have achieved in the UK.

There is much more. In fact, the British-Chinese make an outstanding contribution to our capital — and our country — in a wide range of areas, from sport to technology to public service. Londoner Eden Cheng is a Team GB diver and European champion, whilst Joe Choong’s journey to become the first British man to win a modern pentathlon gold medal (in Tokyo this summer) started at school in Croydon.

Cyclists will be familiar with CycleHoop’s bike racks across London, launched by Anthony Lau from his garage. Lewis Liu has turned Eigen Technologies into one of Britain’s hottest artificial intelligence start-ups. Elsa Mak is the first British-Chinese woman to be promoted to Detective Inspector in the Metropolitan Police.

Though present in Britain for at least 150 years, most first generation British-Chinese immigrants came here from the Sixties onwards. Some, like my father, came via Hong Kong and most toiled away in low-wage, labour-intensive jobs. His generation now look on with pride as their British-born sons and daughters have flourished in an impressive and wide range of fields. Emma, pictured, Eden, Joe, Lewis, Elsa and Anthony are just some of our success stories.

There are many thousands more, in our NHS, Armed Forces, schools, businesses and communities. That’s why I co-founded the Blossom Awards in partnership with the Evening Standard to recognise British-Chinese high achievers.

The British-Chinese have much to be proud of. I hope the Blossom Awards, and the inspirational nominees we’ll recognise tomorrow night, encourage us all to be bolder about telling the British-Chinese story better.

Alan Mak is co-founder of the Blossom Awards and the first MP and minister of British-Chinese heritage

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