Local Chinese Association
= international matchmaker
Recently I've been wondering how British SMEs, colleges and city governments might benefit more from the presence of local Chinese associations, especially as they try to build links with China. My plan is to wite a longer article about this question very soon, which I hope will generate some discussion (and good ideas!).
As part of this "wondering", last week I met up with Lu Shuyan, General Secretary of Portsmouth Chinese Association (PCA) to find out about who what they do. PCA is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, though Portsmouth's Chinese community is much older than that. The Association has seen quite a lot of change during that time of course – not least because Portsmouth University attracts in many students from the Chinese mainland.
A few years ago, our local government asked PCA to identify a Chinese city that might be suitable to enter into a "twinning" arrangement with Portsmouth. PCA played a big part in setting up an arrangement with Zhuhai . There's a sense of harmony about that choice I think – two major ports, one old one new, both nestled on south coasts, islands visible from the shore, sunshine and sea breezes…
Actually, the reality on that day was a bit different. To avoid coffee-shop noise we sat outdoors at the Gunwarf Quays as we recorded the ten-minute interview which you can listen to here. Autumn was blowing in, and we held onto our hot drinks. As soon as the recording was done, we dashed back into Café Rouge to thaw out again.
Hope you enjoy the conversation. Please excuse the sound quality – I probably need to buy a better mic.
Lu Shuyan at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth