the ying-yand symbol

At the end of the Second World War hundreds of Chinese seamen married to women in Liverpool were forced out of the UK. They left behind them their wives and their children. Few of the women were ever to see their men again. The children grew up never knowing their fathers.

These men came mainly from Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. With their families they had formed part of a Eurasian community in the city with its roots going back to the end of the nineteenth century.

The greatest flowering of this community came when 20,000 Chinese seamen were brought into Liverpool at the beginning of World War Two. They were recruited to help man the ships vital to Britain 's war effort. Many settled down with local girls and started families.

But with the end of the conflict, they were no longer wanted. They were forbidden shore jobs, had their pay cut to a third of that of British seamen and were offered only one way voyages back to Asia.

Many had been in the Chinese Seamen's Union and were blackballed by the shipowners. Unable to return, many tried to get word back to their families. In war torn Asia this was far from easy. China 's civil war had started again. The Japanese had devastated Hong Kong and Singapore.

The women were faced with utter destitution. As the wives of aliens, they had few rights. Some had their children adopted. Some worked at two and three jobs to keep their families. Some, believing they had been deserted, remarried.

We are the children and this is the story of what happened long ago.


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