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The Struggle of Chinese Immigrants

By velvet09 Nov 26, 2008 416 Words
Searching for a new solution to their problem, Chinese immigrants came to Canada with hope. Canada was known as a source of opportunity and a place to build a family. What Chinese immigrants didn’t know was how they would be treated once they got here and the struggles there would be to stay in Canada. Did Canada ever stop to think about what it was doing for its reputation? The discrimination that Chinese immigrants faced while they were here in the 19th century was unbelievable, and that even to this day it has almost been forgotten is quite sad for the history of Canada. Chinese Immigrants came to Canada in search of opportunity but instead they found hard work, discrimination and inequality. Among many factors that encouraged the Chinese to migrate to Canada and other countries, the main reasons were due to war and gold. Once the Opium war had begun in 1839, which dealt with conflicts between Britain and China, “... the countryside of south china, where most of the battles were fought, had been laid to waste” (Chan 663) along with China’s commercial life in 1842. This created the urge for everyone in China to move or leave. However, there was more trouble to come when Hong Xiuquan started the Taiping Rebellion in 1851. This civil war was even more damaging to the countryside of southern China than the Opium war. By the end of the civil war there were over 20 million Chinese dead. Now more than ever did Chinese people feel the need to find change and escape from their country. Chang Tsoo and Ah Hong were the first Chinese immigrants to come to Canada during this time, and they are known to have paved the way for more Chinese immigrants to follow. However they were not the very first Chinese people in Canada. There were previous Chinese people in Canada, but they arrived much earlier than this time period and therefore, Chang Tsoo and Ah Hong are considered the first Chinese immigrants. In 1858 Chinese merchants decided it was a good idea to, “...set up shop in Victoria...” (663) and begin making their own Chinese communities. Despite a war torn homeland, the main reason Chinese immigrants to rush into Canada was for the gold mines. Gold mining actually started in San Francisco but then gold was then found by the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. This brought the Chinese immigrants to travel north for more jobs around the 1860s.

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