"If Chinatown suffers, London suffers"

London Chinatown shut down in a mass protest against Home Office illegal immigration raids.

Restaurants and businesses in London Chinatown shut down on Tuesday in protest against immigration raids by the Home Office, according to the Guardian.

The protest was led by business and community leaders, whilst restaurants shut for five hours. Placards reading “justice for Chinatown” and “no unfair immigration raids” were held by protesters.

Members of the community expressed outrage at the immigration raids in Chinatown by the UK’s Home Office.

Earlier this month, an immigration van in London Chinatown was halted by a woman who was lying down on the road in protest. Five men were arrested by the Home Office – four had overstayed their visas whilst one had entered the UK illegally.

Owner of the New China restaurant, Peter Ren, said the incident was one of the main reasons he participated in Tuesday’s strike.

“They (officers) blocked a street for three hours and we can’t even do business,” Ren told CNN. “It’s a small area, and the number of raids they’re doing is out of proportion and heavy-handed.”

“I’m not against immigrant checks. But treat the Chinese community fairly.”

The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) reportedly organised Tuesday’s walkout, claiming a thousand restaurants participated.

“The main issues we are fighting are aggressiveness, unprofessionalism of the Home Office,” said Joseph Wu, a spokesperson for the LCCA.“We feel Chinese businesses are being discriminated against and unfairly targeted for immigration raids. We are also worried about the changes to the search system. Now the Home Office can enter without warrants and it is very aggressive and threatening.”

“All this can be put into jeopardy if we are portrayed as a place of crime, which we are not. If Chinatown suffers, London suffers.”

Lawrence Lee, senior spokesman of LCCA added that 95% of businesses in Chinatown were shut. “A lot have come from the Midlands and further south. There is a lot of support. The main issues for us are how the Home Office has handled the raids. We have been very tolerant.” He said the atmosphere was good and “very peaceful.”