Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917-1945 (Chinese Worlds)

Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917-1945 (Chinese Worlds)

Gregor Benton

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0415666457

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The transnational and diasporic dimensions of early Chinese migrant politics opened in the late nineteenth century when Chinese radical groups bent on overthrowing the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) vied with one another to win Chinese overseas to their modernizing projects, and immigrants who had suffered discrimination welcomed their proposals. The radicals’ concentration on Chinese communities abroad as outposts of Chinese politics and culture strengthened the stereotype of Chinese as clannish, unassimilable, xenophobic, and deeply introverted.

This book argues that such a view has its roots less in historical truth than in political and ideological prejudice and obscures a rich vein of internationalist practice in Chinese migrant or diasporic history, which the study aims to restore to visibility. In some cases, internationalist alliances sprang from the spontaneous perception by Chinese and other non-Chinese migrants or local workers of shared problems and common solutions in everyday life and work. At other times, they emerged from under the umbrella of transnationalism, when Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist activists overseas received support for their campaigns from local internationalists; or the alliances were the product of nurturing by Chinese or non-Chinese political organizers, including anarchists, communists, and members of internationalist cultural movements like Esperantism.

Based on sources in a dozen languages, and telling hitherto largely unknown or forgotten stories of Chinese migrant experiences in Russia, Germany, Cuba, Spain and Australia, this study will appeal to students and scholars of Chinese history, labour studies and ethnic/migration studies alike.












slavery was abolished on the island. These cuadrillas, together with the barrio itself, were an autonomous niche in which Chinese could develop their own politics and associations. From another angle, the cuadrillas system increased the power of the Californians. Pérez de la Riva compares them unfavourably with the Afro-Cuban abakuá or ñañigos, fraternities open to people of all provenance, not just Afro-Cubans, and endowed with a ‘profound solidarity’ of the sort he believed had characterised

hawking cheap jewellery, neckties, and soapstone carvings, arrived before and after the First World War. A minority from Hubei sold paper flowers. These migrants from Zhejiang and Hubei failed to establish strong communities.1 The first truly stable Chinese settlement in the early years was in Barcelona, where the traders were joined before the war by a handful of Chinese seafarers.2 Foreign volunteers in the Spanish Civil War In July 1936, civil war broke out in Spain, after parts of the army

Congress in 1896, it declared in favour ‘of the autonomy of all nationalities’ and called for the establishment ‘of international social-democracy’.23 On the whole, however, its interest in national self-determination stuck at the level of general pronouncements it did little to carry out. Not until relatively late did it start to spread out from its initial base in Europe and the English-speaking world: first to central and southern America, then to Japan and other parts of Asia.24 Even so,

Amy D., ed. 2005. Writing Women in Modern China: The Revolutionary Years, 1936–1976. New York: Columbia University Press. Drachkovitch, Milorad M., ed. 1966. The Revolutionary Internationals, 1864–1943. Stanford: Hoover Institution. Duara, Prasenjit. 1996. ‘Nationalists among Transnationals: Overseas Chinese and the Idea of China, 1900–1911.’ In: Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Mod- Bibliography  145 ern Chinese Transnationalism, edited by Aihwa Ong and Donald M. Nonini. London:

San-ching Chen, eds. 2000. The Guomindang in Europe: A Sourcebook of Documents. Berkeley, CA, University of California. Li Changfu 李长傅. 1981 [1936]. Zhongguo zhimin shi (A history of Chinese colonisation). Shanghai, 1936. Excerpted in Huagong chu guo shiliao (Historical materials on the emigration of Chinese labourers), edited by Chen Hansheng. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1981, vol. 4, pp. 111–43. Li Jinxi 李锦熙. 1934. Guoyu yundong shigang (Historical sketch of the movement for a national language).

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