Betty Yao


Betty Yao is currently the managing director at Credential International Arts Management. In 1992, she established the first Chinese language television channel in Europe, CNE, to bring China to a mainstream European public. Yao then became the program director at Asia House, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom that promotes the understanding of Asia in Europe. In 2007, she was awarded by the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her efforts to promote Asian culture in the UK.

Yao first saw John Thomson's negatives on a visit to London's Wellcome Library with the Asia House in 2006. She was struck by the geographic and social diversity of the beautifully composed images, as well as the photographer’s respect for his subjects. When Yao discovered that the photos had never been seen outside China, she determined to curate an exhibition of the digital prints to tour of China. The exhibition opened in April 2009 at the Beijing World Art Museum and toured to Fujian and Guangdong. The 2010 European tour opened at the Liverpool Maritime Museum, and traveled to the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, the Museum of East Asian Antiquities in Stockholm, and the Chester Beatty Collection in Dublin. Since then, the exhibition has returned to China for a second tour in Shenzhen, Nanjing, and Hangzhou.