Composition & Conversation
24 April 2013
Chinese Overseas Migration
When referring to the countries for the contemporary Chinese overseas migration, most Chinese would be likely to choose the developed countries such as The United States or Canada. Dating back to the sources for the Chinese overseas migration to America, it began at the time of 18th century. If not counting the ancestors of the Amerindians who presumably crossed the Bering Strait in prehistoric times, the Philippine sailors were the first to settle in the U.S. However the Chinese were the first large-scale Asians immigrants to enter the United States around 1848. At that time, their purpose was to earn more money so that they could bring the salary back to China (Le). What’s more, the young men had to leave their wives and children in China behind. There is no doubt that they suffered a lot when they first arrived there. For there was a table from Most Frequently Occupations showing the statistics on employed Chinese males that most of their occupations were labors or servants since the California god crush (Jocobson 11). However, there was a time when the Chinese were much widely accepted by Americans. Even though in the 19th century miners, laborers, and servants were still three of the top occupations they took, surprisingly there came the increasing number of other various occupations like shopkeepers, shoemakers or the barbers (Murphy 21). What’s more, in actuality, the first large-scale Chinese immigrants were finally wealthy, successful merchants, along with skilled artisans, fishermen, and hotel and restaurant owners. For the first few years they were greatly accepted by the public, government officials, and especially by employers, for they were renowned for their hard work and dependability. However, the first Chinese immigrants boom did not last for a long period that after a much larger group of coolies, unskilled laborers, who usually worked for very little payment, migrated to the U.S. like a wave in the mid 1800's (Robinson 28). And from then on, American citizens’ attitudes became much negative and hostile. By the year 1851, there were 25000 Chinese, most of which centered in and out of the “Gold Rush” area, working in California. During that time, more than half of the Chinese in the U.S. lived in that region (Robinson 37). As time passed by, the situations had already changed a lot. It is necessary to know more about the migration trend for the Chinese in the 19th century. There were two main reasons for the people leaving China to make a living overseas especially in America and some other countries that were more bustling. The first reason was that South China was troubled by overpopulation, land shortages, famine, drought, banditry, and peasant revolts so that a great number of young men sought their fortunes overseas (Ip). Forced by such troublesome situation, those able-bodied men made their living first in South-East Asia and then further dug out more opportunities in western countries. The second reason for most of the Chinese immigrants choosing to move to western countries was that the discovery of gold in California, New Zealand and Canada provided them with those valuable chances of works (Ip). At that time, Chinese laborers became the best choices for the miners because white people were not as willing as Chinese men to be paid with low salary. What’s more, Chinese workers were thought to be hardworking, inoffensive. For instance Nigel Murphy says that “in New Zealand, the Otago goldfields attracted the first batch of organized Chinese migrant workers. They were recruited by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce when European miners left Otago for the newly discovered West Coast goldfields” (Murphy). And those Chinese workers intended to make their fortunes and then return to China rather than settling permanently in other lands....
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