On February 16th 2018, WAGIC podcast presenter Yuan Ren published an opinion piece in The Guardian entitled “Traditional Chinese new year is changing – and the UK needs to catch up.”
We would first like to clarify that Yuan wrote the piece in her capacity as a freelance journalist and not in any way on behalf of WAGIC. However, because of her affiliation with WAGIC, we feel that this also reflects on who we are and would like to make our views clear on where we stand.
We understand how many people found the piece upsetting and offensive. We can see how the piece could easily be read as a promotion of a monolithic narrative of Chinese culture and an erasure of Cantonese communities. We also recognise that this is a particularly sensitive issue given the pressure that Chinese diaspora have been coming under in recent years. Furthermore, we acknowledge concerns raised about the relationship between wealth, entitlement and cultural recognition in the piece.
We understand that it was Yuan’s intention to argue for a more diverse representation of Chinese culture around the globe, but like many readers, WAGIC found this message to be lost in the final copy as published.
WAGIC would like to assert that we in no way support any promotion of a monolithic Chinese culture or the undermining of any part of the Chinese diaspora. We believe that Cantonese communities should be able to celebrate their traditions as they wish.
Having worked with Yuan on the first WAGIC podcast, we have now come to a mutual decision to end our collaboration.
The WAGIC team