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Roundup: British minister supports building of memorial to WW1 Chinese labour corps

Xinhua,December 08, 2017 Adjust font size:

LONDON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- A high-ranking British government official has voiced on Thursday his support for the building of UK's first public memorial to the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC).

It has been announced Thursday at a press conference that the memorial, launched by Ensuring We Remember campaign three years ago to pay tribute to the 96,000 Chinese labours who participated in the first World War in Europe, is to be constructed at a new business district on the northern side of the Royal Albert Dock in Newham, east London.

The 9.6-meter high monument is scheduled to be unveiled on Sept. 6, 2018.

Lord Bourne, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Faith, said at the press conference that he is delighted to see many people in Britain and China are contributing to the project.

"I couldn't be more pleased, on behalf of the government, to be welcoming and looking forward to seeing the monument to be built and opened soon next year," he told Xinhua.

He praised the Ensuring We Remember campaign as a great effort for the long overdue memorial to "the brave men who served in Chinese Labour Corps".

"They formed the largest contingent of workers recruited for the war effort, but too little is known of the dangerous yet essential work they carried out on the Western Front. They came to Britain's aid in her hour of need, so it's right that we remember and honour their contribution and within a year we will see what promises to be a magnificent addition to London's diverse cultural heritage sites," he noted.

Wholehearted support has also been received from Stephen Timms, local MP for East Ham, in which the memorial is now to be built. He has tabled on Thursday a motion in Parliament noting that the contribution made by the Chinese has yet to be fully recognised, and welcoming the building of the memorial at the Royal Albert Dock.

"It is regrettable that their toil and sacrifice were largely overlooked after the Great War, and have never properly been commemorated. A better tribute should be paid to their extraordinary contribution; their sacrifices helped deliver Britain's victory. I warmly welcome the planned permanent memorial in Royal Albert Dock," Timms said.

At the press conference, the Ensuring We Remember campaign signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese development company ABP London, who has set aside 100,000-pound budget to support the memorial's design, landscaping, lighting, foundation construction planning and licensing.

The monument, named Huabiao in Chinese, will face due east, directly towards Jinan, capital of Shandong Province from where the majority of labourers originated. At its base four photographs will be made into bas-relief carvings, depicting the journey, work and sacrifices of the Chinese workers.

Thomas Chan, who heads the campaign fundraising appeal, said,"After a hundred years it is time for all of us, young, old and from all backgrounds, to remember how these young men volunteered to come from China to assist Britain and her allies, and were part of the reason that peace was secured in Europe and the world." Enditem