Welcome to the Chinese Liberal Democrats

Creating a bridge between the UK Chinese community and the Liberal Democrats.

The Chinese Liberal Democrats, patrons Sir Ed Davey MP and Sir Menzies Campbell, is an associated organisation of the Liberal Democrat Party. We exist to explore ways of reaching out to the Chinese and SE Asian diaspora communities in the UK and to establish better understanding between the UK and China.

You can read more about our activities below, or using the links on the top right hand side of the page. Remember, we rely on people joining to really make a difference!

  • Myanmar protests
    Article: Mar 2, 2021
    By Dr Yeow Poon, Chair of CLDs, Chair of Policy in West Midlands in Libdem Voice

    History appears to be repeating itself in Myanmar with the military unwilling to relinquish control. Will thousands be killed again, as massive numbers of people nationwide protest in the streets and are engaged in civil disobedience?

    Following independence from British colonial rule in 1948, disagreements amongst political elites, the civil wars with ethnic-based groups and anxieties over communist influence led to General Ne Win forming a caretaker government in 1958. An election was held in 1960, but when minority groups pushed for a loose federal structure, which were seen by the military as separatist movements, General Ne Win took over in a coup d'état.

  • Sir Vince Cable MP
    Article: Feb 18, 2021
    By Merlene Emerson

    Over the last 15 years, a fixture on the CLD calendar has been our Lunar New Year dinner celebrations, usually ushered in by loud drumming and cymbals which accompany a lion dance, and always a sumptuous 8 course meal, crowned by an after-dinner address by a distinguished LibDem speaker.

    This year, however, due to Covid 19, we had to hold it virtually on Saturday 13 Feb via Zoom, but it was no less exciting and memorable. Our key note speaker was none other than Sir Vince Cable, who had recently published his timely book on the rise of China entitled "China: Engage!". He provided a sweeping account of his previous engagements with China, from his time as an economist with Shell, to his years as Business Secretary. I personally recall accompanying him on one of his China trips as part of his business delegation circa 2012.

  • Year of the Ox CLD image
    Article: Feb 7, 2021
    By Dr Yeow Poon, Chair of CLDs

    As the Year of the Rat gives way to the Year of the Ox, there is much to reflect on. For all of us, 2020 was a difficult year; some of us touched by death and many by loss of income, wellbeing and self-worth. So much has changed, and yet not changed.

    Those of us with memories of SARS watched with concern the British Government's late and botched efforts to tackle COVID. We saw COVID-related hate crime spike as Chinese people were shunned, and verbally and physically assaulted. Internet memes depicting Chinese people as sources of COVID were widely shared.

  • Emma Eknuckey
    Article: Jan 30, 2021
    By Emma Knuckey

    Hello! My name is Emma Jiao Knuckey and live in Southend on Sea, Essex. Ever since I was little, I had always wanted to go to China. My Godmother lived in Hong Kong and was source of inspiration to go. Upon graduating from university, I did a 21-day tour around China. It was the most amazing experience of my life. People were warm, kind-hearted, outgoing, and passionate. I remember how I cried at The Summer Palace after seeing the depiction of the Anglo-French invading it and the guilt I felt. History is so important and more than ever see it of vital significance in order to fully understand not just China but the world and indeed ourselves.

  • Sir Ed Davey MP
    Article: Dec 31, 2020
    By Merlene Emerson in Libdem Voice

    2020 may have been something of a wipe out for many. It has certainly not been an easy year for Brits coping with the twin impact of Covid 19 (now with the new more contagious strain) and Brexit.

    For CLDs, we started out the year quite oblivious to what was to come, ushering in the Year of the Rat at the National Liberal Club with our AGM and Chinese New Year celebrations on 30th January. Dr Yeow Poon, our Chair, was the key note speaker, expounding the relevance of liberal democracy in the world today.

  • Cllr Yukteshwar Kumar
    Article: Dec 31, 2020
    By Cllr Yukteshwar Kumar

    Though I have been following the Twitter handle of the Chinese Liberal Democrats (CLD) for slew of years now, I never thought one day, I shall be part of the executive committee of the CLD myself. I was neither born in China nor any Chinese blood flows in the arteries or veins of my body. None of my parents are from the rich Chinese ethnicity, so simply put- I do not have any Chinese heritage. My morphological feature does not look like a Chinese person and till class 10, I did not know about any other cities of China, except Beijing and Shanghai.

  • Bauhina flag
    Article: Dec 6, 2020

    It has come to our attention that an event will be held on 7th December, co-hosted by Young Liberals & SWHK HK on "The decline of democracy and how young Liberals can help". The invitation states "… stand against the Chinese Communist Party in a bid to restore democracy and freedom to this formerly autonomous city."

    We have concerns over the level of imbalance in debates concerning HK and since Ed, Layla and Alistair are on the speakers' panel, we wish to draw your attention to the following:
    1. Amongst CLD members and Executive members, are people who grew up in HK or have families there. Yet, CLD has never been consulted whenever the party leadership speaks about HK.

    2. HK was never autonomous under British rule.

    3. What do we mean by 'democracy and freedom' for HK? What do we mean when we say Stand with HK? Do all 6 million HKers support the protestors and are aghast at the security law?

    Please have a look at this Reuters report on 30th August 2020. According to the Reuters report, polling by HK Public Opinion Research Institute (HKPORI) showed the following:
    • Whilst 60% oppose the Security Law, only 44% support the pro-democracy protest
    movement and 19% support independence from China.
    • 56% agreed with the statement 'Do not label the protests as riots' and 44% agreed
    with the statement 'amnesty for the arrested protestors'.

    There is a lot more data in the report that warrants analysis. Of course, this was in
    August, and we know that the situation in HK is fluid. The report includes a graph that
    track public opinion from December 2019. The point we want to make here is that the
    debate should be more nuanced and based on evidence rather than from an emotional,
    ideological or parochial perspective.

    4. The Sino- British Joint Declaration - Clause 3(2) states: The HK Special Administrative
    Region will enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs which
    are the responsibilities of the Central People's Government.

    The point here is that we may disagree with some of the clauses or how the Security law
    is implemented but we should acknowledge that China has the right under the Joint
    Declaration to produce a Security Law for HK and jurisdiction over defence and foreign

    We agree that the Basic law provides the basis for universal suffrage in HK and the level of
    autonomy as delineated in the Basic Law should be upheld and defended. However, there is
    a serious question of what some of the pro-democracy advocates really want, as there are
    radical elements who are seeking to separate from China and for HK to become

    What should be the Lib Dem policy on HK? The starting point for determining the policy
    should not be what is happening now or in the past few years, but what will happen in 2047,
    which is not that far away. The choice of end game in 2047 determines what policies or
    strategies to adopt now.

    There are 3 potential end game scenarios.
    1. HK returns to China completely
    2. HK becomes independent
    3. HK continues as 'one country, two systems' for another agreed period.

    The first scenario would be in accordance with the rule of law, as HK rightfully returns fully
    to China. The second scenario would be another 'Taiwan' supported and defended by
    western powers. This scenario would be a violation of the Joint declaration which provided
    a transitional period of 50 years.

    Advocates of the second scenario see the Communist Party of China as 'evil' and must be
    defeated. There is no room for dialogue. For example, when Christine Jardine summed up
    the policy motion on HK during the Autumn Conference, she said that you either vote to
    stand with HK or you are with the Communist Party of China. This is no different from
    Brexiteers claiming Remainers are 'traitors'. The demonising of China has led to an increase
    in Sinophobia and hate crime against the Chinese and other East and Southeast Asians
    communities in the UK.

    The third scenario may be plausible but will require engagement, collaboration and
    compromise. The first scenario would require even more collaboration and compromise to
    prepare HKers to live like others in the mainland.

    The question we are asking is what the Lib Dem Party policy position on HK will be. Which
    endgame scenario does the party want to support? We also ask that the Lib Dem leadership
    consults Chinese Lib Dems on matters pertaining to China.

    Thank you and best wishes,

  • CLD supports Black Lives Matter
    Article: Dec 2, 2020

    CLDs held our Annual General Meeting on 22 November 2020. This has not been an easy year for the Party and the country said our Chair, Dr Yeow Poon. This was due in part to the uncertainty of Brexit and the devastating impact of Covid 19. There has been a rise in reported cases of hate crime and racism against those of Chinese, East and SE Asian (CESEA) descent and many businesses in Chinatown have also been adversely affected.

    Some members from CLDs were involved in the setting up of CARG (Covid19 Anti Racism Group) in tackling the portrayal of CESEA people in the media and in organising information seminars on hate crime reporting in conjunction with the police authorities. We supported the Black Lives Matter movement which started in the US and caught on in the UK. Our members have also written about the lack of teaching of colonial history in schools and highlighted problems with nutrition in children due to poverty and resulting from Covid 19.

    Turning to international issues such as developments in Hong Kong and the introduction of the new national security law, CLD executive members spoke at the Autumn Conference motion on Hong Kong proposed by Alistair Carmichael, which passed with little objection. Nevertheless caveats were raised around the tone of the motion and lack of historical context. More broadly, we are concerned that the debates around China's rise and global impact are causing a rise in Sinophobia, which feeds into racism against Chinese, East and Southeast Asian people. As a party, we need to develop a coherent and nuanced policy on China.

  • Article: Nov 30, 2020

    An open consultation was published on 26 October 2020


    The following was submitted on behalf of Chinese LibDems:

    There were 10 Questions

  • Dr Yeow Poon
    Article: Nov 23, 2020
    By Dr Yeow Poon

    The year 2020 has been challenging for the Lib Dem Party. We did not perform well during the General Election in December 2019. We lost our leader and had to wait until September for a new leader to be elected. It has also been a challenging year for the country due to the inadequate response by the UK Government in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, as we approach the end of the year, we still do not have a Brexit deal with the European Union.

Twinned Cities e-book cover

On sale now both print (£6 plus delivery) and Kindle versions of our book "UK China Twinned Cities - a friendly gesture or a viable channel for trade and investment for regional cities". Email info@chineselibdems.org.uk if you would like to purchase a hard copy or click here to buy it online.

Linda Chung: Lib Dem Councillor for Hampstead Town.

Anna LoAnna Lo to quit Northern Ireland politics due to racial abuse