Our History

32,000 people have joined China Exchange events since we opened in 2015.

By programming two festivals, curating seven exhibitions, leading five volunteer projects and holding over 300 events, we have created inclusive and unexpected ways for people living in the UK to understand China, Chinese culture and London’s Chinatown.

Since 2015:

  • We launched the first UK celebration of writers and writing from and about China – China in Context – and we are now planning the third edition for 2021.
  • We created the first archive of London Chinatown’s heritage in City of Westminster Archives documenting the never-before-detailed history of how an area of Soho became the iconic focal point for the UK’s Chinese communities.
  • We brought Chinese public square dancing to the UK for the first time with our How Do You Guangchang Wu project in partnership with Southbank Centre and Goldsmith’s Confucius Institute of Performing Arts getting 180 people dancing as a result.

In 2018, China Exchange became the first place in the UK to install a plaque to commemorate the contribution of the Chinese Labour Corps, 140,000 men recruited by Britain and France to serve in the First World War. Their role is yet to be formally recognised. Through events and activities to highlight the CLC, China Exchange has:

  • Raised over £1000 towards the Ensuring We Remember campaign for a public memorial
  • Welcomed over 250 people to events on the topic; and
  • Taken part in a Channel 4 documentary, Britain’s Forgotten Army.