In this series of podcasts, the story of how a brutal policy of forced repatriation caused thousands of Chinese men to disappear from Liverpool at the end of World War II. This policy, orchestrated by the British government, would leave families traumatized and the community broken.
During World War II, one in seven merchant seamen in the UK was Chinese. When the war was over, many returned to the lives they had built in Liverpool. But instead of the hero's welcome received by British servicemen, they found themselves facing sudden deportation. Despite many having roots in the city, including jobs, marriages and children, they were labelled troublemakers. Almost all of them were forcibly removed.
In this episode, we speak to the families left behind to poverty, stigma and racism and hear how secrecy surrounding the policy from the British government has exacerbated the families’ suffering – and hampered plans to find lost relatives.
We also speak to Rana Mitter, an Oxford University historian specializing in modern China, about the fate awaiting seamen once repatriated to China after more than a decade of war in the Pacific.
Presenter: Jamie Owen
Producers: Elizabeth Mearns, Mark Ashenden
Series Producer: Simon Morris