Birmingham welcomes high profile delegates for 68th China National Day celebrations

Birmingham’s Chinese community came together with local dignitaries and a high powered delegation from the Chinese government for the 68th anniversary celebrations for China National Day, held last week.

Chaired by Ming Lee from the Birmingham Chinese Business Union, the event brought together the combined efforts of 15 Chinese societies in Birmingham to celebrate the strength of culture in the city.

The day began with a free show for more than 300 elders and the evening saw over 350 people attend a special event at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre at the Holiday Inn. The evening’s guests included Chinese government minister Hui Ma, local councillor Haitian Lu, Lord Mayor Anne Underwood, Lord Mike Whitby and Liam Byrne MP.

Minister Ma was delighted to see the Chinese community in Birmingham coming together at such a grand event, especially with so many young Chinese graduates and immigrants getting involved. He stressed the importance of the relationship between China and UK remained in times of uncertainty, with Brexit looming.

The chief vice-chairman was James Wong, Chair of the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee and Managing Director of Chung Ying Restaurant Group, who said: “We were delighted to see the Chinese Embassy send four high profile officials to come and join in our celebrations, especially someone as high profile as Minister Ma. It had been months in planning this event and it was highly successful, showcasing the strength and variety of Chinese Culture in Birmingham.

“We took the event as an opportunity not just to speak about current successes but also gain support for key projects in the pipeline, including the Chinese Arch Project in Southside.”

The planned 40-foot Chinese arch is set to be installed as part of a multimillion-pound new public square announced earlier this year. The Southside Square development is set to transform the area around Hurst Street, Ladywell Walk and Thorp Street into a vibrant public space fit for markets, festivals and outdoor performances. Championed by Southside Business Improvement District (BID), the project is in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Hippodrome and the Chinese Community.

Paul Garry, Chair of Southside BID, added: “It has been a honour for the event to be hosted in Southside and we are delighted for the Chinese Embassy to recognise the Chinese Community here. We hope further investments from China will continue and make this city more prosperous.”

The celebrations come ahead of the next big celebration of culture in the area, when the Mid-Autumn Festival returns on 7 October. Set to welcome around 3,000 visitors, the event is a day of celebration to mark harvest time and the biggest moon of the year, and will see everything from spectacular lion dances and entertainment, to delicious street food stalls and exciting Chinese arts and crafts stalls.