Chinese-only signs in Richmond subject of new city campaign

The City of Richmond said it's trying to facilitate community harmony over a debate that's raged on for years — the uproar over signs some residents say use too little English.

City of Richmond says education campaign will let businesses know signs should be at least 50 per cent English

In 2013, Richmond City Council voted against a ban on Chinese-only signs. (CBC )

The City of Richmond said it's trying to facilitate community harmony over a debate that's raged on for years — the uproar over signs some residents say use too little English.

"We've got an ongoing education program specifically reaching out to businesses to let them know the city's preference which is that signs should be at least 50 per cent in English," said spokesperson Ted Townsend.

More than half of the population in Richmond is of Chinese descent, and over the years, some residents have expressed concern over signs that are only in Chinese.

The business license renewal notice now also includes that message in a special insert in both English and Chinese. 

The city has also asked UBC students to analyze how other communities deal with the issue, and it will hold a community workshop next month.

A city audit of signs found less than three per cent are actually in Chinese only. 

In 2013, Richmond city council voted against banning Chinese-only signs.

With files from Belle Puri.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.