Chinese community members call for racism-free New Zealand

Several Chinese community members met with government representatives on 23 July, calling for a racism-free New Zealand, at Christchurch Rewi Alley Chinese School, the largest of its kind in the South Island.

The recent “Racism is no joke” campaign has attracted big attention and provoked a great response from New Zealand’s Chinese community since it was launched on 16 July.

The campaign is an initiative co-developed and sponsored by the Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) under the Department of Internal Affairs, as well as the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, as a specific response to fight racism towards Chinese and other Asian people in New Zealand because of COVID-19.

At the meeting, some community members shared their feedback and feelings about the experience of being racially discriminated during the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed appreciation to what the OEC has been doing to increase community voices in this field.

Ricky Lee, a member from Christchurch Taiwanese community, and Ansun Zhong from the Chinese mainland, brought to the meeting a poster they designed, which read, “New Zealand is our home too.” Zhong and Lee are heads of the New Zealand Charitable Association’s South Island branch.

Lee said he wants a better New Zealand for his daughters’ generations to live in.

The Chinese community members met with the OEC’s newly appointed Executive Director Anusha Guler and Regional Manager Community Engagement Southern, Shane Whitfield.

Guler, who is based in Wellington, particularly paid a visit to the school during her time in Christchurch.

Guler said she wants to build direct connection with the local Chinese community as she very values the relationship between the OEC and the community.

Members of the New Zealand China Friendship Society attended the meeing.

Chinese community members held a poster saying, “New Zealand is our home too.”