Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canadas Exclusion Era, 1885-1945

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Employment as cooks and servants, domestic work that was undesirable to White workers due to the low pay and social status, was also willingly endured rather than the alternative of returning to China and sacrificing the earnings that supported their families there. The urgency to earn money for families in China was so great that desperate times called for desperate solutions.

An illegal immigration scheme gathered momentum from the head-tax era, one that arranged for people, mostly males, to come to Canada with fraudulent papers claiming false identities. The price was high, not only for the cost of the fake identity, but also the subsequent years of living in fear of being deported back to China and keeping secret their real names, even from their descendants.

The Great Depression —39 added an additional layer of hardship. Loss of face was a deeply entrenched cultural value and a hindrance to seeking help outside of their community. Although most Chinese people turned to their traditional associations for financial assistance, those who had to rely on the government received less money than expected.

Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canada’s Exclusion Era, 1885-1945

News from China did not bring any comfort during the exclusionary years. Civil wars pitted the ruling Nationalist Party Guomindang against military warlords and rising Communist forces. Beyond these internal conflicts were external threats from Japan, starting with small-scale incidents that escalated to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in and the occupation of China. The flow of letters and remittances money sent home was interrupted, particularly after the Japanese captured Hong Kong , a major communication hub between China and North America.

The safety and well-being of family members in China was unknown.

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The declaration of war against Japan in was another tipping point. Canada and China were now allied, fighting together against a common enemy.

How Trudeau’s love for China impacts Canada

The military policy of barring Chinese recruits was reversed in in an amendment to the National Resources Mobilization Act of An estimated Chinese people, including several women, enlisted in all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces. Politicians, labour unions and war veterans joined church leaders in demanding the Canadian government repeal its anti-Chinese legislation.

Brokering Belonging Chinese In Canadas Exclusion Era

Canada, as a signatory country, contravened these new universal rights with its anti-Chinese policies. In , Canada repealed the Chinese Immigration Act. As much as the language of exclusion was removed, Chinese immigrants were still treated inequitably due to Order-in-Council , P. This order stipulated that entrance was limited to only spouses and children under the age of 18 of Canadian citizens at a time when only 8 per cent of Chinese-born residents were naturalized citizens. For other immigrants, there were no such restrictions. Delegations of Chinese and non-Chinese individuals made annual visits to Ottawa to lobby for an immigration policy that would ease family reunification.

Men in the bachelor society who dreamed of bringing their families to Canada were largely disappointed for another 20 years.

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In , immigration restrictions on the basis of race and national origin were finally removed. Chinese immigrants could now apply for entry on equal footing with other applicants. Nationwide campaigns lobbied the federal government for over 20 years to apologize for the injustices of its past anti-Chinese immigration policies. Friend Reviews.


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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Nov 03, John Jung rated it really liked it. Fascinating account of a topic of Chinese immigrant history that has received little documentation, the influential role of Chinese 'power brokers' who mediated between immigrants and the Canadian immigration officers.

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Although the book deals with Chinese immigrants in Canada, many of the same issues undoubtedly applied to those in the U. Book sometimes is overly academic, and is repetitious in Fascinating account of a topic of Chinese immigrant history that has received little documentation, the influential role of Chinese 'power brokers' who mediated between immigrants and the Canadian immigration officers. Book sometimes is overly academic, and is repetitious in many sections, but still a worthwhile work for helping understand the immigration process and its impact on how Chinese were perceived in their host country.

View 1 comment. Apr 06, E rated it really liked it Shelves: china , political-theory.


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