GLASGOW’S Chinese restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets would usually be buzzing this week.

Once coronavirus is defeated, normality will no doubt return. When it does, let’s remember there is more to celebrate about the city’s British-Chinese community – the biggest in Scotland and one of the largest in the UK – than the usual stereotypes.

Whilst first-generation Chinese immigrants toiled away night and day in takeaways and laundries – as my family did – their Scottish-born sons and daughters have flourished in an impressive range of fields unimaginable to their parents.

Today, the creativity, entrepreneurialism and energy of Chinese-heritage Glaswegians can be seen everywhere. Across the city, thousands of Scots-Chinese are making a big difference in their communities.

Away from the limelight, these unsung heroes are our teachers inspiring the next generation, our entrepreneurs creating new jobs, our NHS staff caring for the sick, our budding film-makers looking for their big break and our patriotic Armed Forces personnel keeping our country safe.

The first Chinese restaurant in Glasgow opened in 1948 on Govan Road at a time when there were very few Chinese people living in the city.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that significant numbers of Chinese immigrants started to make Glasgow their home.

A milestone for the Chinese community in the city was reached in 1992 with the opening of the Chinatown complex in the Cowcaddens area – and Scotland’s last census revealed that more than 12,000 Chinese people live in Glasgow, making it one of Britain’s largest Chinese communities.

Charities like the Chinese Community Development Partnership continue to build bridges between the Chinese community and local authorities, and second and third generation Scottish-Chinese Glaswegians are now firmly established, economically successful and well-integrated.

Many bring up their own children as diehard Celtic or Rangers fans, and are passionate about the city and all it represents and has to offer.

Let’s hope the decades-long openness and warmth with which Glasgow has embraced its Scottish-Chinese community holds firm across the rest of the UK as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

Undoubtedly, coronavirus is testing all of us. It’s bringing out the very best in most, from our heroic NHS staff and others working on the frontline to the communities across Glasgow coming together to get through the lockdown.

But in others, it’s triggering the worst possible prejudices – with British-Chinese people often the target of hostility and racism in other parts of the country.

We need to be clear and firm: the British-Chinese community, many born and bred in this country, have nothing to do with the outbreak of coronavirus in China, and no connection to Beijing’s handling of it.

In fact, the British-Chinese have made Glasgow – and the UK as a whole – their home for decades, and have long contributed to our national life with diligence, patriotism and little fanfare.

We must shine a light on their endeavours and successes, so that British-Chinese people are recognised for more than the cliched image of quiet hard work.

Instead, we must change perceptions and present a more accurate picture of the British-Chinese community as it is today: a modern community of diverse talents whose contributions to our national life are varied and valued.

That’s why I’m launching The Blossom Awards – a new initiative to celebrate the work of brilliant individuals from the British-Chinese community.

From today, we’re inviting readers to nominate inspirational British-Chinese people from Glasgow and the wider region who have achieved outstanding success or made a difference to society.

It could be a friend, neighbour, family member or colleague who deserves recognition. I’m confident the awards will bring to light stories of determination, courage and accomplishment that inspire us all.

Alan Mak MP is co-founder of The Blossom Awards and the first ever MP of British-Chinese heritage

Nominations for The Blossom Awards are now open online here.