A United Kingdom charity that creates opportunities for people to learn about China and Chinese culture is calling for donations to fund the first public permanent display celebrating East and South East Asian history in London's Chinatown.
China Exchange says that there are 11 heritage plaques in Chinatown that detail fascinating snippets of history, but not one of them mentions the area's cultural connection to the Chinese and East and South East Asian, or ESEA, diaspora.
The charity is now leading a crowdfunding campaign to champion Chinatown's heritage and get the stories of the people who shaped the ESEA community told.
Freya Aitken-Turff, China Exchange CEO, said: "Chinatown holds a special place in people's hearts and the area has taken a battering during the pandemic. We need people to show their support for our iconic area and pledging to this campaign is one way to do that while creating fantastic and lasting activities for visitors to enjoy. We hope that Londoners will step up and show their love for Chinatown by supporting this crowdfunding campaign."
China Exchange is hoping to secure 21,295 pounds ($29,630) in donations by May 11 to record, protect and celebrate the heritage of the historic neighborhood through its Chinatown Champions project.
This will contribute to building the display, training volunteers to deliver more of the charity's popular walking tours in the area and creating a food heritage trail celebrating the intangible cultural heritage of the area.
The project will also show support for local businesses and communities badly affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic and the wave of hate crime against East and South East Asians living in London.
Organizers also want to improve how tourists, visitors and Londoners will experience and enjoy the area, as well as improving understanding of Chinatown and about the people who shape the area.
Christine Yau, chairperson of the Chinese Community Centre, said the history of how Chinese immigrants struggled to rejuvenate the area should not be forgotten.
Tim Mitchell, a member of Westminster City Council, said: "This will be an opportunity for visitors to the area to understand more about Chinatown and also to support the economic recovery of Chinatown as we emerge from the pandemic."