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Chinese Immigration And Integration In Canada

2999 words - 12 pages

Chinese immigrationandintegration in CanadaSubmitted by: Sammi Cheung Student number: 500342755POL 129 Section 011 15 March 2013In order to look at the history of Chinese immigration in Canada and how this reflects on Canada, and its success in welcoming and integrating immigrants, one needs to divide the history into different episodes. The first is the early settlements, mostly in British Columbia, as Chinese came more as sojourners for gold and fortune. The second would be the onset of Canadian legislations ostracizing Chinese Canadians, spawned from fear and racial discrimination. The third and last would be the period when Canada repealed many of its exclusionary legislations and truly welcomed the Chinese all together into their society.The Beginning SettlementsAround the mid to late 19th century, China was in turmoil. On the international stage, they were consistently losing wars against foreign powers. The most famous of these was the second Opium War. Where they suffered a humiliating defeat and were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking. This treaty along with the Treaty of Tientsin gave naval access to Britain's fleet and ceded the Hong Kong Island to British rule. It further insulted the Chinese by forcing them to write all official documentations in English (Hern 2011, p.135).At the same time, China was confronted by natural disasters and economic woes internally. All this together with to the international losses, severely eroded political stability and the trust of the Chinese people - causing massive civil unrest. This led to the Taiping Rebellion and Boxer Rebellion, where ten thousands of Chinese civilians were killed (Hern 2011, p.136). This instability certainly led to a major emigration from China to more stable and promising lands. Even though the Qing government had long banned emigration, due to foreign pressures, they had forcibly been opened-up to Britain (hence Canada), France, and the United States (Tan 1985, p.4).Around the same time, in 1858, there was a gold discovery along the Fraser River spread and the Cariboo Regions. Hundreds of Chinese immigrated to British Columbia, more than ever before, to seek their fortune. This influx marked the first of much continuous immigration of Chinese people into Canada (Con 1982, p.13). A vast majority of these were of the uneducated peasant class, whom were barely literate in Chinese, let alone English. They received low wages, their living conditions were horrible, and work was hard with long hours - yet they struggled to survive. Aside from mining gold, others did blue-collar work in restaurants and households (Con 1982, p.16). Their treatment by the host country was detrimental. Chang (1984) quotes from Byron Johnson, a British journalist, whom had toured British Columbia at the time:It is the fashion on the Pacific Coast, to abuse and ill-treat the Chinaman in every possible way … he is treated like a dog, bullied, scoffed at, kicked, and...

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