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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4520
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1901-2005
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.5 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Chinque | Samuel | 1908-2004 | political activist x Sheng | Chen Tian


Administrative/Biographical history:

Samuel Chinque (Chen Tian Sheng) was born in 1908 in Kingston, Jamaica. On the death of his mother Samuel and his father moved to China and at the age of 18 he became a merchant seaman and discovered socialism as a result of his struggle to improve his fellow sailors' pay and working conditions.

Samuel eventually settled in Liverpool as the British-based representative of the Chinese Seamen's Union. He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1935. After setting up the Anti-Japan Salvation Front during the Second World War he found himself in conflict with the Chinese Government and this convinced him to join China's Communist revolutionaries.

With Britain's entry into the war he joined the Liverpool Fire Brigade and served as an auxiliary firefighter and union activist. After the war he became an informal rallying-point for seamen, revolutionaries and students from the Chinese diaspora. Among his visitors were prominent Chinese revolutionaries who suggested that he move to London to establish the Kung Ho Chinese Mutual Aid Association. They also invited him, in 1947, to head the first overseas branch of China's Hsinhua News Agency.

Hsinhua was at that time the only British-based organisation to represent, and speak for, the People's Republic of China and its Communist Party. As such it became a model for successive branches opened around the world. Hsinhua remained active in its Chancery Lane home until Chinque's retirement in the 1980s when it moved to Swiss Cottage, North London.

Chinque was a member of the negotiating team that lobbied the postwar UK government to re-establish trade between Britain and China. In 1963 he was expelled from the Communist Party of Great Britain after refusing to endorse the anti-Chinese position adopted by former Sovier premier Nikita Khruschev; he consequently joined the Chinese Communist Party.

Samuel Chinque continued to run the Hsinhua agency until he was 74 and he remained a formidable and charismatic figure in London's Chinese community well into his old age. He died in 2004.


Scope and content/abstract:

Personal papers of Samuel Chinque, political activist, including issues of the Hsinhua weekly news sheet; photographs; official or business correspondence; administrative documents for the Chinese Mutual Aid Association; publications; official personal papers; original writings and poems; and private correspondence.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and Chinese.

System of arrangement:

LMA/4520/01: Hsinhua News Agency; LMA/4520/02: Campaigning Records; LMA/4520/03: Personal Records.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

This collection was acquired in 2008 as part of 'Footprints of the Dragon' Heritage Lottery Fund project led by the Chinese National Healthy Living Centre.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The following Chinese community collections were acquired as part of 'Footprints of the Dragon' Heritage Lottery Fund project led by Chinese National Healthy Living Centre: LMA/4497-4515, 4518, 4520.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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