The immigration minister agreed to investigate what happened to some of the 2,000 Chinese sailors who were forcibly detained and deported from Liverpool in 1946.
MP Kevin Foster expressed “deep regret” on behalf of the government for the families that were torn apart when their loved ones were captured and sent back to China after World War II without warning or explanation.
He said he had asked Home Office officials to review records to help find out what happened to the loved ones of many British Chinese families on Merseyside who were recruited from China to work in the merchant marine, often under cover in difficult and sometimes deadly conditions.
Although the minister stopped short of offering an apology, he agreed to meet with the men’s adult children, many of whom grew up in poverty when they took away the main breadwinner in the family.
In a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Liverpool Riverside MP Kim Johnson, who took the campaign to parliament, described the events as “one of the most openly racist actions ever undertaken by the British government” and “a shameful stain on our history. “
Foster agreed that the decision to deport the Chinese sailors was driven by racism at the time and said Interior Ministry staff would be trained on men’s history to “learn from the past.”
“We would all sit here now and say that this is not a policy that would be implemented today, and it is absolutely shocking that those who had literally risked their lives during the Battle of the Atlantic were treated that way,” he said. saying.
“On behalf of the government, I express our deep regret that some of those who have faced the most extreme dangers of war to keep our country supplied in its darkest hours have been treated in this way.”
Johnson, a Labor MP who has campaigned in parliament for truth and justice for families, said she was delighted that the hard work of the sailors’ children had finally led to an Home Office investigation.
“I welcome the recognition by the undersecretary of the Department of the Interior that these events were nothing less than blatantly racist, and while his expression of ‘deep regret’ is not the complete apology we were looking for, it is a step in the right direction. .
“I look forward to the report of the Interior Ministry investigations and will continue to fight alongside my constituents and the community at large until these state crimes are fully recognized and justice is served with a full apology from the government.”
Judy Kinnin, an activist and one of the daughters of the Chinese sailors, said she was grateful to Johnson for understanding “how important it is for us to know the facts about what happened to our parents and how this has haunted us our entire lives. . ”.
Although the 76-year-old is glad that there is finally some movement, she said, “I’m really hurt that it took 75 years.”
She is still desperate to discover her father’s fate.
“I want to know what happened to him. Did you return to China? And do I have family out there? That’s all I’m interested in, honestly, I just need to know, ”he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism