Great Fortune Dream: The Struggles and Triumphs of Chinese Settlers in Canada, 1858-19966

Great Fortune Dream: The Struggles and Triumphs of Chinese Settlers in Canada, 1858-19966

by David Chuenyan Lai, Guo Ding

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Overview

In 1858, gold was discovered in the Fraser River. News of this discovery travelled to the Pearl River Delta, where, in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, many Chinese sought to escape the poverty, overcrowding, political unrest and even slavery—invaders from western Asia captured and shipped many Chinese to South America as “piglets.” This tumultuous period marked the beginning of Chinese migration to Canada. At first, white settlers welcomed the cheap labour provided by these “coolie labourers,” but as the gold rushes came to an end, so did this period of relative peace. Soon, white settlers viewed the Chinese settlers’ acceptance of lower wages for longer hours of work as a threat to their livelihoods. Anti-Chinese organizations formed and pressed politicians to exclude Chinese from government work and restrict Chinese immigration. After British Columbia entered confederation in 1871, politicians would not receive support from white settlers unless they condemned Chinese migrants as “the grasshoppers” of BC, a plague that would eventually devour the province. For the century that followed, segregation and discrimination against the Chinese would be a hallmark of white citizens of Canada. Great Fortune Dream: The Struggles and Triumphs of Chinese Settlers in Canada, 1858–1966 describes Chinese migration and life in Canada according to the four periods of Canada’s policies on Chinese immigration, ranging from Free Entry to Exclusion. In 1967, the Canadian government adopted a universal immigration policy, ending these discriminatory laws and advocating multiculturalism. Great Fortune Dream is also the story of the changing relationship with China, both for Chinese migrants and for other Canadians. What began as a population of displaced Chinese migrants working to save their great fortune for a better life back in China evolved into a community of Chinese Canadians, one with roots firmly planted in the history and culture of Canada.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781987915303
Publisher: Caitlin Press
Publication date: 04/28/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

David Chuenyan Lai taught in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria for thirty-five years and retired in 2003 as a professor emeritus. His major research interests are the urban development of Chinatowns and the history of Chinese migration to Canada. More than half of his three hundred publications are related to these two areas. He has surveyed over forty Chinatowns across North America and has been an honorary consultant to the Chinatown gateway projects of Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Portland. He has received forty-one awards in recognition of his scholarship and community services and is a member of the Order of Canada.
Ding Guo has been a journalist since 1990, contributing to publications such as World Economic Review magazine, China Times Weekly, World Journal, Asian Weekly and Ming Pao Monthly. He also worked as a commentator for political programs on Shanghai Eastern Radio, Talentvision TV and CBC Radio and has been a producer and commentator on OMNI BC since 2003. He has received several awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Jack Webster Award for journalism.

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