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.

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injustice and colonialism everywhere. Unlike Marxists in nineteenth-century North America, Martí’s pan-american vision did not exclude Chinese migrants from the idea of unity and internationalist solidarity. During his years of exile in the United States, Martí defended Chinese migrants against racist attacks, including by white workers, and wrote sympathetically about the Chinese experience in China itself and about life and politics in India, Japan, and Vietnam. He likened the Chinese Exclusion

organising immigration developed into a business strategy. Until the last quarter of the twentieth century, newcomers enlisted by the old hands kept coming, either as passengers or as ratings with no intention of working the return. Trade unions formed by migrant and transnational workers, especially seafarers, are Janus faced – they look inwards to local ethnic communities and outwards to the global seaborne fellowship and its distant ports and hometowns. Like the land-based Chinese community,

China; the abolition of Chinese script would influence other East Asian countries and bring datong 大同, the era of great harmony, closer.33 So Xin shiji remained faithful to its ideals right to the end, even though they were relegated to a more distant future. In the debate, Xin shiji and Wu Zhihui argued chiefly on practical grounds. In evolutionary perspective, Esperanto was a crowning point of human ability, purged of the defects of natural language. Zhang Binglin repudiated this functionalist

professors were sympathetic to anarchism, whereas they kept their distance from Bolshevik students. In 1924, Jing Meijiu was appointed director of the Esperanto school and published an Esperanto supplement to his Guofeng ribao (probably a sequel to the Xuehui supplement). Some Russians – like Erošenko, no Bolsheviks – also taught at the school, so Esperanto continued to be seen either as anarchist or as a neutral language, rather than as Bolshevik. Anarchism and Esperanto in the late 1920s

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