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Home Office to investigate Chinese seamen deportations after WWII

The Chinese seamen who had once served British interests were deported without warning

The Home Office is set to investigate the circumstances around which 2,000 Chinese merchant sailors were deported from the UK immediately after the conclusion of the Second World War.

In what appears to be an earlier version of the Windrush scandal – during which Jamaicans and other Caribbean people were wrongfully deported – the Liverpool-based Chinese sailors were deported without warning in 1946.

The scandal is made all the worse by the fact the Chinese sailors had actually served the UK by crewing British ships bringing supplies from America during the height of the Second World War when the Germans were actively targeting these vessels.

Deportation orders were served on the Chinese seamen by the Home Office during a series of police raids on the Liverpool dock area.

The seamen were subsequently sent back to China within 48 hours despite the fact many had set down roots in Britain and married English women.

Seventy five years after the event Future Borders and immigration Minister, Kevin Foster, has asked the Home Office to investigate the circumstances informing the decision to deport the Chinese seamen.

Previously, Foster had expressed “deep regret” that “some of those who faced the most extreme dangers of war to keep our country supplied in its darkest hour were treated in this way”.

For its part, the Home Office maintains the deportations took place as part of the “considerable work of demobilizing and dealing with displaced people at the end of the war”.

Meanwhile, the Labor Party MP for the Liverpool Riverside constituency, Kim Johnson, described the proposed investigation as a “step in the right direction”.

Describing the deportations as a “shameful stain on our history”, Johnson went on to say she was "totally amazed that a British government could be responsible for such an heinous act of abject racism".


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