Treatment of Chinese Canadians during the late 19th century

by Johnson Nguyen

In light of recent violent hate attacks on Asian people I wanted to highlight in this playlist that anti-Asian ideology is not new and has been part of Canadian History since the country’s inception.

This is a series of pathways that encapsulates the racism and discrimination faced by Chinese Canadians in Canada during the time of the late 19th century. The racism showed to Chinese Canadian was often violent and brutal and should be acknowledged.

Acknowledging Past Wrongs
Look into documents and artifacts from the Royal BC Museum and Archives to uncover how the Chinese Canadian community was treated in BC’s past.
View Pathway

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?

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.

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.