Chinese Canadians in pre and interwar British Columbia

by Aron Brown

Images and text shed light on Chinese narratives of the late 19th century in British Columbia up till the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923.  Through analyzing these sources we aim to recognize the historical context in which these events and prejudices took place, and begin an informed conversation on how they affect the present.

Racist anti-Chinese cartoon, 1879.
The caption reads "A Heathen Chinese in British Columbia."  This is a cartoon from the Canadian Illustrated News, 1879.  How is the white male depicted compared to the Chinese male? What might their faces tell us about their character?  What is the significance of the sign in the top right corner?  What might this cartoon tell us about the author?

The Chinese Immigration Act of 1885
With the creation of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 a head tax of 50 dollars was placed on all Chinese immigrants coming to Canada.  The head tax was subsequently raised in 1900 and again in 1903 to the cost of 500 dollars.  

Petition to amend the Chinese Immigration Act
A petition drawn up by Chinese residents of Victoria, BC asking for an amendment to the Chinese Immigrant Act.  What changes are they proposing?  What would this amendment do?  Who would it affect?  Why might these residents be asking for this amendment?
Taken from Library and Archives Canada. MIKAN no. 1600681

Damaged store due to Anti-Asian riot of 1907
V. Kawasaki Bros store on 202 Westminster Ave. Vancouver. The store received damage from the Asiatic Exclusion League during the Anti-Asian riot of 1907.  What was the intended purpose of the damage?

Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation
This document gives a comprehensive report on the historical wrongs against Chinese Canadians, the apology given by Stephen Harper in 2006 for the Chinese Head Tax, and Chinese Exclusion Act, and recommendations for reparations.