SOAS China Institute celebrated the School or Oriental and African Studies’ Centenary with special events in the UK and China, including an exhibition on Chinese migration and a symposium in China. The exhibition ‘British or Chinese? Stories of Migration, Family and Identity’ is based on the research of SOAS China Institute Deputy Director Dr Jieyu Liu. The exhibition draws on life history interviews Dr Liu and her team have conducted with UK residents of Chinese ethnic origins over the past 18 months and is divided into three major themes: migration, family and identity.
Dr Liu said:
“When Britain commenced maritime trade with Qing dynasty China in the late 17th century, the first Chinese migrants came as sailors aboard East India Company ships and lived in London near the docks. Since then, the Chinese who have come to make their home in Britain have journeyed from the expansive Chinese Diaspora, with diverse origins, and distinct dialects and customs.
“This exhibition builds upon the interviews with people of Chinese ethnic origin in the UK and documents their stories in migration, family and identity making.”