The Chinese Of British Colombia Essay, Research Paper
In the 1850 s the early immigrants to Canada suffered also of ethnic prejudice and were considered unfit for full citizenship. Even though residents of BC considered the Chinese unassailable under any circumstances, they tolerated them because the Chinese were a useful form of cheap labor. But in 1885 the Canadian government imposed a head tax to decrease the Chinese immigration to Canada, since the construction of the CPR was over. To be admitted into Canada, Chinese immigrants had to pay an $100 fee, but after complaints from BC politicians the fee was raised to $500. On July 1st 1923, the Chinese Immigration Act was passed which excluded anyone that was Chinese from immigrating to Canada. This was known as Humiliation Day, where Chinese Canadians would boycott Dominion Day celebrations. This legislation was not removed until 1967 when the point system of immigration was introduced.
Many of the Chinese workers that came to Canada were men who had families back in China. They came to Canada to raise money for their wives and children back home. They could not bring their families with them because of the head tax. Eventually they would go back to China if they had enough money but many did not and they spent the rest of their lives in Chinese bachelor houses in Canada. In 1931 there were 1,240 men to every 100 women in Chinese Canadian communities.
Many of the immigrants that arrived in Canada before the 1950 s were coolies that only came to Canada because of the CPR, some were even kidnapped and forced on to boats destined to Canada. These coolies worked under appalling conditions and out of the 17, 000 workers, who came to Canada, 700 of them died constructing the railway.
During the Construction of the CPR Chinese workers received less than 50% paid to white workers even if they were working side by side. Also before the 1940 s, Chinese workers were barred from many professions such as law pharmacy and accounting. Many of these discriminatory acts have been repealed after the signing of the UN charter.
During the late 70 s changes were made to the Canadian immigration policy again. This time it prompted the arrival of many wealthy middle class entrepreneurs because the policy stated that they had to show a net worth of at least $500,000 and investment in Canadian business venture of at least $250,000.
After the rush of wealthy Hong Kong businessmen in the 1980 s the racial tensions once again surfaced, especially in Vancouver. Many perceive that Chinese immigrants are arrogant, moving too fast, driving up property prices and ruining established neighbourhoods with their monster homes. Also many white parents in Vancouver complain that Chinese immigrants dominate the school honour roles and some even complain that, quote David Craig, The Asian kids have better cars than the teachers do. Therefore many Chinese owned cars are spray painted with words like Kill Chinks, Go back to China and White Power.
Recently there have been illegal immigrants coming from the province of Fuijan who are seeking refugee status. They arrive by paying international smugglers outrageous fees and then overcrowding into tiny boats destined for Canada. But since they are not fleeing persecution or facing any threat to their lives, most of them are denied refugee status and get deported back to China. They chose to immigrate illegally because harsh restriction on immigrating by legal means. But Chinese boatpeople are only a fraction of those trying to illegally immigrate into Canada. Some nationalities have a much easier time getting into Canada, like Koreans because they do not need a visa and have relatively cheap flights.
Immigration to Canada has fallen in recent years, as result Canada took 20,000 fewer immigrants last year than was estimated, mainly because legal immigration is only open to people with money, marketable skills or immediate family in Canada. Therefore if they do not have any of those things, their only choice is to huddle in the hull of a decrepit boat.