Scotland needs to do more to tackle racism against the growing numbers of Chinese people living and visiting Britain, the author of new book on the Chinese has said.
Barclay Price, whose book The Chinese in Britain – A History Of Visitors and Settlers is launched on Tuesday – was speaking ahead of the Chinese New Year next month and Edinburgh’s first festival to promote the city as one of Europe’s premiere “China-friendly” destinations.
Price said with the increasing numbers of Chinese settling and studying in Britain it is important to welcome people into the community to avoid antagonism.
There are approximately 400,000 Chinese people living in Britain, with many attending universities or visiting as tourists or on business.
In 2011 Lothian and Borders police made a public apology after it admitted failing to treat the murder of Chinese takeaway delivery driver Simon San, in Lochend, Edinburgh, a year earlier, as a racist attack. In another case two men were sentenced for the attempted murder of Chinese takeaway owner Jie Yu, in Pilton, Edinburgh, in 2014. Police Scotland described the case as a hate crime.
Price, a former arts administrator, said: “The middle-class expansion in China means more people than ever want to travel. This, combined with the resident Chinese population in Scotland and the UK means it is important we learn more about their culture and make sure they are properly assimilated.
“What’s important is to avoid antagonism becoming worse” he added. “Pressure of numbers can worsen such situations.”
Price said despite Chinese residents now being second, third and fourth generations, they experienced one of the highest levels of racism.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, MSP, said: “Scotland is a better place because of our many diverse nationalities and communities.
“I have been at the sharp end of bigoted abuse and know how deeply it impacts on those individuals targeted as well as their families and wider communities.
“That is why it is so important we ensure we are tackling hate crime and prejudice in all its forms.
“Racially aggravated offences recorded by the police have decreased in recent years, but these do not include cases where racism was considered an aggravator to another crime. We are working with Police Scotland as they develop the data they hold on hate-related incidents, including information on race-related incidents, so we can better understand these crimes and their impact.
“New hate crime laws will ensure our police and courts have the powers they need to prosecute those who would deliberately target others due to their race or other characteristics.”