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The History And Evolvement Of The Employment Of The British Chinese

1000 words - 4 pages

The History of the Chinese's Employment in the UKCharlotte Jiayu LIuWalking through the streets of London, especially the most bustling part of the highly multicultural city, apart from the native British citizens, perhaps the most race you would see is the Chinese. The UK, indeed, sometimes jokingly referred as an "undividable" part of China, probably is the largest Chinese community overseas where Chinese restaurants and groceries are boomed in every single city and the universities are crowded with the black haired students. The boost in the number of Chinese immigration in the 21st century is usually goes to the colonisation of Hong Kong in the past one hundred and fifty years, as well as the trend in Mainland Chinese students to study abroad. However, the history of immigration of the Chinese to the United Kingdom has started for a period much longer than most people imagine. Over these endless years, the Chinese immigrations' life in the UK has been changing tremendously, which is largely represented in terms of their jobs.The first Chinese that ever recorded in the British history is Michael Shen Fu-Tsung, a Catholic, who had stayed in England from 1685 to 1688 and been called to the court by King James II for several times. He helped Thomas Hyde, the historian and linguist, to catalogue and summarized the Chinese books in Bodleian Library, Oxford, and taught him some Chinese. Though Shen was not actually the first Chinese who stepped in the land, as Thomas Hyde mentioned that he used to have a Chinese assistant, whose name and length of stay is unknown, previously who accidentally died for some certain disease, he indeed assist Hyde enormously to explore the Oriental culture. (Spence, J. 2010) After Shen's visit, the Chinese in the record of British became increasingly active. I classified the history of the Chinese in Britain roughly to three period: sixteenth century to nineteenth century, twentieth century, and the twenty first century, where several major occupations dominated each period. For the first period of time, sixteenth century to nineteenth century, the Chinese in Britain mainly were sailors. In 1672, the East Indian Company began the trade with China and start to hired Chinese sailors working on the ship (Ming-Ai Institute), though most of them were only temporarily stayed in London (Kurowska, R.) and until the 1800s a large number of Chinese seamen settled on dock around Merseyside in Liverpool and Limehouse and the Dockland in London. Due the unequal contract regarding the trade between Britain and China as a result of the defeat of the Opium War in 1842, Chinese labours in the UK increased rapidly and gradually set up Chinese dock communities (Ming-Ai Institute). By the twentieth century, some Chinese seamen even married British women and had families (British Museum). There is one more thing to note is that not all the Chinese in Britain that time were labours with harsh life condition. The first man, only known as John...

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