June 2019




General Assembly


Donald Shek

Chloe led a team to organise the Diaspora Summit and curated the exhibition at the summit. The Diaspora Summit celebrates young Chinese talents in the UK and promotes cross-cultural dialogues, diversity and collaboration.

Through a day of interactive discussions with speakers, engaging workshops and exhibition, the Diaspora Summit showcases the many achievements of the Chinese diaspora community in the UK.

For the exhibition, Chloe curated a series of work by Donald Shek that are based on the stories of Limehouse Nights, a 1916 short story collection by the British writer Thomas Burke. The stories are set in poverty-stricken Limehouse district of London, which formerly was Chinatown. The opening story titled ‘The Chink and the Child’ was about the devout love of a Chinese man for a white girl. This book was banned in circulating libraries and book shops for the author’s evocative portrayal of a hybrid East End of London. Interacial couples were a big issue and the cohabitation in Chinatown undermined the hierarchical structure of race that upheld Britain’s imperial status quo.

Since this publication Limehouse area, Chinatown, and the Chinese diaspora became a topic of popular discussion. Thomas Burke considered his contribution magical rather than detrimental. He built a curiosity of this dark, elusive, exotic community in Limehouse and through the white gaze fueled exotic fantasy of Chinese people. Stories that are exaggerated and romanticised or more accurately – fetishized – slowly start to form stereotypes that still exist today. Although the book was fiction, it had formed the stereotype of Chinese people globally – becoming an inspiration to many filmmakers like Charlie Chaplin.