Finalists Announced for UK’s inaugural Pearl Awards
The finalists for the Pearl Awards, the UK’s first ever awards created to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Chinese community in Britain are announced today (28 July, 2004). Awards will be made in a range of six categories including the arts, media, sport, services to community, and business enterprise and will be presented to the winners by actress Sarah Lam (2000 Acres of Sky and Brookside) at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Café Royal in London on 22 September.
Finalists for this year’s Pearl Awards include the Yellow Earth Theatre (for Creative Endeavour); Phoenix Chinese News and Entertainment TV (for Media Excellence); London Chinatown Chinese Association (for Business Enterprise); The Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society (for Services to the Community) and Save China’s Tigers (for the Reverence for Life Award).
The three finalists in each of the six Pearl Awards categories have been selected from a large number of nominations sent in by individuals and organisations from around the country. The Pearl Foundation, a social enterprise company which established the Pearl Awards, has been very impressed by the standard of nominations they received. Mr William Ong, founder of The Pearl Foundation is confident that the awards will make quite a difference to Chinese communities in Britain:
William Ong says:
“We have had a tremendous response to the Pearl Awards and we hope the awards will make a contribution to Chinese life in Britain. At present when you compare Chinese profile to that of other ethnic minorities such as African, Caribbean or South Asian, it remains very low. The Pearl Awards hope to provide inspiring role models for the Chinese and bring the efforts and achievements of certain individuals and organisations to the notice of a wider public.”
The awards have drawn a lot of interest and support from key sponsors and individuals. Lord Chan MBE of Oxton is the first Chinese peer in the UK and patron of the awards. Sponsors include the BBC and a diverse range of organisations from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to Arts Council England’s decibel initiative.
Winners will be announced at the Pearl Awards Ceremony in London on the afternoon of 22 September, 2004.
Pearl Awards - Profiles of Finalists:
Category 1. Pearl Award for Creative Endeavour
Recognising achievements in the visual and performing arts
Sponsored by Arts Council England and decibel.
Yellow Earth Theatre was founded by five East Asian performers in 1995. The company produces work that explores universal themes from an East Asian perspective, celebrating cultural diversity through an integration of theatre skills from the East and the West. The range of work covers new writing and the reinterpretation of classics, with an emphasis on exploring the links between contemporary experience and multicultural heritage. The company also runs educational workshops, residencies and community projects as part of its outreach programme.
The Chinese Arts Centre was established in 1986 by a group of Chinese artists frustrated at the lack of profile their work was receiving. It is now still the only centre in Britain dedicated to the promotion of Chinese arts and culture. The Chinese Arts Centre works extensively with Chinese artists to give them business skills and professional development, and has been central in the establishment of other Chinese arts organisations across the UK. The centre has developed a network of international galleries and organisations promoting Chinese arts, enabling artists to carry out international residencies, exhibit abroad, thus breaking down any sense of cultural isolation.
Category 2. Pearl Award for Media Excellence
Recognising achievements in film, broadcasting, new media and publishing
Sponsored by The Metropolitan Police
Pier Productions produced a programme, ‘The Shanghai Sailors’ broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2004. The programme tells the story of the search by the children of Chinese seaman who were forcibly repatriated almost 60 years ago. The programme highlighted a grave injustice done to the Chinese community in Liverpool in the weeks after the end of the Second World War. Having served bravely in the British Merchant Navy, Chinese seafarers by the thousand were picked up off the streets, bundled into vans, and taken to ships waiting to take them to China. Many left behind wives and children who received no help or information about their loved ones or compensation for their loss. In telling the story, the programme cast light on the importance of the role played by Chinese seafarers in the war, the injustice done in the repatriation, and a boost to those people trying to trace their families in China.
Phoenix CNE TV is a free-to-air Chinese language (Mandarin and Cantonese) TV channel, broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It has been integrated into Europe’s major satellite network Sky digital, as well as British, French, German and Dutch cable TV networks reaching hundreds of thousands of Chinese households across 45 countries in Europe. As well as providing high quality entertainment programmes, Phoenix focuses on a range of informative and educational programmes. Phoenix has set up news reporting stations in all major conurbations around Europe in order to ensure up–to-the-minute news. PCNE TV has resisted turning into a pay channel as the free-to-air policy will enable Chinese people all over Europe to access the programmes regardless of their ability to pay.
The Scotland-China Association (SCA) exists to foster friendship and understanding between the people of Scotland and China. It is a non-profit, non-sectarian and non-political organisation, run by unpaid volunteers. Membership and the committee includes British-Chinese and Scottish people of all ages. Traditionally, Chinese Cinema has been considered as a body of films from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China. However, during the last 20 years, a new Chinese diaspora cinema has appeared, with films made by expats, exiled Chinese people and 2nd and 3rd generation Chinese filmmakers. In 2002, SCA managed to raise enough funds to promote its first Overseas Chinese film festival, the first of its kind in Scotland and the UK, featuring films, documentaries shorts and a review of British Chinese Cinema. SCA presented their second festival, Electric Shadows, in January and February 2004. This season provided a rare opportunity to see a wealth of Chinese films, some of which had never been released in the UK.
The London Chinatown Chinese Association is one of UK’s oldest associations representing the Chinese business community. It was founded in 1978 with the objectives to unite and coordinate businesses in Chinatown, and to represent their interests at all levels of government. London’s Chinatown has been transformed into a success story through the combined efforts of Chinatown businesses, thanks to the Association’s vision and dogged efforts. The Association persuaded Westminster City Council to develop the area, in partnership with the local businesses, the police, and the major landowner, Shaftsbury PLC. It has forged business and social links beyond the UK.
Pine Court Housing Association, Merseyside
Pine Court Housing Association was founded in the early 1980s and provides good quality homes for the Chinese people of Merseyside. Pine Court Housing noticed that there was a virtual absence of Chinese people from the social rented housing sector and decided to provide bilingual services so that Chinese people can access the same facilities available to the dominant community. In order to stimulate cultural tolerance and understanding, it sought to avoid single culture geographic areas and set a lettings target of 50% to minorities on all Pine Court Housing schemes. It is now a medium sized Chinese business and one of two associations in the country where all property meets the Decent Homes Standard.
‘Elements of the East’ is the first complete Fengshui and Oriental Art retailer of its kind in the West Midlands. Its owner, Junita Hamblin, studied and researched ancient Chinese art and fengshui for 11 years before setting up the business. It was awarded ‘Retailer of the year 2003’, to recognise its achievement in bringing interest and understanding of Chinese culture to the British public, and bringing different communities together. Besides organising many promotional events, Elements of the East also promotes Chinese culture through frequent appearances on radio and newspapers.
Sponsored by the National Crime Squad
Chinese Information Advice Centre, London
The Chinese Information and Advice Centre (CIAC) is one of the longest established voluntary organisations serving the UK Chinese community. It has been available to all people of Chinese origin and has been a source of help, support and information to thousands of disadvantaged people who would otherwise have nowhere to turn. In particular, CIAC helps the most vulnerable Chinese in this country, from refugees and asylum seekers to women victims of domestic violence. CIAC is the first Chinese organisation to hold a Legal Services Commission franchise. This means that it is able to offer free legal advice and representation on immigration, nationality, asylum, family and employment law to low-income families and individuals. In addition to its direct service provision, CIAC works closely with mainstream organisations to help them develop their services to help cater for the needs of Chinese people.
Chinese Arts Forum (CAF) was established in Newcastle in December 2001, a nd is dedicated to promoting Chinese arts and culture in the North East of England. During the last two years, CAF has established partnerships with a number of mainstream arts organisations in the North East. CAF is also committed to working with Chinese artists and helping with their professional development. CAF is a founder member of the recently launched North East Cultural Diversity Arts Forum (NECDAF). At present CAF is working with the Chinese Centre (North of England) for the celebration of the coming Moon Festival in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Sponsored by Chinatown The Magazine
Wang Haijun had an impressive record as a Taiji competitor, having won gold medals three times in the Chinese National Martial Arts competition. He is also a grade one coach, having gained his qualification in the Wuhan Sports Academy in China. Since coming to the UK he has worked tirelessly to increase the standard of Taiji practice in this country and he is currently mentoring groups throughout the UK, Ireland and the USA. In China, Taiji competitions regularly attract thousands of young competitors to a single event. Wang Haijun has succeeded in training foreign students to achieve gold medals in major competitions in mainland China – a rare feat for people living outside China.
The United Kingdom Chinese Table Tennis Association (UKCTTA) has been established since March 2002 as a non-profit making voluntary organisation. It was founded by a group of enthusiastic players with the aim of developing the sport in the Chinese community. In the past two years, UKCTTA has organised a range of events including organising and promoting training centres for table tennis,and hosting championships at local and national levels. In addition, UKCTTA is working to facilitate Chinese youth developing healthy and constructive use of time and to minimise barriers in terms of expense. On 29th August UKCTTA will be holding the UK Chinese Championships for the second year.
Category 6. Special Category – The Reverence for Life
Recognising commitment to the protection and welfare of animals in accordance with humane principles.
Sponsored by World Society for Protection of Animals, WSPA
Dr. Henry Lee, Brentwood Essex
In 1996, Dr Lee persuaded most major Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) importers/suppliers to form the Chinese Medicine Association of Suppliers (CMAS), to accept a Code of Practice, a strict ethical and moral policy and CITES regulations concerning endangered animals,that disown any process involving cruelty to animals. CMAS actively works to protect public safety by withdrawing toxic products like aristolochia, endangered animal parts and heavy metals or products adulterated with prescribed medicine which had been very prevalent. With the support of New Scotland Yard CMAS is routing out any suppliers trading in endangered species.
Pei Feng first came to the UK from Taiwan to learn English. She assists the Environment and Animals Society of Taiwan, and also has been working in international animal welfare for some years now, based in London. She has been helping animal protection societies throughout Asia by capacity building, expertise and grants. She has also contributed enormously by bringing understanding of Asian issues and culture to her organisation, enriching their knowledge of Asian issues and the practicalities of carrying out animal protection activities in the region. Pei Feng has also been a brave and intrepid campaigner, carrying out undercover investigations and exposing these fearlessly.
“Save China’s Tigers (SCT) – a UK, US and Hong Kong based charity was founded in 2000 by Beijing born Ms. Li Quan. The foundation’s aim is to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered Chinese tiger and to strive for its protection and preservation through public education, introduction and experimentation of advanced conservation models to China, and raising funds to support these initiatives. SCT has formed a partnership with Chinese government agencies. Following an innovative programme of rewilding Chinese tigers in South Africa, those tigers that have successfully regained hunting skills will be returned to a newly established pilot reserve in China. The first rewilded Chinese Tigers are expected to be reintroduced into the wild in China in 2008 to coincide with the hosting of the Beijing Olympic Games.
1. Nominations were received from across the country. Members of the public were able to nominate people and organisations by filling out nomination forms that were in Chinatown - the magazine and on the Pearl Awards web site.
2. Media requests for interviews with finalists should be directed to Colman Getty PR.
3. The Pearl Awards are sponsored by: BBC, Business Link, Arts Council England’s decibel initiative, HM Prison Service, Sun Lik Beer, WSPA, National Crime Squad, Metropolitan Police, Mihan
4. The Pearl Awards also gratefully acknowledge the support of:
Lord Chan of Oxton, Chinese for Labour, The Chinese Conservative Club, The Liberal Democrat Party, Ben Chapman MP (Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China), City of Westminster, Chinese Community Office, British Chinese Society
5. Patron of the Pearl Awards is Lord Michael Chan MBE of Oxton
6. William Ong, founder of the Pearl Foundation and the Pearl Awards is available for interview.
7. The Pearl Award, pronounced Bo Le in Mandarin Chinese, is phonetically homonymous to the word ‘Pearl’. Bo Le was a man who lived in the period of the Warring States in Chinese history, who was famous for his ability to pick out a thoroughbred from a herd of horses. It denotes the gift of wisdom to pick the best from the masses. It is in keeping with our foundation aim, which is to select and to award talented Chinese. The association with Pearl also comes in the proverb "hui yan si zhenzhu" meaning “It takes wise eyes to recognise a precious pearl”.
For further information please contact:
Georgina Langdale or Hayley Booth at Colman Getty PR
Tel: 020 7631 2666 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org