CIAC was founded on September 1982 by the merging of several existing Chinese groups in London, each of which had several years of community work experience. A Sunday advice service was established, pamphlets were published covering areas of social policy, and the group served as a resource to both statutory and voluntary agencies in the London area.
Six months later, the Ethnic Minorities Unit of the Greater London Council (GLC) approached the group seeking help to organise a consultative conference, the aim of which was to explain the GLC’s policies to Chinese community groups and for community members to air their views.
On October 1st 1983, only a year after it began, CIAC became an independent centre, with the help of grants from the GLC.
The community development work CIAC engages in, especially in the area of womens’ support, has been wide ranging. Campaigns around issues such as racial harassment, workers’ rights and domestic violence have been at the heart of what CIAC does. Beyond campaigning, CIAC has organised conferences in response to the Home Affairs Committee Report (1985) on racial attacks within the Chinese community (1988). Furthermore, the Centre has worked directly with the National Health Services by conducting research on Chinese medicine.