Lecture #2 (September 17, 2012)
HISTORY OF CHINESE IN CANADA
*Why do so manyAsians want to move?
1. Economic reasons (expecting that their earnings would get better)
-Better job -> better future
2. Some of them are unhappy with where they live. (Political reasons, etc.)
Early Chinese Immigration
-Fraser River Gold Rush in the 1850s
-gold discovery in Canada
-If they were happy living in China, why would they move to Canada?
-1~2 months to travel from China to Canada by ships
-Even though gold was discovered in the Fraser River, why would they try to take high risks?
-In the 1850s, many Chinese lived along the Fraser River in BC, but not all of them came directly
from China. Some of them came from San Francisco mainly from California.
-In 1850, there was a gold discovery along the Fraser River and also along the Sacramento River.
There were too many competitions around the areas. Not much rule existed, so it was hostile. Many of
them came from the northern area where the Sacramento River is (the capital of California) and came
down to BC. They didn’t have borders and customs at that time.
1. From San Francisco
-It was a dangerous trip, but they still came to Canada.
-Costs were quite a lot.
-From the Sacramento River to Fraser River
2. From China
-They heard about the discovery of gold in 1850s.
-The beginning of the major Chinese immigration to Canada
-There was not much rule in the West.
-Most of them came from the southern part of China along the coastal line.
-Siyi: Earlier generation came from there, and spoke the dialect of Siyi.
-High clustering of clans moved to British Columbia.
: Chain migration (family members, relatives) a “movement in which prospective migrants
learn of opportunities, are provided with transportation, and have initial accommodation and
employment arranged by means of primary social relationships with previous migrants
(WIKIPEDIA) (e.g., Mexican immigrants moving to the U.S.)
Characteristics of the Migration
-It is still happening today.
●Sojourner Migration (they didn‟t expect or plan to settle down in the country. „Sojourner
means a temporary resident.)
-Those people who decided to go to the new place didn’t expect to stay there for the rest of their lives.
What they expected was just getting better jobs to earn more money and mining gold. Their original
plan was to save up some money for few years and return to China with it.
Characteristics of Sojourner migration
-They didn’t want to spend money. They saved a lot.
-The objective for them was to earn as much as they could in a very short period of time without
making any trouble with local and fighting for their rights and better working conditions.
-They were willing to work for long hours and to take low wages.
-A lot of them were single males. During the leisure time some of them got involved in gambling and
eventually lost their money so they didn’t have enough money to go back to their country and remained single.
Occupations and Industries
-Mining industry owned by companies for extensive and more efficient mining
-Gradually mining industries declined.
-Small towns in the Western U.S. (California was not developed at that time)
-They did not like to spend money, and saved most of their earnings.
-They did not try to make any trouble with local.
-did not mind to receive the minimum wages.
-After the decline of mining industries, inexpensive Chinese labourers were hired to
construct railroads that connected the east and west coast.
●Low paying jobs
-Many of them didn’t get good education and lacked English skills
Race and Ethnic Relations
-Low wages and long hours of work th
-British Columbia: Economic difficulties in the 19 C.
-Many people and goods were brought from the east to the west
-More people competed for limited jobs, and the cost of imported goods were high.
->This caused the decline of the economy.
-1879: petition- exclusion of Chinese from work for the CPR and to levy tax on the
-> After finishing the construction of railroad, the economic situation of California, BC got
bad. The competition for jobs increased. There were more products, but their prices got
-Recommendation: discouraged Chinese immigrants and excluded Chinese from
-1882: BC requested the Dominion government not to allow CPR contractors to hire
Chinese, but the request was rejected.
-In 1882, the US finally had passed the Chinese Exclusion Act meaning that no more
Chinese were allowed to migrate to the US.
-1884: not allowed purchase of land
-1875: to disenfranchise the Chinese
-1890: excluded Chinese to work underground (not allowed doing mining)
-1895: BC passed a bill to bar Chinese from voting
-1896: BC passed a bill to bar Chinese from municipal election
-1885: head tax of $50
-1890: head tax was raised to $100
-1923: Chinese Immigration Act: * banned most of Chinese immigration to Canada
-The government feared that Chinese would interrupt their economy.
-Local workers formed a party only to exclude Chinese immigrants.
-The local had a fear of competition and were threatened
-The US congress in 1879
*Why would they want to move even with this hostility? Context of Chinese Emigration between 1850-1900
-Decree of the Emperor Yung Ching in 1729.
; not enforced effectively
-The majority of Chinese were not from the same ethnic group
-Supporters of the formal dynasty left their country or moved down to the southern
part of China or went to overseas.
-Those who left the country were not allowed to come back or not welcomed to
-One port, Guanzhou (Canton); the only port that contacted with other
●Great Britain led the West to “open” the door
-Opium War (1839-1842) ; The trade was in favor of China
-The major item that the British imported from China was tea.
-The British increased the exportation of opium to the Chinese, but since opium is
not a good thing the official security wanted to stop the importation of opium. One
of the local officer named Lin Zexu (Lin Tse-hsu) (don‟t have to remember)
attempted to stop the influx of drugs
-China lost the war.
-Treaty of Nanjing
-Guanzhou lost the monopoly of trade, and many people suffered in the area -> taxes soared
-> tried to pay for compensations -> things got worse
-Anglo-Chinese War (1856-1860)