• CARG

Interview with Pek San Tan

Two of CARG's core team members were alleged to be bias due to past association with events and organisations that were deemed pro-China and anti-democracy by some people. CARG after some deliberation has decided that we need to present their side of the stories as the allegations, innuendos and smearing by the press and social media are not true.

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Yeow

In recent months, some people have been running a campaign to defame you by alleging that you have lobbied to have representatives of the Hong Kongers in Britain group excluded from a Metropolitan Police Forum and implying that you cannot be trusted because of past associations with organisations deemed to be pro-China.


According to the allegations you were once the Head of Press for the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA). Please explain your role and function. What did you do and for how long?


Pek

I was a volunteer for the Chinese New Year celebrations in London Chinatown since 2012. In the last 4 years (2017-2021), I was given the title Head of Press by LCCA, as a volunteer, to assist with Press Accreditation and support artists/guests with interviews during the Chinese New Year event over a period of 2 to 3 weeks. I was not and never have been the Head of Press for LCCA as an organisation.


For the 2020 Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown, incidents of racism and hate crime against East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) communities rose due to the way the Covid-19 pandemic was reported, often accompanied by media images of ESEA people in masks. As I raised the issue of safety in London Chinatown, I was invited by the Chinese Information and Advice Centre (CIAC) in London Chinatown to attend a Met Forum on community safety. At the same time, LCCA asked me to pass on any information on safety issues from the Forum for future festival events in Chinatown.


I was not a member of staff, nor a part of LCCA management and governance structures. I have no engagement with other aspects of LCCA activities other than the voluntary activities mentioned above.


Yeow

The British Chinese Project (BCP) was established to inspire young British Chinese to be more interested in British political and civic life, as well as to encourage more British Chinese to exercise their right to vote. One of the allegations against Christine Lee is that she may have used the British Chinese Project which she founded and funded, as a means of influencing the political aspirations of young British Chinese.


What was your role in the BCP?


Pek

I was recruited in 2012 by the former CEO of BCP, Joseph Wu, as a Project Manager on a report on the relationship between the Chinese community and the police. I worked full time on this project from January 2012 – August 2012. After my contract ended, I was consulted in part as a volunteer and in part as a contractor for proof-reading the work of the researchers until publication in 2013.


The other activities I took part in when I was at BCP between January 2012 – August 2012 included:

  • Assisted a victim of crime to make a police report and witnessed first-hand the challenges faced by victims where English is not their first language

  • Developed the Inspired London Chinatown Olympic Volunteering programme with CIAC

  • Assisted in the British Chinese TV Programme (BCTV) to give British Chinese youths an insight into creative roles

  • Assisted in voter registration days to support community outreach across political parties


Yeow

You represented CARG, in rotation with other CARG Core Team members, in meetings of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Hate Crime ESEA Forum. Allegations have been made that you lobbied to have representatives of the Hong Kongers in Britain group excluded from the Forum.


Is this true? If not, please clarified what you said and whether there are witnesses who can confirmed what happened?


Pek

This is untrue. The membership to forums hosted by The Met is decided by The Met. This was explained to the Forum members at the first meeting I attended. This was again reiterated on a forum meeting in December 2021 and again in January 2022 where it was discussed at greater depth. No member of the forum has any control over the membership and we were reminded not to send invitations to non-members as The Met has strict guidelines on membership and controlling the number of participants at each forum meeting. This attracted further discussion and at the January meeting an Inspector attended the forum to give a presentation on the structure of forums and membership process.


The forum members present, when membership was debated in December 2021, can confirm that I did not speak at the meeting except to introduce myself. At the following meeting in January 2022 where membership rules were presented by The Met, I represented CARG in attendance and contributed that all ESEA community members with a concern over racism, safety and crime should be given an opportunity to sit on forums with The Met, as exclusion by limiting member numbers would be a disservice to the wide diversity of ESEA communities in London


Yeow

Thank you Pek for your candour in answering my questions.


Disclaimer

The interview was conducted and written up by Dr Yeow Poon between March and April 2022. The content expressed in the interviews do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CARG and any of its members or supporters.


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