UK govt’s funding of groups with alleged links to CCP raises concerns


The controversy has raised concerns within the charity, as they fear some families may retreat from the community centres…reports Asian Lite News

A consortium of Hong Kong community groups has raised apprehensions regarding the UK government’s flagship programme aimed at welcoming Hongkongers, alleging that it has provided funding to an organisation purportedly connected to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The concerns emerged following the announcement of grants exceeding £3 million to support east and southeast Asian communities, including individuals who have recently arrived in the UK via the British National (Overseas) (BNO) immigration route.

According to a report by the Guardian, one of the grant recipients, the Wai Yin Society, a Manchester-based charity operating three community centres, received £39,990. In an open letter published on Monday, 28 groups supporting Hongkongers accused senior members of the Wai Yin Society’s leadership team of maintaining an “unusually close relationship” with the CCP and its UK apparatus.

The focus of these concerns centres around Juanita Yau, the chair of Wai Yin Society, and Karen Wang, the vice-chair. In 2021, Yau participated in a virtual celebration organised by the Chinese consulate in Manchester to commemorate the CCP’s 100th anniversary. The signatories of the letter argue that Yau’s attendance amounted to a public display of political support for the CCP.

Similarly, Wang has held the position of deputy director at the University of Manchester’s Confucius Institute since 2010. She was involved in a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the University of Manchester in 2015. Confucius Institutes, which offer Mandarin language and Chinese cultural lessons through British universities, have faced criticism due to perceived ties to the Chinese state.

Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson for Wai Yin Society emphasised their commitment to attending various community events as a gesture of courtesy and promoting community cohesion. The charity talked about participating in events representing diverse communities, including Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and even royal occasions such as the king’s birthday.

The controversy has raised concerns within the charity, as they fear some families may retreat from the community centres. The spokesperson claimed that the news could deter individuals who may require support in the future from approaching the organisation. Rishi Sunak had previously pledged to close Confucius Institutes. However, since assuming the role of Prime Minister, he has voiced concerns that such action would be disproportionate.

The allegations against the Wai Yin Society have ignited a significant debate about potential affiliations between organisations supporting Hongkongers in the UK and the CCP. It remains to be seen how the UK government will address these concerns and ensure transparency within its flagship programme designed to welcome Hongkongers.

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