Chinese actor blames racism for lack of roles models

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The most well-known Chinese actor in Britain complained yesterday that his community faced such discrimination that not a single Oriental role model had emerged to replace him in the space of a generation.

David Yip, known for his role in the BBC series The Chinese Detective, which was first screened 20 years ago, complained that the Chinese had become Britain's "invisible" community, leaving them isolated and vulnerable to racist attacks. "In no shape or form has there been seen on television a person of Chinese extraction doing anything of real importance," he said.

Mr Yip spoke out at the launch of Min Quan (Civil Rights), an organisation based in Chinatown, London, which aims to highlight racial attacks on Chinese people in Britain and to ensure that victims receive fair treatment from the authorities.

The actor said that the BBC had been given much credit for producing The Chinese Detective, which he modestly described as a "run-of-the-mill" police series, but had done nothing since then to repeat the exercise.

Mr Yip, who is from Liverpool, said he had become tired of attending conferences and award ceremonies as a token representative of his community.

"I am very, very lonely," he said. "I went to one event recently and said to my wife, 'I will be the only Oriental in this building.' I was wrong because in actual fact there was a waitress."

The Chinese community in Britain numbers about 400,000.