Official recognition of East & South East Asian Heritage Month in the UK

Official recognition of East & South East Asian Heritage Month in the UK

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Petition to
Marcus Bell (Director, Equalities Office) and

Why this petition matters

besea.n, on behalf of the East and South East Asian community in the UK, launched a nationwide movement to celebrate ESEA Heritage Month. We are seeking recognition from the UK Government, as well as non-departmental public bodies like The British Library and National Museums.

The aim of the campaign is to officially establish an annual observance celebrating the history, heritage and social contributions of East and South East Asian (ESEA) communities in the UK, recognised by the government department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and open to everyone to observe. The first ESEA Heritage Month was celebrated in September 2021, with the 2022 preparations well under way.

In practice, what does this look like?

We propose a month-long, collaborative programme of events each year in the month of September, including (but not limited to) exhibitions, talks, publications, workshops, community conversations and performances to spotlight and celebrate ESEA history and heritage in Britain. 

Anyone can observe and learn from ESEA Heritage Month! Our vision is to establish a collective movement to celebrate our cultures together. We invite any organisations or individuals identifying as ESEA or representing ESEA interests to participate, and our hope is that everyone in the UK will benefit from learning more about the rich and varied cultures represented in our community, as well as the ways in which they have shaped modern Britain and how they contribute to its future.

East Asia is made up of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan. South East Asia encompasses regions that are geographically south of China, east of the Indian subcontinent and north-west of Australia: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.


ESEA communities in the UK have been established as early as the 17th century. Today, ESEAs are one of the fastest growing ethnic communities, but little is known about our cultures and histories in the wider public consciousness. We aim to amplify ESEA voices and stories that have historically been less heard in our society, looking to observances such as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for inspiration.

We see ESEA Heritage Month as a way not only to foster community cohesion among ESEAs themselves, but to bring ESEA culture and heritage to the forefront of narratives around a diverse modern Britain, alongside other important communities like Black and South Asian groups, who also celebrate annual history and heritage months. ESEA Heritage Month will also provide invaluable resources for teachers and Early Years practitioners, to bring ESEA cultures to the classroom.


ESEA Heritage Month takes place every year in the month of September and is open to all.


We propose a UK-wide programme of events, and encourage partners and participants to organise across the four nations. Our communities organise events in various locations (including Chinatowns!) across the UK, as well as digital events. Check out the 2022 offering via our website!


The initial campaign will be launched online and run across social media and our online network, with key champions of the ESEA community and public figures of ESEA heritage promoting and supporting the campaign via signature of an open letter sent to the Equalities Office, DCMS and Cabinet Office.

We will target all major UK press outlets, as well as radio, podcast, university student unions and faith networks. We will seek out partnerships and collaborations with ESEA organisations and individuals willing to contribute to the programme of events.

We will also seek corporate sponsorship in order to carry out our key activities and to fund our marketing and PR activities. In the interim, our campaign is largely be run with our own funds and with the help of our volunteer network.

Follow updates on Instagram @besea.n, Twitter @besea_n and at

Artwork by Emma Yuan.

2,382 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!