On 1 July, representatives of the Green Party met with a delegation of the China Overseas Friendship Association at party HQ. The group wished to meet with representatives of political parties in the UK, including the Greens, as part of a two week tour of the UK that took in not just political understanding. Their programme was facilitated by Sino-UK Ltd, which specialises in UK exchanges with China. The 23-strong delegation wanted to learn about the history of the Green Party, our membership and structure. They asked about our political ideology and were interested to hear how we communicated with our audiences and sought to grow in popularity.
In reply to a question about our aims, I said, “The goals of the Green Party are rightly ambitious. We pursue justice for all of society, at home and abroad. We seek to combat climate change and to save the planet from despoilation for the sake of future generations and other beautiful species. Our goals are not short-term but long-term.” As the translator interpolated my sentences with his Chinese, I could tell from the nods and smiles that our message was universal. I wanted to ask our guests how the West’s addiction to overconsumption contributed, amongst other things, to the building of ever more coal-fired power stations in China but decided to defer that question.
We were presented with a gift, by the Chair of COFA, Ms Qin Juhua, a Chinese hand-painted porcelain mask representing opera and culture. As a member of international committee, I was masterfully flanked by David Murray (pictured, holding gift), Chief executive of the Green Party and Noel Lynch, coordinator of London Green Party (pictured to the right of DM and me). Our aim, albeit in a short meeting, was to extend our contacts, and maybe enhance our credentials, with representatives of the Chinese community both here and abroad. Noel was particularly keen for us to be able to reach out to one of the largest ethnic communities in London. There is also the possibility for a delegation of the Green Party to visit China in future, to gain insight into economy, culture and politics.