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Ethnicity and community : southern Chinese immigrants and descendants in Vancouver, 1945-1980 Ng, Wing 1993

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Ethnicity and Community: Southern ChineseImmigrants and Descendants in Vancouver, 1945-1980byWing Chung NgB.A.(Honours), University of Hong Kong, 1984M.Phil., University of Hong Kong, 1987A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of HistoryWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAugust 1993© Wing Chung Ng, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate^ach-eir^, f 9 4'3DE-6 (2/88)iiAbstractThis study seeks to understand Chinese ethnicity as a processof ongoing cultural construction engaged in by Chinese people inVancouver from 1945 to 1980. Drawing evidence primarily from theethnic press and voluntary organizations, it uncovers a diversityof cultural positions articulated by different groups of Chinesewith respect to their ethnic identity and sense of community. Thisinterior discourse on Chineseness unfolded in part because ofchanging demographic conditions within the ethnic group. After theSecond World War, the older settlers who had arrived in Canadabefore the exclusion act of 1923 were joined and graduallyoutnumbered by their Canadian-born descendants and new immigrants.This development ushered in a contest for the power of culturaldefinition among various generations of local-born and immigrantChinese.The emergent diversity of ethnic constructs in the Chineseminority after 1945 also reflected the continuous influence ofChina and the new opportunities Chinese people began to enjoy inCanada. The former unitary outlook of the ethnic group regardingthe close relationship of overseas Chinese with their home countrywas displaced, but not by any simple cultural re-orientation toCanada. Particularly among the immigrant Chinese, the concern forthe native place, the care for family members in Mainland China andHong Kong, the desire to promote some form of Chinese culture inVancouver, and a residual interest in Chinese politics remainedsalient dimensions of their ethnic consciousness. At the same time,the dismantling of discriminatory legislation and other racialbarriers in the larger society afforded Chinese people for thefirst time the option to nurture an identification with Canada.In the 1970s these two fundamentally different culturalorientations were reconciled, as the discourse on Chineseness tookon a new paradigm. Under state multiculturalism and with the riseof ethnic sentiments, members of the Chinese minority advancedtheir claims to be "Chinese Canadians" within the officiallyenshrined Canadian mosaic. Despite popular subscription to thiscategory, immigrant and local-born Chinese invested this label withdifferent meanings. The underlying diversity of Chinese ethnicconstruction was once again unveiled.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract^ iiTable of Contents^ ivList of Tables vList of Figures^ viiAcknowledgements viiiINTRODUCTION^ 1Chapter One:^Historical Background^ 26Chapter Two:^New Immigrants and the Contest forCommunity in the Post-War Era^ 41Chapter Three: The Coming of Age of the Local-bornChinese, 1945-1970^ 91Chapter Four: Rituals, Finance, and the Resilienceof Traditional Organizations inthe Post-War Era^ 141Chapter Five: The Chinese Between Two Worlds,1945-1970^ 197Chapter Six:^Towards a "Chinese Canadian" Identity,1971-1980 251CONCLUSION 315Selected Bibliography^ 323List of Tables2.1 The age and sex distribution of the Chinesepopulation in Vancouver City, 1951^ 452.2 The number of Chinese immigrants enteringCanada and British Columbia, 1946-1970 472.3 An estimate of post-war Chinese immigrantsarriving in Vancouver, 1946-1970, and thetotal Chinese population in Vancouverin the census years^ 492.4 The number and percentage of dependent children(under 18) and wives among Chinese immigrantsentering Canada, 1946-1967^ 512.5 The age and sex distribution of the Chinesepopulation in Canada, 1951 and 1961(in percentage)^ 542.6 A list of youth corps established bytraditional associations in Vancouver'sChinatown in the 1950s^ 682.7 A partial list of autonomous Chinese youthsocieties in Vancouver in the post-war period^772.8 A summary of Hai Fung Club's major activities,1959-1968^ 803.1 The percentage of native-born Chinese withinthe Chinese population in Canada, 1901-1981^953.2 An estimate of the percentages of the threedifferent groups in Vancouver's Chinesepopulation, 1951-1971^ 954.1 The annual ritual cycle observed by traditionalChinese organizations in Vancouver inthe post-war period^ 1514.2 Clan associations and the birthday celebrationof progenitors in the post-war period^ 1544.3 An incomplete list of national conventionsheld by traditional associations in Vancouver'sChinatown in the post-war period^ 1574.4 Investment in real estate by Vancouver'straditional Chinese associations inthe post-war period^ 1674.5 The repurchase of shares from the baizi hui bythe Hoy Ping District Association, 1955-1970^1704.6 A classification of share-holders according tothe amount of their investment in the baizi hui of the Wong Wun San Society Headquarters, 1953^1764.7 Individual contributions to a loan inthe Lee Clan Association, 1952^ 1785.1 The number of immigrants entering Canada fromChina and Hong Kong, 1949-1965 2106.1 The number of Chinese immigrants enteringCanada and British Columbia, 1961-1980^ 3046.2 Time of arrival in Canada for Chinese inGreater Vancouver, 1981^ 3066.3 The number of immigrants arriving in Canadafrom China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, 1971-1980^307viviiList of Figures1.1 Vancouver's Chinatown, ca. 1910^ 291.2 Vancouver's Chinatown, ca. 1927 343.1 A copy of the charter night programme of theVancouver Chinatown Lions Club, January 29, 1954^1054.1 Recognition of financial contributions tothe Mon Keong School, 1944^ 1654.2 The regulations of the baizi hui in Fong Loon TongHeadquarters, 1961^ 1744.3 The itinerary of Foon Sien Wong, delegate ofthe Chinese Benevolent Association of Canada,in his journey to Ottawa to present a brief, 1955^1855.1 A leaflet showing the endorsement of candidatesby the Chinese Benevolent Association inthe federal election, 1953^ 2346.1 Organizations represented at the founding meetingof the Chinese Cultural Centre, February 11, 1973^280vi i iAcknowledgementsIt is impossible for me to acknowledge every debt I haveincurred in the course of completing this piece of work. ProfessorEdgar Wickberg, my mentor, has been most generous with his adviceand encouragement. I am also grateful to Professors Graham Johnson,Robert McDonald, Diana Lary, Alexander Woodside, Arif Dirlik, andMing Chan for rendering very thoughtful comments at various points.Without the financial support of a Canadian CommonwealthScholarship from 1988 to 1993, it would have been impossible for meto undergo my training as an historian at The University of BritishColumbia. Likewise, this study would not have been feasible if notfor the kind agreement of many individuals and organizations tofurnish materials for my research.My wife, How Ling, has sacrificed her career so that herhusband can realize his dream. Her support, patience, andunderstanding, as well as the cheerfulness of Cheuk Ming and StellaHai-yan, are deeply appreciated.1IntroductionThis study is part of a scholarly effort to improve theunderstanding of Chinese ethnicity, or cultural identity. Similarto many other topics in Chinese social history, the burgeoninginterest in Chinese ethnicity can be related to the increasingconvenience of undertaking field work in Mainland China in the lasttwenty years. More importantly, new ways of thinking aboutethnicity came about in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Since then,a generation of academics in the West has shown keen interest inprobing the subject from various disciplinary perspectives. Chinaspecialists were attracted to this intellectual enterprise onlybelatedly, but in the last few years the work of sociologists,anthropologists, and historians has made exciting progress.In brief, it is no longer tenable to take ethnicity asequivalent to, or prescribed by, the primordial elements that aperson inherits at birth, or that a group of people passes onnaturally from one generation to another. This is not to deny theexistence of inheritable cultural traits such as language,religious beliefs, social values, historical experience, bloodties, and the like. Nonetheless, the cultural items embedded in anyethnic category acquire significance only in a particularhistorical circumstance. Ethnicity is increasingly recognized inscholarly discourse as situational and subject to negotiation byindividual agents, interested groups, or the state. The most2meaningful inquiry is not to compose a laundry list of heritageitems to prove or disprove that ethnicity is present, but todecipher the historical process in which a certain ethnic identityemerges as a cultural construct and how it evolves over time.'Pamela Crossley's fascinating study of the Manchu bannermenduring the Qing dynasty is the first major monograph on modernChinese history that espouses this perspective on ethnicity. 2 Sherejects the conventional understanding of the racial identity ofManchus as a cultural given which was derived from a deep-seatedand exclusive sense of peoplehood in imperial China's northeasternfrontier. Instead she argues that two discernible processes were atwork to collapse various groups of Jurchens, and a smaller numberThe new thinking on ethnicity is most often associatedwith Frederik Barth ed., Ethnic Groups and Boundaries (Boston:Little, Brown, 1969), especially his well known "Introduction," pp.9-38. The sharp division between the so-called "primordialists" and"circumstantialists" is mentioned abundantly in the literature anddoes not need to be repeated. See an often cited example in NathanGlazer and Daniel Moynihan eds., Ethnicity: Theory and Experience (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975), pp. 18-20. Myformulation draws on the work of Charles Keyes and others whichsteers between the two extreme poles but still puts the stress onthe amenability of ethnicity, as a cultural construct, tocontextual forces and situational exigencies. Keyes, "TheDialectics of Ethnic Change," in idem. ed., Ethnic Change (Seattle:University of Washington Press, 1981), pp. 3-30; and anotherearlier article of his, "Towards a New Formulation of the Conceptof Ethnic Group," Ethnicity Vol. 3 (1976), pp. 202-13. JudithNagata is another exponent of this theoretical position. See herinfluential article, "What is a Malay? Situational Selection ofEthnic Identity in a Plural Society," American Ethnologist Vol. 1,no. 2 (1974), pp. 331-50.2 Crossley, Orphan Warriors: Three Manchu Generations andthe End of the Qing World (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1990).3of Han Chinese and Mongols, into a tenacious Manchu category. Thefirst one was the intense desire of the early Qing emperors toconsolidate a Manchu identity for the sustenance of ideologicalsupremacy and political control. More powerful and persistent thanimperial designation in nurturing a Manchu sensitivity was theexperience of a significant proportion of the bannerman populationin garrison residence in Chinese cities. Crossley's observation onthe changing configuration of these national and local forcesbehind the flowering of Manchu identity during the last halfcentury of the Qing dynasty is especially intriguing:As court sponsorship of Manchu livelihood and identitywas withdrawn in the middle nineteenth century, theinternal strengths of the cultures and communities of thegarrison sustained the Manchus apart, and the repeatedviolence Manchus suffered in the social disorders of thenineteenth century and in the Republican Revolutionundoubtedly worked to reinforce their separation. As thehigher Qing political structures disintegrated, overtManchu separatism and an ethnic discourse emerged. 3Based on these findings, Crossley further argues against thereceived paradigm of "sinicization" in Chinese historiography,which dwells on the assimilation of the minority groups by themajority Han Chinese. That Chinese version of a melting-pot theoryis not reconcilable with the historical realities in China,according to Crossley. Ethnically defined social categories and3^Ibid., p. 228.4relationships were as salient and significant in China's past asthey are alive at present. 4In a more recent study, Frank Dikotter has convincinglydemonstrated the prevalence of racial construction and stereotypesamong China's political and educated elites since the latenineteenth century. 5 Revealing as this is, the strengths of the newresearch on ethnicity in the China field do not seem to lie in thiskind of traditionally conceived intellectual history. The newscholarship is most remarkable in unveiling the process of culturalnegotiation on ethnic identity in local society. This is the casewith Crossley's work which draws on the history of the Manchugarrison in Hangzhou. Among anthropologists, Fred Blake's work onSai Kung in Hong Kong underlines the contest for culturaldomination among various southern Chinese dialect groups and themanoeuvrability of ethnic labels and boundaries. 6 Dru Gladney'srich ethnographic analysis of Muslim Chinese identity after 1949 infour different localities sheds considerable light on the interplaybetween the local socio-economic and cultural milieu and the state4 Crossley has elaborated this argument in a more recentarticle, "Thinking About Ethnicity in Early Modern China," LateImperial China Vol. 11, no. 1 (1990), pp. 1-35, which is a thought-provoking introductory essay for a special issue on "Ethnicity inQing China."5 Frank Dikotter, The Discourse of Race in Modern China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992).6 Blake, Ethnic Groups and Social Change in a ChineseMarket Town (Hawaii: University Press of Hawaii, 1981).5power in matters of cultural definition.'As in the local history of national minorities, the process ofethnic construction was equally salient in the context of migrationsettlement that involved primarily the Han Chinese. The research ofWilliam Rowe on Late Imperial Hankou, for example, has driven homethe importance of ethnic (or sub-ethnic) identities on the basis oflocal origin in structuring the economic, social, cultural andpolitical lives of residents in an "immigrant city." 8 Whereas Roweand others seem to have taken the home district identities of theirsubjects literally, Emily Honig boldly applies the concepts ofethnicity and cultural construction from current American ethnicstudies to her work on ethnic identity and prejudice amongurbanites in modern Shanghai. She delineates the trajectory of a"Subei" category invested with derogatory meanings by the dominantJiangnan people since the mid-nineteenth century and shows how thenegative stereotypes that suffused in public attitudes,7 Gladney, Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in thePeople's Republic (Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies,Harvard University, 1991). A comparable treatment of minorityethnicity on a smaller geographic scale is Stevan Harrell,"Ethnicity, Local Interests, and the State: Yi Communities inSouthwest China," Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol.32, no. 3 (1990), pp. 515-48.8 Rowe, Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796-1889 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984), particularlypp. 213-51. Also relevant is the work of William Skinner. See his"Mobility Strategies in Late Imperial China: A Regional SystemsAnalysis," in Carol Smith ed., Regional Analysis Vol. 1 (New York:Academic Press, 1976), pp. 327-64; and "Introduction: Urban SocialStructure in Ch'ing China," in William Skinner ed., The City inLate Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1977),pp. 521-54.6bureaucratic decisions, and the workplace were contested by themigrants from Jianghuai. Her work is a powerful revelation of ahitherto unstudied discourse on ethnicity in the history of China'slargest city in the modern period. 9These prefatory comments on the new scholarship of Chineseethnicity can hardly do justice to the depth of, or convey theexcitement of, this intellectual endeavour. The point, however, isto highlight the theoretical moorings and approaches that help toorient the new research. The present study undertakes a comparablehistorical inquiry into the ethnic discourse of the Chinese in anoverseas migration context in Canada. The subject is relativelyunexplored in Canadian Chinese history and in the larger literatureon the overseas Chinese. It is further hoped this work will restoresome necessary balance to the current understanding of Chinese (orAsian) ethnicity in North America.An Interior History of Chinese EthnicityConcern about majority-minority relationships and the issue ofracism in North American society has given rise to a particulartradition in the studying of the Chinese or "Oriental" experience9 Honig, Creating Chinese Ethnicity: Subei People inShanghai, 1850-1980 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992); and"Migrant Culture in Shanghai: In Search of a Subei Identity," inFrederic Wakeman, Jr. and Wen-hsin Yeh eds., Shanghai Sojourners (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University ofCalifornia at Berkeley, 1992), pp. 239-65. Informing hertheoretical position is, for example, a famous article by WilliamYancey et al., "Emergent Ethnicity: A Review and Reformulation,"American Sociological Review Vol. 41, no. 3 (1976), pp. 391-402.7in Canada. As exemplified by the works of Peter Ward and PatriciaRoy in the case of British Columbia, some Canadian scholars haveorganized their research entirely around the questions of theorigins and manifestations of Anglo-Canadian racism thathistorically confronted the Chinese and other Asian-derivedimmigrant groups in this country. The details of their findingsneed not detain us here, though it may be noted that for sometwenty years or so the major argument has continued to be whetherracism was culturally driven or economically motivated. 10 Thestudies of Anthony Chan and Peter Li that seek to uncover -- onefrom a more personal and historical perspective and the other froma structural and sociological analysis -- the damaging effects ofinstitutional racism on the life of the ethnic Chinese provide an10 Ward, White Canada Forever: Popular Attitudes and PublicPolicy Towards Orientals in British Columbia (Montreal andKingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1978; second edition,1990). Roy has published numerous articles on the treatment of theChinese and the Japanese in B.C. during the late nineteenth andearly twentieth centuries. See particularly her book, A White Man's Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1858-1914 (Vancouver: University of British ColumbiaPress, 1989). The more recent and highly provocative study of KayAnderson will be discussed below. Keeping alive this tradition ofstudying the Asians as a testimony to Canadian racism is thecurrent work of Timothy Stanley, See his "White Supremacy and theRhetoric of Educational Indoctrination: A Canadian Case Study," inJ.A. Mangan ed., Making Imperial Mentalities: Socialization and British Imperialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press,1990), pp. 144-62; and "Defining the Chinese Other: WhiteSupremacy, Schooling and Social Structure in British Columbiabefore 1923," Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia,1991.8important variation of the same theme.' 1Encapsulating the history of the Chinese in Canada under therubric of racism, the above studies convey little about theinternal dynamics and the perspectives of the Chinese as a minoritygroup. However sympathetic to the Chinese they may be, these worksconsider them largely as hapless victims of discrimination,exclusion, and oppression. In their terms, Chinese ethnic identityis externally defined. These studies suggest that a group of peoplehappened to be "Chinese" because they were defined through theirmistreatment by others as "Chinese."This way of looking at the "Chinese" only through western eyesis practised to the extreme by Kay Anderson in her book onVancouver's Chinatown. Deploying an impressive array of westernsocial theorists, Anderson argues that "Chinatown" and "Chinese"were racial categories constructed by European Canadians throughthe use of state machineries. Such a "racialization" process, asshe describes it, was a means of cultural management whereby thedominant majority could perpetually define the ethnic Chinese as"others" and "outsiders." On the part of the Chinese, Andersonfinds little except the internalization of those imposed categoriesand exogenous characterization, which is then construed as a piece11 Anthony Chan, Gold Mountain: The Chinese in the New World(Vancouver: New Star Books, 1983). Despite his academic credentialsand the promise to render "a Chinese Canadian insider's view ofCanadian history" (p. 8), this is a disappointing book that ispoorly organized and lacks balance. Peter Li, The Chinese in Canada (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1988).9of solid evidence showing their subjugation to a western culturalhegemony. 12The irony of this argument of a cultural hegemony is thatunintentionally, Anderson (and those who work in this tradition)has actually constructed another hegemony in academic discourse.Chinese people are portrayed in her work as being stripped of theirpower of self-definition. They had no cultural baggage orentitlement of their own; and even if they had any of those, it didnot count. What is historically and sociologically important is notthe things these Chinese did or said, but simply how they wereabused and why. Fully preoccupied with the western perceptions ofChineseness, the scholar has deprived the ethnic Chinese of theirown voices. 13This study examines Chinese ethnicity as a process of ongoingcultural construction engaged in by Chinese people in a localsetting. The main thrust of my discussion is to uncover an interiordiscourse among the Vancouver Chinese on what is their own culturalidentity. Scholars have defined ethnicity, or ethnic identity, innumerous ways reflecting different emphases on the biological,cultural, or sociological dimensions of this complex phenomenon.' 412 Anderson, Vancouver's Chinatown: Racial Discourse inCanada, 1875-1980 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's UniversityPress, 1991).13^My overall assessment of Anderson's work is given in mybook review in Histoire sociale - Social History, forthcoming.14 The following articles are a good introduction to thesizeable theoretical literature on the subject of definitions ofethnicity: Wsevolod Isajiw, "Definitions of Ethnicity," in Rita10In this study, Chinese ethnicity is broadly understood as culturalpositions articulated by Chinese in relation to China and Canada.It is fluid and dynamic, as Chinese perceptions of theirrelationship with China and Canada change over time. It is not theprimary interest of this work to uncover any "objective" socialindicators of ethnicity among Chinese. The task is to underline thediversity of their self-definitions and to attempt an historicalexplanation. This study thus resembles the kind of "interiorhistory" as envisaged and pursued by the late Robert Harney whoinsisted on retelling the story of the Italian immigrants in NorthAmerica in their own terms. 15 The advice of other Canadian scholarsthat the "introspective" emphasis of ethnic history often resultsin neglecting the host environment has also been taken seriously. 16As some of the following chapters will show, the "Canadian factor"was a crucial attribute in the evolving identity of the Chinese inBienvenue and Jay Goldstein eds., Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations inCanada: A book of Readings (Toronto: Butterworths, second edition,1985), pp. 5-17; and Pierre van den Berghe, "Race and Ethnicity: ASociobiological Perspective," ibid., pp. 19-30.15 Two good examples of Harney's scholarship are: "Boardingand Belonging: Thoughts on Sojourning Institutions," Urban HistoryReview Vol. 2 (1978), pp. 8-37; and "The Commerce of Migration,"Canadian Ethnic Studies Vol. 8, no. 2 (1977), pp. 42-53.16 The lack of a Canadian context in some histories of theethnic groups has drawn some fair criticisms. Among the critics areRoberto Perin, "Clio as an Ethnic: The Third Force in CanadianHistoriography," Canadian Historical Review Vol. 64, no. 4 (1983),pp. 441-67, see pp. 445-47, and Howard Palmer, "Recent Studies inCanadian Immigration and Ethnic History: the 1970s and 1980s,"Proceedings of the First Tsukuba Seminar on Canadian Studies,University of Tsukuba, 1989, pp. 3-37, see p. 5.11this country. This work does not play down its importance but seeksto present it as Chinese people themselves perceived it.Given my stress on self-presentation and cultural negotiationwithin a minority group in Canada, an integral part of thisresearch is to explore the different articulations of Chineseidentity and their interaction with one another. These are largelyunstudied dimensions in Canadian Chinese history, as scholars tendto concentrate on other issues such as immigration policy,settlement patterns, economic adaptation, the formation anddevelopment of Chinatowns, voluntary organizations, and communityleadership. 17 This work will also be among the first detailed localstudies of this kind in the substantial literature on the overseasChinese. 18Representative works include David Lee, Jianada Huagiaoshi (A History of the Chinese in Canada) (Taipei: Canada FreePress, 1967); Edgar Wickberg ed., From China to Canada: A Historyof the Chinese Communities in Canada (Toronto: McClelland andStewart, 1982); Chan Kwok Bun and Denise Helly eds., "Coping withRacism: The Chinese Experience in Canada," a special issue ofCanada Ethnic Studies Vol. 19, no. 3 (1987); David Lai, Chinatowns: Towns within Cities in Canada (Vancouver: University of BritishColumbia Press, 1988); and Peter Li, The Chinese in Canada.Examples of local studies are too many to be cited.18 Some years ago, Bernard Wong published an interestingarticle on the manipulation of ethnic symbols by the traditionalChinatown elites to overcome the challenge of the young socialworkers and new immigrant entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, there hasbeen no further work along this line either by Wong himself orothers who study the ethnic Chinese in North America. Wong, "Elitesand Ethnic Boundary Maintenance: A Study of the Roles of Elites inChinatown, New York City," Urban Anthropology Vol. 6, no. 1 (1977),pp. 1-22. Academic interest on the ethnic identity of the SoutheastAsian Chinese has been on the rise since the early 1980s. It seemsthat the new concept of ethnicity is beginning to make an importantimpact on this scholarship. See the two collections of conferencepapers, Peter Gosling and Linda Lim eds., The Chinese in Southeast 12The choice of the city of Vancouver to anchor this analysis ofChinese ethnicity is more than a function of the location of myhome institution. After overtaking Victoria as the largest centreof settlement for immigrants from South China during the 1900s,Vancouver has consistently been the Canadian city with the mostsizeable Chinese population -- though in terms of the number ofChinese in the metropolitan area, Greater Vancouver was surpassedby its Toronto counterpart in the late 1970s. Historically,Vancouver's Chinatown was the largest in physical size and innumbers of different types of ethnic organizations, includingvoluntary associations, language schools, Chinese newspapers, andethnic churches. Its "institutional completeness," 19 in turn, meansa relative abundance of source materials for historical research.Moreover, the advantage of staying in the field on a long-termbasis and the existence of some major collections of researchmaterials (see the bibliography) in Vancouver have considerablyenhanced the feasibility of this study.The choice of the period from 1945 to 1980 as the time frameof my discussion is less obvious and deserves some explanation. InAsia Vol. 1: Ethnicity and Economic Activity, and Vol. 2: Identity,Culture and Politics (Singapore: Maruzen Asia, 1983); and JenniferCushman and Wang Gungwu eds., Changing Identities of the SoutheastAsian Chinese since World War II (Hong Kong: Hong Kong UniversityPress, 1988). Note particularly Wang Gungwu's introductory essay,"The Study of Chinese Identities in Southeast Asia," pp. 1-21.19 The term was coined by Raymond Breton. "InstitutionalCompleteness of Ethnic Communities and the Personal Relations ofImmigrants," American Journal of Sociology Vol. 70, no. 2 (1964),pp. 193-205.13the first place, this period of Canadian Chinese history hasattracted relatively less attention than others in most existingworks. Overt discrimination and ethnic survival before the SecondWorld War are considered major issues by Canadian scholars. Themore recent influx of Chinese immigrants in the past two decadeshas likewise aroused considerable academic interest andjournalistic concern. 20 The period in between, particularly thequarter century after 1945, is often treated as a transitionalstage without much historical importance and is thereforeoverlooked in research. The present study will fill in this gap ofknowledge.In addition, some major developments in the history of theChinese minority during this period actually furnish the organizingOn the most recent developments, see the leading work ofGraham Johnson, "Ethnic and Racial Communities in Canada andProblems of Adaptation: Chinese Canadians in the ContemporaryPeriod," Ethnic Groups Vol. 9 (1992), pp. 151-74; and "Hong KongImmigration and the Chinese Community in Vancouver," in RonaldSkeldon ed., Reluctant Exiles: Hong Kong Communities Overseas (NewYork: M.E. Sharpe, forthcoming). Also Peter Li, "The Emergence ofthe New Middle Class among the Chinese in Canada," Asian Culture Vol. 14 (1990), pp. 187-194; and Michael Goldberg, The Chinese Connection: Getting Plugged into Pacific Rim Real Estate, Trade, and Capital Markets (Vancouver: University of British Columbia,1985). In addition, there is a major research effort mounted by the"Canada and Hong Kong Project" at the Joint Centre for Asia PacificStudies, York University. Media attention shows grave imbalance andis obsessed with the Hong Kong immigration syndrome. Examples ofrather sensational journalistic accounts include John Demont andThomas Fennell, Hong Kong Money: How Chinese Families and Fortunes are Changing Canada (Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1989); and MargaretCannon, China Tide: The Revealing Story of the Hong Kong Exodus to Canada (Toronto: Harper and Collins, 1989). On imported Asiacrimes, see James Dubro, Dragons of Crime: Inside the AsianUnderworld (Markham, Ontario: Octopus Publishing Group, 1992).14themes for this work. As will be argued, the unfolding of anintramural debate on Chinese identity after 1945 can be attributedin large part to the changing demographic conditions in this ethnicgroup. Formerly, the Vancouver Chinese population had consisted ofa very large majority of single adult male immigrants from SouthChina. A sense of community and a common outlook regarding itsmembers' own limited opportunity in Canada and the strong ties tothe native country and home districts had been considerablyhardened during the exclusion era from 1923 to 1947. Such aconsensus on cultural identity and visions of community began tobreak down when new immigrants of different cultural backgrounds --initially from the same Pearl River Delta region in South China,and later from the neighbouring British colony of Hong Kong as thesingle most important source -- and the succeeding generations ofCanadian-born Chinese arrived on the scene. The following accountfocuses on these groups of immigrant and local-born Chinese as theprincipal participants in a lively discourse on ethnic identity anddifferent representations of community.This study also seeks to re-examine the issue of changingidentities of ethnic Chinese outside of "territorial China" in theperiod after the Second World War. In the history of the overseasChinese, it has been said often enough that there was a generaltransformation from an identification with China to one with thehost country in the post-war years. As one of the most influentialand respected historians on American Chinese puts it, the Chinese15in the United States have changed their mentality in this periodfrom luoye quigen (fallen leaves return to the roots) to luodi shenq'gen (put down roots in a [new] place). Indeed, the pair ofexpressions is so popular and its meanings so transparent that thelatter part was adopted as the title of a recent internationalconference on the Chinese diaspora. flAt a glance, circumstantial evidence leads easily to thisgeneralization about identity change. On the one hand, after 1945local opportunities in the areas of citizenship, franchise,acculturation, and economic advancement were increasingly availableto Chinese residents in various host countries, though there wereimportant exceptions as in the case of the Philippines. 22 On theother, most immigrant Chinese lost their access to Mainland Chinaand their once privileged positions in the native place after theChinese Communists took power in 1949. In considering the impact ofthese developments, this study proposes to examine this importantera of identity transformation through the eyes of the Vancouver21 Him Mark Lai, Conq Huagiao dao Huaren: ershi shiji MeiquoHuaren shehui fazhanshi (From Overseas Chinese to Ethnic Chinese:A History of Chinese Society in the United States in the TwentiethCentury) (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing, 1992), p. 364. Theconference "Luodi Sheng'gen: The legal, political and economicstatus of Chinese in the diaspora" was hosted by the University ofCalifornia at Berkeley in San Francisco, November 26-29, 1992.22 Edgar Wickberg has pointed out this Philippine exceptionin a number of recent writings: "Contemporary Overseas ChineseEthnicity in the Pacific Region," paper presented at the "LuckyCome Hawaii" Conference, Honolulu, July 18-21, 1988; and "SomeComparative Perspectives on Contemporary Chinese Ethnicity in ThePhilippines," Asian Culture Vol. 14 (1990), pp. 23-37, see pp. 24-26.16Chinese. It looks into their creative responses to the newenvironment and discerns no unidirectional shift of Chineseidentity from one cultural category to another. Instead, thechanging configuration of the China factor and the new Canadianopportunities were to contribute to the diversity of ethnicconstruction by different groups of Chinese and thereby to theintensity of the debate on ethnic identity. 23Community and Ethnic Organizations As suggested, an integral dimension of the Chinese discourseon cultural identity was the definition of community. It is oftenassumed that the "Chinese," as a distinct minority group in alarger Canadian society, constituted a "community." Theconcentration of Chinese people in Chinatown, the apparent close-knit social relationships among them, and their sense of belongingand social integration as manifested in the plethora of ethnicassociations in their small neighbourhood are considered quiteindicative of a "community. „ 24 After all, did the ChineseCf. with Rowe's discussion of identity changes amongurban residents in nineteenth century Hankou. Rowe favours thenotion of identity multiplication rather than substitution, asHankou people continued to invoke their segmentary native placeidentities at the same time when long-term residence nourished anew locational identity. Hankow: Commerce and Society, pp. 247-51.24 The concept of community and the different levels of itsmeanings are extensively discussed in the literature. See, forinstance, David Clark, "The Concept of Community: A Re-examination,” The Sociological Review Vol. 21, no. 3 (1973), pp.397-416; Colin Bell and Howard Newby, ""Community, Communion, Classand Community Action: The Social Sources of the New UrbanPolitics," in D.T. Herbert and R.J. Johnston eds., Social Areas in17themselves not establish an umbrella organization -- the ChineseBenevolent Association, or simply the CBA -- to unify and speak fortheir "community"?This study suggests that it may be more useful analytically tosee "community" as cultural construction. In the discourse onChineseness, different generations of immigrant and native-bornChinese sometimes came up with their own visions of community, withreference to the kind of "Chinese" culture that should prevail. Acontest for the power to define Chineseness and to represent the"community" thus ensued. On some occasions and over certain issuessuch as the CBA's campaign for immigration liberalizationthroughout the 1950s, or the Chinese Cultural Centre movement inthe mid-1970s to celebrate a new "Chinese Canadian" identity -- aparticular proposition might fire the imagination of varioussegments of the Vancouver Chinese population and become, for themoment, a fairly successful community-inspiring enterprise. Moreoften, however, different or conflicting articulations of Chineseidentity and community persisted.This way of looking at "community" not only illuminates thedebate on ethnic identity among the Vancouver Chinese. It may alsoCities Vol. II Spatial Perspective on Problems and Policies(London: John Wiley and Sons, 1976), pp. 189-207. For examples ofapplication, see Michael Frisch, Town into City: Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Meaning of Community, 1840-1880 (Cambridge,Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972); Stuart Blumin, The UrbanThreshold: Growth and Change in a Nineteenth-Century American Community (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1976); and DavidGarrioch, Neighbourhood and Community in Paris, 1740-1790 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).18shed some light on a paradox in the social history of the overseasChinese and indeed in many studies that invoke the concept ofcommunity. How can one characterize, let alone explain, a situationwhereby strong community sentiments or visions and perpetualconflicts co-exist? One way to explain away the apparentcontradiction is to emphasize community cohesion and neglectintramural rivalries. 25 A more serious effort at reasoning is tojuxtapose the two as not being antithetical. Based on the ideas ofGeorg Simmel and Lewis Coser, William Rowe, for example, arguesexactly that "Intergroup contention in Hankow [Hankou] was itselfa key form of social integration. Had local subcommunities beenable to regard each other with complete indifference and passivity,an urban community could not have come into existence. In theevent, systematic bonds of antagonism and competition held themtogether." 26This study posits no literal community but examines therhetoric and propositions of community among the Chinese. Withoutdenying the search for consensus or some degree of ethnicsolidarity, it highlights an underlying contest for social space25 This is a problem in the use of the community concept byE.P. Thompson and Natalie Davis, as Suzanne Desan points out in arecent critique, "Crowds, Community, and Rituals in the Work ofE.P. Thompson and Natalie Davis," in Lynn Hunt ed., The NewCultural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989),pp. 47-71, pp. 56-64 ff.26 Rowe, Hankow: Conflict and Community in a Chinese City, 1796-1895 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989), pp. 189-216.The quote is from p. 206.19and the power of definition within the ethnic group."Having said so much about the debate on Chinese identity aswell as community, where can we locate it? The ethnic mediaprovides an obvious answer, as my discussion on sources in thefollowing section will indicate. Nonetheless, my analytical focusis on the Chinese organizations. Institution-building was a commonstrategy that immigrant populations employed to deal with variousproblems of adaptation and advancement during and after the initialphase of settlement. Chinese were no exception in their domesticand overseas migration experiences. There is a rich historical andanthropological literature dealing with issues of organizationalform, functions, leadership, and interaction with the stateauthority in various Chinese contexts. 2827 Edgar Wickberg has alerted me to one unpublished writingof Donald Nonini on the similar subject of "community" re-construction and representation in a Malaysian Chinese case study.28 The literature is so substantial that it is hard todecide where to begin. The following have long been veryinfluential on the study of the overseas Chinese organizations:William Skinner, Leadership and Power in the Chinese Community of Thailand (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1958); MauriceFreedman, "Immigrants and Associations: Chinese in Nineteenth-Century Singapore," Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol.3, no. 1 (1960), pp. 25-48; and Lawrence Crissman, "The SegmentaryStructure of Urban Overseas Chinese Communities," Man n.s. Vol. 2,no. 2 (1967), pp. 185-204. I have attempted to deal with some lessstudied dimensions in my "Urban Chinese Social Organization: SomeUnexplored Aspects in Huiquan Development in Singapore," Modern Asian Studies Vol. 26, no. 3 (1992), pp. 469-94. On the domesticside, the best empirical work to date is likely to be William Rowe,Hankow: Commerce and Society, pp. 252-340. A useful overview on theoverseas context with reference to the China-derived experience isWickberg, "Overseas Chinese Adaptive Organizations, Past andPresent," in Skeldon ed., Reluctant Exiles (Forthcoming).20This study will introduce new empirical information on Chineseorganizations in Vancouver and draw out the implications for somehistoriographical and theoretical issues. Most important, however,is the overall perspective on the voluntary associations as theprincipal component of a public domain within this ethnic group.This part of the domain provided public responsibility, leadershippositions, prestige, a sense of belonging, and acceptance whichwere usually inaccessible to the members of a minority group inCanadian society. Moreover, it was a cultural space the Chinesethemselves delineated, in which they could define collectiveinterests and negotiate the issue of identity in their own terms. 29A few caveats are in order. Organizations are considered inthis analysis vehicles for interest articulation and culturalexpressions of various generations of immigrants and native-born.The discussion will shed light on how Chinese persons of thesebackgrounds in Vancouver may have perceived their ethnic identity.29 The use of the concept of public domain, or publicsphere, in this study is different from the original formulation ofJurgen Habermas and its application in the current scholarship.Most subscribers to the concept treat the public sphere as a zonein which changing state-society relationships can be observed; thisstudy takes it above all else as a vantage point to examineintramural social and cultural relationships. Habermas, ThomasBurger trans., The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press, 1989). A review of the application of this concept inthe China field is furnished by William Rowe, "The Public Sphere inModern China," Modern China Vol. 16, no. 3 (1990), pp. 309-29. Agood example of its use in a South Asian context is SandriaFreitag, Collective Action and Community: Public Arenas and the Emergence of Communalism in North India (Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1989).21However, the subject of individual ethnicity has not beensystematically explored. To do that will require better sources onChinese family life and workplace experience -- information whichdoes not exist for the present undertaking and probably adifferent combination of research skills. 3°Critics of institutional studies have rightly cautionedagainst excessive attention to the organizations out of allproportion to their significance. n This study makes no pretenceto cover the totality of Chinese discourse on cultural identity.Common sense tells us that Chinese organizations did notnecessarily represent every member and certainly not all Chinese.Until the 1970s, Chinese women played a subsidiary role in publicorganizations other than in the Christian churches. Even though mynarrative is not gender-specific except on a few episodes, femaleperspectives are under-explored. 32 There is additionally anindeterminable number of Chinese individuals who had not joined anyAn exploration of individual ethnicity is masterfullyexecuted in Micaela di Leonardo, The Varieties of Ethnic Experience: Kinship, Class, and Gender among California Italian-Americans (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984).31 Paul Yee, "Sam Kee: A Chinese Business in EarlyVancouver," BC Studies No. 69-70 (1986), pp. 70-96. Peter Li madea similar remark at the panel "Recent and Contemporary ChineseOrganizations in Pacific Rim Cities," at the "Luodi Sheng'gen"Conference.32 The study of Chinese women in Canada still has a long wayto go. The first book, in fact a modest collection of oral historymaterials, appeared only recently. The Women's Book Committee,Chinese Canadian National Council, Jin Guo: Voices of Chinese Canadian Women (Toronto: Women's Press, 1992).22ethnic organizations nor participated in their activities. Again,this work may not reflect much about their lives.While these limitations should be taken into account, they donot invalidate the analytical focus on organizations. After all,associational formation and activities constituted the mostrecognizable and organized aspect of Chinese public life. Bydrawing evidence from ethnic media and institutions, the presentstudy has assembled the best information on the discussion ofcultural identity by Chinese people. These materials are madeavailable by the more articulate and culturally sensitive membersof the Chinese minority, in some cases, expressly for the purposeof ethnic construction. As such, this important portion of Chineserepresentation of themselves deserves to be carefully examined.Sources and Organization of StudyIn probing this interior history of the Chinese, the strategyhas been to make use of materials generated from within the ethnicgroup as much as possible. An important item is the ethnic press,including four Chinese language newspapers, one English languagemagazine, and a few other short-lived and minor tabloids. On thevoluntary associations, their own publications, issued often onoccasions of anniversary celebration, are generally useful. Many ofthem are readily available in existing research collections. Morevaluable, in comparison, are the internal organizational archives.Unfortunately they are not easily accessible, and this study has23benefitted from only a limited amount of them. As a demonstrationof how useful they can be, it is hoped that this work willencourage other researchers to explore different channels to reachthese archival materials.Another useful source is the personal papers of some prominentindividuals among the local Chinese. Those of Foon Sien Wong and S.Wah Leung have been crucial to some portions of the followinganalysis. Finally, the documentary bases are supplemented bypersonal interviews, observations, and participation in socialevents between September 1988 and May 1993. A total of fortyindividuals were formally interviewed, including members from everygeneration of local-born and immigrant Chinese that altogetherforms the subject of this research. The interviews did not followany standard procedure or questionnaire, though they all includedsome biographical data and more extensive comments on organizationsand Chinatown events.This study has also drawn on some published statisticalinformation regarding Chinese immigration and population. Localdata on Vancouver, however, is very incomplete for the period underresearch, and therefore has to be supplemented by national levelmaterials. In general, Canadian government sources and themainstream media have not been used as vigorously as some peoplemay insist is necessary. This allocation of research time islargely an outcome of my research agenda. For non-Chineseperspectives and any materials about the Chinese in public archives24or local newspapers, there is of course a whole generation ofscholarship on Canadian racism, from which this account has alsobenefitted.As a brief summary, Chapter One introduces the historicalbackground of Chinese settlement in Vancouver from around the turnof the century to the Second World War. The highlight is ondemography, Chinese organizations, and the sense of culturalidentity and community as they evolved in those years. Covering theperiod from 1945 to 1970, which is referred to as the post-war erain this study, Chapters Two, Three, and Four deal with the newgeneration of Chinese immigrants, the local-born Chinese who cameof age, and the existing immigrant settlers respectively. ChapterTwo re-assesses the impact of renewed immigration with particularreference to the challenge of young newcomers to the establishedvalues, social norms, and community visions of the elderly Chinese.Likewise, Chapter Three focuses on two generations of Canadian-bornChinese and delineates their interaction with the other two sectorsof the Chinese population in the process of their identityformation and articulation. Chapter Four examines the case of theexisting settlers and their immigrant organizations. Dissectingtheir repertoire of ritual practices and cultural expressions, itmakes a revisionist argument about the resilience of thetraditional associations.While continuing to analyze the post-war period, the focus of25Chapter Five shifts from particular groupings to broader patternsin the cultural orientations of the Chinese. Both the "Chinafactor" and the newly available Canadian opportunities impinged onthe Vancouver Chinese, and this evolving historical contextcontributed to the diversity of the Chinese ethnic construction.Chapter Six brings the analysis into the 1970s by exploring anemergent "Chinese Canadian" category as the overarching paradigm inthe ongoing Chinese discourse on ethnic identity. Besides lookingat the objective circumstantial factors giving rise to this newconstruct, the engagement of various groups of Chinese in acontinuous process of cultural negotiation and contest will remainas the theme.26Chapter One: Historical BackgroundChinese immigration to Canada began with the gold rush in theFraser River in 1858. The first Chinatown was formed in Victoria byChinese from Guangdong who had engaged in earlier gold miningactivities in California. Soon afterwards, new arrivals camedirectly from South China to join this group of pioneers.Throughout the 1860s and 1870s, responding to local economicopportunities, pockets of Chinese population appeared in mostfrontier settlements along the Fraser River, in the Cariboo regionand Kootenays, and on Vancouver Island. In the first half of the1880s, the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) sentsome 17,000 Chinese into Canada. Though a substantial portion ofthe railroad workers returned to their native country just like thegold miners, the Chinese population in the province of BritishColumbia increased from about 4,000 in 1880 to more than 10,000 in1884. 1At that point, there were reportedly 114 Chinese at BurrardInlet, including five merchants and their employees, some thirtycooks and laundrymen, and the rest working at the Hastings1 David Lai, Chinatowns: Towns within Cities in Canada (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1988), pp. 15-51.The Report of the Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration in 1885also contains valuable information on this earliest phase ofChinese settlement which was confined basically to BritishColumbia.27sawmill. 2 After the announcement of the extension of the CPR'swestern terminus from Port Moody to this area in 1885 and theincorporation of the city of Vancouver the following year, a smallsettlement of Chinese sprang up at the intersection of Carrall andDupont Streets. It grew rapidly thereafter, emerging as the largestcentre of Chinese population in the country within the next quartercentury. This chapter will look briefly at some key features ofthis settlement prior to 1945 as an historical background to thesubstantive treatment of the period since World War II.The early history of the Chinese in Vancouver can be roughlydivided into three stages. During stage one (1884-1911), the numberof Chinese increased to more than 3,500. The exact figure is hardto determine because Chinese immigrants were very transient, witha high rate of return migration to China, and with a number of themseeking illegal entrance to the United States: The problem iscompounded by local mobility, owing to the engagement of someChinese in seasonal occupations like lumbering and salmon canningoutside the city during part of the year. Nonetheless, the physicalexpansion of Chinatown was unmistakable evidence of the growingpresence of the Chinese. By the late 1900s, Vancouver's Chinatown2^James Morton, In the Sea of Sterile Mountains: TheChinese in British Columbia (Vancouver: J.J. Douglas, 1977), p.144.3 Census of Canada 1911, Vol. 1, pp. 372-73. Lai,Chinatowns, p. 59, Table 12.28had come to encompass several blocks of buildings, from Canton andShanghai Alleys west of Carrall Street stretching eastward alongboth sides of Pender Street (formerly Dupont Street) to Main Street(See Figure 1.1).The Chinese population in Vancouver at the beginning of thiscentury was overwhelmingly adult male. Out-migration in South Chinawas mainly a male enterprise. Canadian racial antipathy towards theChinese also discouraged these immigrants from bringing theirfamilies. An additional burden was of course the head tax of $50Ottawa first imposed on the Chinese in 1885, and the amount wassubsequently raised to $100 in 1901 and to $500 in 1903. Whateverthe reasons behind the male preponderance among the Chineseimmigrants, Vancouver's Chinese population of two thousand in 1901contained less than sixty women and children. Ten years later,Chinese women were still outnumbered by 28 to 1. Needless to say,most of these women and minors belonged to the few merchantfamilies. 4Affluent merchants not only had a better chance to enjoy theprivilege of family life in early Chinatown; they also came toassert a leadership position in this small immigrant settlement. Inthe second half of the 1890s, two local merchants' societies wereformed and were quickly amalgamated into the Chinese Board of4 Report of the Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration (Ottawa: Printed by S.E. Dawson, 1902), p. 13. The 1911estimate is from Paul Yee, Saltwater City: An Illustrated Historyof the Chinese in Vancouver (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1988),p. 49.N.B. Westminster Avenue was renamed Main Street in 1910.Source:^Based on Henderson's British Columbia Directory 1910, inKay Anderson, Vancouver's Chinatown: Racial Discourse inCanada, 1875-1980 (Montreal and Kingston: McQill-Queen'sUniversity Press, 1991), p. 77.City HallHASTINGSDI• • MARKET ALLEYLic 1r-1—VTO•nROYALCITYMILLS• Chinese residential, commercialor associational use0^ 100 metrest^IT^i^I^•GREAT NORTHERN DEPOTPENDER1^29Figure 1.1Vancouver's Chinatown, ca. 191030Trade. The organization that was set up around the same time torepresent all local Chinese, known as the Chinese BenevolentAssociation, was similarly founded and led by merchants. The earlyhistories of the CBA and the Board of Trade remain obscure, but itseems that these organizations were intended to protect Chinesebusiness interests and livelihood against unsympathetic Canadianofficials and a generally hostile foreign environment. 5 Besides theability to deal with these local issues, another source of themerchants' elite status was China-derived. It was a time when theQing government in China encouraged Chinese merchants in thetreaty-ports and those in foreign countries to contribute to itsmodernization effort. One consequence of this state promotion wasthe formation of many Chinese chambers of commerce and theinstitutionalization of merchant leadership in many overseasChinese societies. 6While Chinese merchants could claim to lead, they were not theonly people to get organized. The first formal Chinese organizationin Vancouver was the Chee Kung Tong, officially opened in 1892. Itwas a fraternity already well-established among Chinese gold miners5 Paul Yee, "Chinese Business in Vancouver, 1886-1914,"M.A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1983, pp. 51-53.6 The case of the Southeast Asian Chinese is the bestknown. See, for example, Michael Godley, The Mandarin-Capitalists From Nanyanq: Overseas Chinese Enterprise in the Modernization of China, 1893-1911 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981). OnVancouver Chinese, see Edgar Wickberg ed., From China to Canada: AHistory of the Chinese Communities in Canada (Toronto: McClelland& Stewart, 1982), p. 78.31and labourers in early B.C. This brotherhood drew its model fromthe tradition of secret societies in China and exalted the virtuesof loyalty, mutual trust, and righteous behaviour. Thisorganization appealed to single migrant workers, shopkeepers, andsmall merchants and was to be very influential in Vancouver'sChinatown in years to come. Additionally, workers with the samesurname or from the same native area often set up boarding houses,known in Chinese as "fangkou," to organize communal housing, mutualassistance, and social life among themselves.'One aspect of Chinese organizational activity that deservessome comment was the enthusiasm about home country politics. Thiswas in part a result of the lack of opportunity for Chinese toparticipate meaningfully in Canadian society. Vancouver Chinesewere conscious of their rejection by Canada, as they confronteddiscriminatory legislation and occasional mob violence like theanti-Asian riot of 1907. 8 Attributing their inferior status to theweakness of China, they were all the more concerned about the fateof their native country. When Chinese officials, exiled reformers,and revolutionary emigres visited Vancouver one after another after1895 to propagate their agendas for China, the Chinese wereexcited. The Emperor-Protection Association, for example, was7 David Lai, Chinatowns, p. 83; Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, p. 78.8 Howard Sugimoto, "The Vancouver Riots of 1907: A CanadianEpisode," in Hilary Conroy and Scott Miyakawa eds., East Across the Pacific (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1972), pp. 92-126.32founded in the early 1900s by the merchant elite to support thereform movement of Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao. Likewise, the CheeKung Tong was attracted to Kang and Liang by their politicalprogramme, but was soon converted by Sun Yat-sen and hisrevolutionary followers. Historical records show that the Chee KungTong went to great lengths to generate financial resources forSun's programme, and some individual members even returned to Chinato take part in insurrections. Locally a newspaper war ragedbetween the reformers' Yat Sun Bo (Daily News), and therevolutionaries' Wah Ying Yat Bo (Chinese-English Daily News) andlater the Chee Kung Tong's Tai Hon Bo (The Chinese Times). Theexpressed interest in Chinese politics in the years leading up tothe 1911 Revolution was later described by partisan groups as aclassical example of "huacliao" (overseas Chinese) nationalism. 9In the second stage (1911-1923), Vancouver's Chinesepopulation continued to grow rapidly. Because of a high level ofimmigration in 1911-1914, and another brief influx in the aftermathof the First World War, the number of Chinese reached 6,500 in9 David Lee, Jianada Huagiao shi (A History of the Chinesein Canada) (Taiwan, Canada Free Press, 1967), pp. 227-320. OnVancouver specifically, See Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, pp.73-77 passim; and Paul Yee, Saltwater City, pp. 45-47. See also EveArmentrout Ma, Revolutionaries, Monarchists and Chinatowns: Chinese Politics in Americas and the 1911 Revolution (Honolulu: Universityof Hawaii Press, 1990), which touches on Vancouver and Victoria. Onthe term "huacliao" as an ideological construct emerging out of thisperiod, see Wang Gungwu, "A Note on the Origins of Hua-ch'iao [huagiao]," in his Community and Nation: Essays on Southeast Asia and the Chinese (Singapore: Heinemenn, 1981), pp. 118-27.331921. More important to the long-term development of this minoritywere the improvement in the sex ratio and the increasing number ofimmigrant and local-born Chinese children. The Census of 1921indicated that there were close to six hundred Chinese women inVancouver -- that is, a ratio of about ten Chinese men to everyChinese female. At the same time more than five hundred Chinesechildren were attending local public schools. Indeed, two yearsearlier, a missionary report noted that there were 210 Chinesefamilies in the city, and seven percent of the Chinese wereCanadian-born. 10 Thus, after a quarter century of settlement inVancouver, the Chinese finally and slowly proceeded to the stage oflocal family formation and the raising of a second generation.In this period, the eastern boundary of Chinatown extended allthe way towards Gore Street bordering the Strathcona area (SeeFigure 1.2). More impressive perhaps was the drastic expansion ofthe Chinese organizational inventory. Reflecting the rise inpopulation and the Chinese desire to better organize for mutualhelp and for gaining influence within the ethnic group, formalnative place and surname associations appeared in large numbers. By1923 almost forty of them were known to exist in Chinatown."The need for protection against Canadian discrimination and10 The above figures are taken from Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, pp. 94-95, 306, Table 10; and Paul Yee, Saltwater City,pp. 49-52 ff.11 Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, pp. 112-13, 315-18,Tables 19 and 20.Source:^David Lai, Chinatowns: Towns within Cities in Cana(Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1988p. 86.35the influence of China also account for the proliferation ofChinese organizations. Some occupational groups and tradeassociations, for example, emerged briefly as protest actionagainst various forms of business restriction. Chinese politicscontinued to generate interest and conflict among the VancouverChinese. A few quasi-political reading rooms were formed, usuallybased on native place and surname ties. The major politicaldivision was now between the Chee Kung Tong, which started to callitself the Chinese Freemasons from 1920, and the local Kuomintang,which was organized by the supporters of Sun Yat-sen. The formeraccused Sun of reneging on his promise of rewards after the 1911Revolution and saw the Kuomintang adherents as upstarts threateningits position in Chinatown. 12One more thing needs to be said about the large group ofnative district and clan organizations. Given the recency of theirformation, it is interesting to see how quickly they were acceptedas basic units forming the social structure of this immigrantgroup. Many Chinese immigrants relied on them as a boardingfacility, connection to employment opportunity, or simply a nexusof social life that alone gave them a sense of belonging,acceptance, and security in an alien society. These organizationsalso kept sojourners and settlers in touch with their native place,in some cases by channelling membership contributions to variousinvestment and construction projects at home. General recognition12^Ibid., pp. 101-15 ff.36of the importance of these traditional organizations came in 1918when the CBA formally adopted a system of election to broaden itsleadership base. Under the new regulations, the CBA executive wouldbe chosen by delegates from the existing native place associations.Since these regional organizations had overlapping membership withthe surname societies, an idealized segmentary structure emerged inwhich the CBA, as an "umbrella" organization on the top, couldlegitimately claim to represent all Chinese through the districtand clan associations. 13 This overall organizational arrangementepitomized a Chinese desire for ethnic solidarity, and came to beassociated with a sense of Chinese unity and community.The Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 marked the beginning ofthe third stage. Its exclusionary effect retarded for the nexttwenty-four years a smooth demographic transition of the Chineseinto a more balanced and stable settlers' population. Newimmigration, which had brought in more Chinese women and childrensince the 1910s, was virtually terminated. The draconianlegislation and, later, the devastating effects of the GreatDepression led to a drastic outflow of Chinese from the countryback to China. In Vancouver, the Chinese minority suffered. noimmediate decline in size. The Census of 1931 in fact reported morethan 13,000 Chinese in the city, which reflected the relocation ofChinese from interior B.C. to avail themselves of the aggregate13^Ibid., pp. 108-09.37ethnic resources in Vancouver's Chinatown." By the early 1940s,however, the number of Chinese had dropped to seven thousand only.The large majority of this dwindling Chinese population consistedof immigrant settlers in their thirties, forties, or above whocontinued their bachelor lives in Canada without their immediatefamilies. On October 15, 1941, the Province, a local daily,suggested that Vancouver's Chinese faced the grim prospect of"racial extinction" because deaths among them were almost twice ascommon as births. 15This was no doubt the most trying period in Canadian Chinesehistory. Yet there were signs showing a surprising vitality inChinese organizational activities in Vancouver. Precisely becauseof the difficulties, Chinese had to organize better to fend forthemselves. The economic downturn and the departure of many Chinesemust have reduced some associations to a nominal existence.However, some new native place and clan organizations were formed.Some consolidated two or more existing bodies with the same surnameinto a single structure, and a larger number reformed themselvesinto the Canadian headquarters of their respective organizations,reflecting a new sense of nation-wide connection and Vancouver's14^It was reported in 1931 that for the first time moreChinese in B.C. resided in the two cities of Vancouver and Victoriathan in the smaller settlements scattered in the province. Comparethe data in ibid., pp. 303-04, Tables 7 and 8.15^Quoted in David Lai, Chinatowns, p. 85, note 81. See alsoWickberg's discussion of the demographic situation in this period,From China to Canada, pp. 148-52.38central position in the Canadian Chinese populations. Moreinteresting, however, was the emergence of more than ten Chineselanguage schools and some youth-oriented musical and recreationalsocieties in Chinatown. Though many were short-lived, thosesponsored by traditional organizations tended to be better providedand were able to last well into the post-war era. 16Chinese language schools were nothing new in Vancouver, forthe first one had come about at the beginning of the century as asubsidiary of the Emperor-Protection Association, and another, theChinese Public School which still exists, was founded in 1917 bythe CBA. What was spectacular during the exclusion period was theapparent Chinese enthusiasm for cultural maintenance. In the eyesof the immigrant settlers, children who migrated to Canada before1923 and the local-born descendants all needed to be taught Chineselanguage skills and other cultural subjects because they werevulnerable to deculturation. Moreover, opportunity for Chinese inthe larger society was so limited that these youngsters would needChinese cultural skills if they were to work in Chinatown or topursue a promising career back in China.The other underlying reason for this cultural sentiment andthe general organizational activism was the events in China. Thenominal unification of the country under the Kuomintang regime ofChiang Kai-shek in 1927 represented the best political achievement16 Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, pp. 166-67, 174-77,319-21, Table 21. David Lee, Jianada Huagiao shi, pp. 334-44.39of China since 1911. Chiang's promise of national dignity andmodernity for the country aroused much excitement among Chinese athome and abroad. In Vancouver, Chinese nationalistic feeling was onthe rise. The Kuomintang, now representing the ruling authoritiesin China, claimed more influence in Chinatown than ever. Anotherfeature of this period were the seemingly endless and ubiquitousefforts to contribute financial and moral support for variouscauses in China, such as for flood or drought relief, for refugeesof war, or for construction projects in the native area. Some neworganizations emerged specifically to co-ordinate these efforts,but the established traditional associations were most visiblyinvolved. These China-bound events reached a high tide during theSino-Japanese War in 1937-1945.' 7Even at the height of the national salvation movement to helpChina in its battle against Japanese invasion, Vancouver'sChinatown was still plagued by the bad feeling between theFreemasons and the Kuomintang, and other group conflicts andleadership rivalries. Nevertheless, two sets of conditions sincethe late nineteenth century had contributed to a fairly unitaryChinese outlook on the question of cultural identity. On the onehand, remaining family ties in South China, native place feeling,cultural sentiments, home country politics, and rising ChineseWickberg ed., From China to Canada, pp. 157-68, 188-91.Also Paul Yee, Saltwater City, pp. 94-99.40nationalism of the era all appealed to the immigrant Chinese. Onthe other, Canadian society, by legislation and convention, offeredthem little opportunity to feel accepted. The same rejection wasapplicable to the small number of young Canadian-born, who in the1930s were mostly confined to the ethnic group in their careers andsocial life.The sense of Chineseness was mutually reinforced by a sharedfeeling of community among the ethnic Chinese. For that generationof immigrant settlers and their junior local-born descendants,community could be readily identified with their ethnicneighbourhood where most of them worked and resided. But communityfeeling was best articulated in associational life which exaltedthe value of mutual assistance, domestic harmony, and ultimatelyChinese unity. That "community" was to provide the Chinese with asense of belonging, generate a realm of public responsibility andleadership positions, nurture a common identity, and protect themagainst a hostile Canadian society.This prevailing sense of Chineseness and community was not acultural given, as the changing historical context after the SecondWorld War was to dismantle this overall consensus. Since 1945, anew demographic situation and a different configuration of China'sinfluence and Canadian opportunity had given rise to anunprecedented intramural debate within the ethnic group, a culturalcontest the rest of this study seeks to unravel and understand.41Chapter Two: New Immigrants and the Contest for Communityin the Post-War EraAt the end of the Second World War, the Chinese in Canada wereabout to enter a new era. The mood of the time was extraordinary.With the members of the larger society, the Chinese shared theenormous joy of victory over the Axis Powers. In particular, thedefeat of imperial Japan, whose invading armies had been on Chinesesoil for years, generated tremendous relief and exhilaration in allCanadian Chinatowns. Additionally, this seemed to be a moment ofconsiderable expectation on the part of the Chinese that their lowstatus in Canadian society would soon be improved and their ill-treatment by its government rectified.A major item of Chinese grievance was the highly prohibitiveImmigration Act of 1923. Immediately after the war, the movementseeking its repeal gathered great momentum in Eastern Canada. Forthe first time in the history of the ethnic Chinese in thiscountry, they were able to win the support of some Canadianchurches, labour organizations, politicians, academics, and eventhe public media all at once. In May 1947, the Act was repealed inthe Canadian Parliament, thus reopening the door of immigration tothe Chinese after twenty-four years of virtual exclusion.'The details of this campaign have been well-documentedand need not be repeated. See, for example, the account by GrahamJohnson in Edgar Wickberg ed., From China to Canada: A History of the Chinese Communities in Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,1982), pp. 204-09.42In general, scholars have argued that the significance of thishistoric accomplishment in 1947 was more symbolic than real. As amatter of fact, Canadian immigration policy towards the Chinesecontinued to be relatively restrictive for another twenty years.Graham Johnson vividly characterizes what the Chinese got in 1947as "half a loaf." 2 Coming under the Order-in-Council P.C. 2115 inthe aftermath, Chinese, like other Asians, could only sponsor theimmigration of their wives and children under eighteen years (after1950, twenty-one years) of age. There were some extra concessionsfrom time to time, such as the admission of children up to twenty-five years old on compassionate grounds until 1955, the inclusionof parents into the admissible categories in the same year, and theextension of this right of sponsorship from the citizens to thelanded immigrants in 1957. Still, as pointed out repeatedly byPeter Li, the Chinese compared most unfavourably with immigrantsfrom across the Atlantic who were accorded far more liberal andgenerous treatment during the same period. Full equality inimmigration matters for the Chinese was not attained until 1967when a universal points-system was implemented to screen theapplicants without any reference to their racial and ethnicbackground. Only then did a sizeable number of Chinese begin toarrive in Canada.32^Ibid., p. 207.3 See Li's earlier work, co-authored with Singh Bolaria,"Canadian Immigration Policy and Assimilationist Theories," in JohnFry ed., Economy, Class and Social Reality (Scarborough, Ontario:Butterworths, 1979), pp. 411-22; and his more recent study, The43The restrictive nature of Canadian immigration policy towardsthe Chinese between 1947 and 1967 is indisputable. However, thetendency among scholars to gloss over this period of Chineseimmigration history is a rather unfortunate omission. No majorattempt has been made to address the nature of Chinese immigrationduring those twenty years at the national or local levels. Thisperiod is simply taken as a transitional stage between the previous"exclusion era" and the following one of immigrationliberalization. The Chinese immigrants who came over during thattime are seldom recognized as a distinctive group with discernibleimpact on the historical scene. 4This chapter will re-examine the significance of renewedChinese immigration into Canada in the post-war period. InVancouver, as it will be argued, the new immigrants were not onlynumerous and visible, they were instrumental in replenishing adwindling Chinese minority in the aftermath of exclusion. Theirsize and composition will be analyzed, but the larger purpose hereChinese in Canada (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 88-92.4 An interesting exception is a research report written byWilliam Willmott probably in the early 1960s, in which he brieflyidentified three different groups within the Chinese population inVancouver at that time, namely, the elderly immigrants, the local-born Chinese, and those "recently arrived immigrants of theOrient." Entitled "A Study of the Chinese Community in Vancouver:(A) Preliminary Report" (n.d.), the work is buried in the ChineseCanadian Research Collection, Special Collections Division,University of British Columbia Library (hereafter cited as CCRC),Box 20, along with some interview materials on Chinese leadersunder restricted access.44is to delineate the important changes in the ethnic organizationsand in the discourse on community owing to the inputs of thenewcomers. Discussion will focus on the group of young malearrivals whose venture into the arena of Chinese organizationalactivities initially, the domain of the old settlers --represented a quest for public recognition of their presence and oftheir need for social space within the ethnic group. Theircriticisms of the existing Chinese settlers, new visions ofcommunity, and thoughts on Chinese cultural identity as articulatedin various organizational settings will be charted.The Replenishment of An Ethnic MinorityThe enforcement of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 wasboth humiliating and devastating for the ethnic Chinese. A mosttangible outcome was the significant decline of the Chinesepopulation in Canada. Between the early thirties and the end ofWorld War II, the number of Chinese shrank from more than 46,000 toaround 30,000. In the same period, the Chinese population inVancouver was reduced more drastically from 13,000 to about 7,000. 5Table 2.1 shows the age and sex distribution of the VancouverChinese in 1951, when this minority group was slowly recoveringfrom the "exclusion era" but still bearing the imprint of the5 The best overall account of this difficult period inCanadian Chinese history is furnished by Wickberg in From China toCanada, pp. 148-203. See also the demographic analysis of Peter Liin The Chinese in Canada, pp. 60-70.Table 2.1The Age and Sex Distribution of the Chinese Population in VancouverCity,^1951Age Groups Male No. % Female No. % Total No. %0 - 9 467 5.35 474 5.43 941 10.7810 -^19 755 8.65 432 4.95 1,187 13.6020 - 34 603 6.91 636 7.28 1,239 14.1935 - 44 556 6.37 316 3.62 872 9.9945 - 54 938 10.74 186 2.13 1,124 12.8755 - 64 1,605 18.38 98 1.12 1,703 19.5065 & above 1,600 18.33 63 0.72 1,663 19.05Total 6,524 74.73 2,205 25.25 8,729 99.98Source: Census of Canada 1951, p. 6--30.4546earlier period. Structural imbalance was probably the most salientdemographic feature. Over half of the Chinese population was madeup of adults forty-five years old or above, and more than ninety-two percent of this group were men. Actually, one in every threeChinese in the city was a elderly man at least in his late fifties.It is not difficult to imagine that only a couple of years earlier,this had been a dwindling and aging Chinese settlement with a largemajority of above middle-age males, relatively few families, and asmall local-born generation. With such a situation as the baseline,the impact of renewed immigration can hardly be exaggerated.Based on immigration records, Table 2.2 indicates that morethan 14,000 Chinese entered Canada between 1946 and 1955. By 1960,this group had been joined by another 10,000. In the followingdecade, some 43,000 Chinese immigrated to this country. Thoughthere is information regarding the number of Chinese immigrantsarriving in British Columbia, local data on Vancouver and re-migration figures are not available. The following estimation ofChinese immigration into Vancouver in the post-war years istherefore an educated guess.The only local statistical data is found in the Census of1951, which reported that over seven hundred Chinese had arrived inVancouver from 1946 to May 1951. 6 This was about 55 per cent of theChinese who entered British Columbia. Since many small Chinese6^Census of Canada 1951, pp. 54--11, 55--30, 60--11, and61--30.47Table 2.2The Number of Chinese Immigrants Entering Canada and BritishColumbia,^1946-1970Year Canada British Columbia1946-47 7 41947-48 24 121948-49 111 591949-50 1,028 3671950-51 2,178 8081951-52 2,745 1,0021952-53 1,961 6821953-54 2,028 6571954-55 1,950 6441955-56 2,575 ?1956 2,093 7991957 1,662 6011958 2,615 9931959 2,561 8221960 1,370 4611961 861 2741962 670 1751963 1,187 4051964 2,674 8101965 4,352 1,3101966 5,178 1,6761967 6,409 2,4131968 8,382 3,0701969 8,272 2,6171970 5,377 1,588N.B. From 1946 to 1961 the figures represent the numbers ofimmigrants of Chinese ethnic origin, with ethnicity beingself-reported at the point of entry. From 1962 onward, theyindicate the numbers of immigrants whose country of lastpermanent residence was either China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.Sources: The Immigration Branch, Department of Mines andResources, Annual Reports 1946-1949; Department ofCitizenship and Immigration, Annual Reports 1949-1956;and Immigration Statistics 1956-1970.48settlements on Vancouver Island and in the interior of B.C.gradually withered away in the post-war period, it is conceivablethat Vancouver steadily increased its relative intake of Chineseimmigrants in the province.' Based on this assumption, it isprojected that there were approximately 4,600 and 10,000 newChinese arrivals in Vancouver in the decades 1951-1960 and 1961-1970 respectively, as indicated in Table 2.3.If these estimates are correct, then such an influx ofimmigrants was massive, relative to the size of the current Chinesepopulation. Again, from Table 2.3, it can be calculated that abouteight per cent of the 8,700 Vancouver residents of Chinesebackground in 1951 had arrived since the end of World War II. Thisproportion increased substantially to one-third in 1961. And by1971, when the Chinese population reached 30,000, over half of itsmembers were post-war immigrants.As Canadian policy before 1962 limited Chinese immigration tojust a few categories of family members, it is not difficult to geta general idea of the composition of this population movement.7 William Willmott, "Some Aspects of Chinese Communities inBritish Columbia Towns," BC Studies No.1 (Winter 1968-69), pp. 27-36. Graham Johnson has made some concise remarks on thedisintegration of minor Chinese settlements and the increasingconcentration of Chinese population in large metropolitan centresafter World War II in Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, pp. 217-18. Both processes had a bearing on the picture described here.David Lai's recent study of the life cycle of Canadian Chinatownsis also relevant. See his explanations for their general decline inthe fifties and sixties in Chinatowns: Towns within Cities inCanada (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1988), pp.122-26.Table 2.3An Estimate of Post-war Chinese Immigrants Arriving in Vancouver,1946-1970, and the Total Chinese Population in Vancouver in theCensus YearsYearChineseenteringB.C.Proportion of B.C.arrivals settlingin Vancouver%^numberTotal no. of Chinesein Vancouver (year)1946-1951 1,250 55 700 8,729 (1951)1951-1955 3,724 60 2,2501956-1960 3,676 65 2,400 15,223 (1961)1961-1965 2,974 70 2,1001966-1970 11,364 70 8,000 30,640 (1971)Sources: See Table 2.2 and also Census of Canada 1951-1971.4950National-level statistics can further give us a sense of proportionregarding the various components of this inflow. Before 1956, onlyspouses and unmarried minor children were eligible for immigration.Table 2.4 shows that these two groups accounted for about ninetyper cent of Chinese immigration around 1950. 8 The decliningpercentage of children in 1951-1956 is deceptive because thefigures do not include those between eighteen and twenty-five whowere admitted during this period on compassionate grounds. It isreasonable to assume that the Chinese must have made the best useof this concession, and the size of this special group ofimmigrants must have been large -- say, forty per cent of the totalChinese immigrants in the early 1950s, as the figures in the lastcolumn of the table suggest. 9The Chinese were also eager to send for their spouses afterthe immigration restriction was lifted. In the early fifties, wivesmade up about one-fourth of the new immigrants. For a number ofyears after 1956, they actually formed an absolute majority, asyoung Chinese responded enthusiastically to the special scheme ofbride sponsorship. From around the same time, immigrant parents8 The rest could well be re-entries of previous immigrants,student-visa holders, and the like.This special concession was withdrawn in 1955, thoughChinese granted admission under this arrangement continued toarrive at the point of entry in 1956. In Peter Li's discussion ofthe same statistical information, he seems to be unaware of theeffect of this policy and has taken the decline of childrenimmigration in the early fifties at face value. The Chinese in Canada, pp. 92-93.Table 2.4The Number and Percentage of Dependent Children (under 18) andWives among Chinese Immigrants Entering Canada, 1946-1967Year Children Wives Remainder %1946-47 4 57.14 3 42.86 0.001947-48 4 16.66 19 79.16 4.181948-49 21 18.91 79 71.17 9.921949-50 617 60.01 329 31.90 8.091950-51 1,318 60.51 556 25.52 13.971951-52 969 35.30 569 20.72 43.981952-53 445 22.69 450 22.94 54.371953-54 437 21.54 554 27.31 51.151954-55 431 22.10 607 31.12 46.781955-56 449 17.43 737 28.62 53.951956 385 18.39 773 36.93 44.681957 304 18.29 913 54.93 26.781958 681 26.04 1,439 55.02 18.941959 742 28.97 1,243 48.53 22.501960 331 24.16 744 54.30 21.541961 156 18.11 494 57.37 24.521962 130 19.40 240 35.82 44.781963 294 24.76 428 36.05 39.191964 984 36.79 737 27.56 35.651965 1,602 36.81 970 22.28 40.911966 1,161 22.42 862 16.64 60.941967 1,796 28.05 1,254 19.56 52.39Sources: See Table 2.2.5152were also admitted; their numbers are subsumed under the lastcolumn of Table 2.4. In 1962, Canada began to accept independentChinese immigrants and this group likewise contributed to thesteady expansion of the "Remainder" category.To supplement these statistical data, one can draw on theinsiders' perspectives of the Vancouver Chinese. A popular socialevent in Chinatown in the late 1940s and early 1950s was thereception party sponsored by a native place or a surnameassociation to welcome the newly arrived spouses and children ofits members. This was a joyous occasion to announce formally thearrival of one's immediate family members and to introduce them toa larger circle of acquaintance. 10 The jubilance is not hard tounderstand. Firstly, many immigrant settlers saw their wives andchildren for the first time in years. Previously even if they hadwanted to re-unite with their families in Canada and had been ableto afford the expense, this would have been inhibited by theimmigration policy. The legal barrier was now gone. Secondly, theoutbreak of civil war between the Kuomintang government and theChinese Communist Party in China meant additional urgency to getthe remaining families out of the country. When the ChineseCommunists finally took power in 1949 forcing the Nationalistregime to withdraw to Taiwan, many elderly immigrants believed thattheir dream of enjoying retirement in the home village after yearsof sojourning and toiling overseas was shattered. Their only hope1 0^For example, see Chinese Times 14 November 1948.53was to apply for their children, spouses, and, if possible, otherrelatives to join them in Canada. This desire was most conspicuousthroughout the 1950s in their support for the lobbying effort ofthe Chinese Benevolent Association to expand the categories ofadmissible immigrants. 11This wave of renewed immigration provided some Chinese with anunprecedented opportunity for family life. For the ethnic group asa whole, the coming of young adults and children helped torejuvenate the aging population, while the arrival of wives anddaughters likewise had a balancing effect on the sex distribution.Though statistical data on Vancouver are not available, the trendsseem unmistakable from quantitative evidence gathered at thenational level, as indicated in Table 2.5. These developments --including a younger population, a more balanced sex ratio, moresettled intact families, and the local reproduction of a secondgeneration -- all augured better for the future of the ethnic groupthan at any time in the previous eighty years of Chinese settlementin Vancouver.' 2Given the size and the nature of this renewed immigration, thediscussion of its repercussions and larger meanings naturallyunfolded among the Chinese. The following is one example written by11^The importance of this campaign by the CBA will beexamined in more than one context in the later chapters.12^See Peter Li's national level analysis, "Immigration Lawsand Family Patterns: Some Demographic Changes Among ChineseFamilies in Canada, 1885-1971," Canadian Ethnic Studies Vol. 12,no. 1 (1980), pp. 58-73.Table 2.5The Age and Sex Distribution of the Chinese Population in Canada,1951 and 1961 (in percentage)1951Age Groups^Male^Female Total Male1961Female Total0^-^9 5.50^5.09 10.59 11.90 10.91 22.8110^-^19^9.39^4.17 13.56 5.97 4.38 10.3520^-^34^6.72^5.55 12.27 17.30 10.92 28.2235^-^44^7.74^3.10 10.84 3.08 3.23 6.3145^- 54^12.86^1.80 14.46 4.43 4.13 8.5655^-^64^21.00^0.94 21.94 6.20 2.85 9.0565 & above^15.67^0.43 16.10 13.08 1.59 14.67Total^78.88^21.08 99.96 61.96 38.01 99.97Source: Census of Canada 1951 and 19615455the editor of the English language Chinatown News in February 1955in response to a report in the Province, which claimed that thenumerous young arrivals had flooded the labour market in Chinatown,leading to a crisis in its ethnic economy:Has the arrival of these newcomers actually createda crisis in Chinatown? Let [us] briefly review thesituation:Before 1948, there were only eight groceries inChinatown catering exclusively to consumers of Chinesemerchandise. Today there are twenty-four. This increaseis explained by Chinese businessmen as a logicaldevelopment since...these newcomers almost invariablyconsider Chinese food as indispensable.Look at another aspect of the picture. The arrivalof these immigrants is regarded as a godsend by all fiveChinese language papers in Canada. 13 There was a timewhen high on the conference agenda of publishers andeditors was the question of a bi-lingual paper to capturethe evergrowing [sic] number of Chinese...who readnothing else but English language papers and periodicals.The question was shelved only after the gradual arrivalsof spouses and children of Canadian citizens from theOrient.Chinese churches, too, have found their attendanceincreasing by leaps and bounds within the last few years.More and more [English] classes have to be opened to fillthe need of these newcomers who are anxious to master thelanguage in the land of their adoption. Our ministers ofthe gospel will readily testify that the group as a wholeis industrious, frugal, ready and willing to tackle any13 They were the Chinese Times and the Chinese Voice inVancouver, the New Republic in Victoria (relocated to Vancouver in1958), and the Hung Chung She Bo and the Shing Wah Daily News inToronto.56kind of jobs offered them."Notwithstanding their defensive purpose, these observationsreveal several of the ways that people thought about replenishmentof the ethnic group. First, the newcomers may have contributed tothe growth of the size and the scope of the Chinese ethnic economy.As pointed out in the editorial, their arrival led to the expansionof the Chinese clientele for some ethnic businesses in Chinatown.Those immigrants who came in their late teens and early twentieswithout any English facility often entered the Chinese job marketright away as a new source of cheap labour. Renewed immigration andfamily reunion could further be related to the Chinese acquisitionof more residential properties, particularly in Strathcona, and thesteady proliferation of Chinese real estate agents during thisperiod .15Second, there was a dimension of cultural replenishment. Thenew immigrants boosted the volume of Chinese readership and therebyrevived the Chinese language press, as suggested by the ChinatownNews. The three remaining Chinese language schools -- the ChinesePublic School, the Mon Keong, and the Tai Kung -- all renovated andexpanded their facilities to accommodate a growing number of14^Chinatown News 3 February^See the testimony of Foon Sien Wong to Vancouver CityCouncil in April 1958, in Chinese Voice 25 April 1958. Theproliferation of Chinese real estate agents was most noticeablethrough the commercial advertisements in the Chinese languagenewspapers.57Chinese children. Their total student enrolments increased fromabout four hundred at the end of the war to almost a thousand inthe 1960s. 16 Moreover, the demographic expansion of the ethnicgroup seems to have rekindled a strong interest in Chinese culture.Some Chinese began to engage in an intensified debate on thecontent of this culture and on the best way to promote it. Thisphenomenon will be examined later in this chapter and revisitedfrom other perspectives in the rest of the study.Finally, closely related to cultural replenishment is theeffect of renewed immigration on the ethnic institutions. The claimof the Chinatown News that Chinese churches grew considerably byabsorbing the new immigrants is perhaps exaggerated, though nottotally unfounded. The church histories of the ChinesePresbyterian, the Anglican, and the Christ Church of China allindicate that they underwent modest growth in the post-war years,and some Canadian missionaries were able to plant two new projects-- the Chinese Pentecostal Church and the Lutheran Church -- in theChinatown area.'' In one case, the Chinese United Church developed16 Brief histories of the Chinese language schools and theinformation on their enrolment figures can be found in HuaqiaoGonqli Xuexiao choumu lingfei zhengxinlu (Chinese Public SchoolFund-raising Report) (1962); Wenjiang Xuexiao xiaokan (Mon KeongSchool 1925-1985); David T.H. Lee, Jianada Huaqiao shi (A Historyof the Chinese in Canada) (Taipei: Canada Free Press, 1967), pp.334-39; and occasional reports in the Chinese press.17 Yunbu Huaren Zhanglaohui gishi zhounian jinian ji mingxie (Thanksgiving and Souvenir Publication of the SeventiethAnniversary of the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Vancouver 1895-1965) (1965); Yunbu Huaren Zhanglaohui liushi zhounian tanqqinq(The Chinese Presbyterian Church of Vancouver Ninetieth AnniversarySouvenir 1895-1985) (1985); "A Brief History of the Parish Church58a special social service programme in its ministry to thenewcomers. Its English evening classes, dormitory, and, later, day-care assistance and English tutoring for Chinese housewives wereknown to be quite popular. 18The same thing, however, cannot be said about the traditionalassociations. They apparently did little to bring themselves intoline with the changing composition of the ethnic group. Though theelderly settlers continued to celebrate the coming of their wivesand daughters, public attention was always given to the fewthousand young males among the new immigrants. They saw in theseyoungsters images of their previous selves, as men who had come toCanada to struggle for a better life. At the early stage of thisrenewed immigration, they appeared to have shared a greatexpectation that these "zuguo qingnian" (the youth from the nativecountry) would prove themselves to be worthy successors by takingan active part in the Chinatown organizations. 19As it turned out, the hope that the immigrant youth wouldof the Good Shepherd," in The Dedication of the Church of the GoodShepherd Souvenir (1985); Zili Zhonghua Jidu Jiaohui qishiwu zhounian qan'en jinian kan (Seventy-fifth Anniversary ThanksgivingReport of the Christ Church of China) (1986); and my interviewswith some former and current pastors of these ethnic churches.18 Jianada Yungaohua Huaren Xiehe Jiaohui jiushisan zhounian jinian tekan (Ninety-third Anniversary of the Chinese UnitedChurch, Vancouver, B.C., 1888-1981) (1981). Also the followingarchival materials of the Chinese United Church in Vancouver:Minutes of the Official Board 1953-1967, and Annual Reports 1959-1967.19^See, for example, some articles in Chinese Voice 10November 1954, 5 August and 12 November 1955, and 1 March 1956.59replenish and energize the traditional associations did notmaterialize, at least not in the way the elderly generation hadexpected. The relationship between the two groups was far fromcordial and was marked by ambivalence as well as tension. Someyoung newcomers initially relied on the existing facilitiesprovided by the organizations. Yet they were less content thantheir predecessors and more eager to break new ground. The Chineseboarding houses were a case in point.Since the beginning of Chinese settlement in Vancouver, theboarding houses had served as lodging facilities and as animportant nexus in the social and cultural lives of the singlemigrants. 2° Known among non-Chinese as "Chinese bachelor houses,"they were probably all over the Chinatown area by the late twentiesthough their exact number cannot be confirmed. Some of them wererun by the district and surname associations to provide simpleaccommodation for the members. A larger number were affiliatescalled "fangkou" or "fang," which were set up by fellow districtmenand clansmen themselves.With the formation of more family households after 1947, thedemise of boarding houses was inevitable. Nevertheless, evidencen The boarding houses were a typical ethnic institutionfound among many immigrant societies in North America in the firstphase of their migration and settlement. Surprisingly, we knowlittle about their history, especially among the Chinese. For anilluminating study of the Italian "lodging houses" in Canada, seeRobert Harney, "Boarding and Belonging: Thoughts on SojourningInstitutions," Urban History Review Vol. 2 (October, 1987), pp. 8-37.60shows that some new immigrants did resort to these lodgingfacilities probably because their sponsoring relatives wereboarders themselves. According to the book-keeping records of IngSuey Sun Tong, one of the smallest surname associations inChinatown, a majority of its boarders in 1945-1955 were elderlyChinese who had been living there for at least ten years. However,close to one-half were unfamiliar faces and were presumably recentarrivals. 2' The use of the traditional boarding facilities by thenew immigrants is further confirmed by the information collected inan official survey of the Chinatown neighbourhood in 1956. Inpreparing the ground for urban redevelopment, the city plannersdiscovered that eighty percent of the one hundred and fifty"Chinese bachelor houses" in the area had young men among thetenants. 22Interestingly, other findings in these two sources belie thatthis was simply a case of replenishment of an ethnic institution bya succeeding generation of immigrants. The new boarders at Ing SueySan Tong, for instance, all seemed to have a much shorter period oftenancy than the previous occupants. Take 1955, the last year ofthe records, as an illustration: among the 22 rent-payers, seven ofthem had been living in the Tong for almost twenty years; ten weren Wu Xushan Tong caoliu bao (Ing Suey Sun Tong AccountBooks) 1936-43, 1944-51, and 1952-55.22 City of Vancouver, Planning Department for HousingResearch Committee, Vancouver Redevelopment Study (1957), pp. 43-44.61totally new to the facility; and only five had been there from twoto four years, whereas many other post-war arrivals who had onceresided in the Tong were gone. 23 Consider also the followingtypology of "Chinese bachelor houses" devised by the city officialsin their redevelopment studies: one-fifth of the boarding houseswere occupied exclusively by elderly Chinese, and they wereassociated with the highest density of occupants, the cheapestrent, and the poorest housing and sanitary conditions; anunspecified number housed both elderly and young Chinese, usuallyin slightly better facilities; last was a noticeable group in which"young working men" shared a house in what officials perceived tobe a less overcrowded and more agreeable environment. 24The whole picture becomes clearer when we take into accountthe severe criticism by some new immigrants of the boarding housesin the Chinese press. Echoing the condemnations of the outsidecritics, young Chinese authors writing in the 1950s castigated theboarding houses as a deplorable institution perpetuating anappalling life style and living condition. 25 In spite of, orbecause of, their initial dependence on these facilities, thenewcomers were obviously upset by this kind of "institutionalized"23^Wu Xushan Tong caoliu bao.24^Vancouver Redevelopment Study, pp. 43-44.25 Two typical examples are an essay by "Cen Hai" on"Fangkou" (The Boarding Houses), and another one by "Ma Bing" on"Danshen Guahan" ("The Bachelors") in Chinese Voice 27 June 1955and 26 October 1957 respectively.62hardship and were more ready to break away and design their ownlife.As we will see below, this pattern of discontent and thesearch for changes were recurring themes in the interaction of theyoung new immigrants with the elderly settlers and theirtraditional organizations. Tension and, at times, open conflictwere an unavoidable part of the replenishing process of this ethnicgroup.The Search for Recreation and Space: The Case of the AuxiliaryYouth Organizations The reason behind this emerging social fracture was therelative homogeneity of the Chinese minority on the eve of renewedimmigration. With just a small number of families and a minimalcohort of young people, the earlier immigrant settlers were used toseeing themselves as the primary components of a "community." Veryfew facilities within the existing organizations catered to theneeds of teenagers and young adults. Hence, after the youngimmigrants arrived, the older generation was unaccustomed to, ifnot alarmed by, the claims of the newcomers on the limitedresources of the ethnic group.In the late forties and early fifties, available amenities foryoung people in Chinatown were indeed scarce. The Chinesedepartment of the Vancouver YWCA was formed in 1938 and its centreon Pender Street opened in 1943, with the support of the Chinese63United Church. The patrons of the Pender Y, as the facility wascalled, were mainly English-speaking youngsters or school-agechildren. 26 For the Chinese-speaking immigrant youth, Chinatown hadlittle to offer. A few traditional organizations, such as theChinese Freemasons, had set up affiliated athletic societies forthe small group of Canadian-born Chinese who had reached theiradolescence in the period between the two world wars. Under thesponsorship of the two Wong's surname organizations, the Hon HsingAthletic Club was established in 1940 to generate support from thenative-born Chinese youth for the national salvation movement.However, by the end of the forties as the local-born began toorganize more actively on their own, these youth auxiliaries wereall reduced to a nominal existence. 27Concern about the paucity of youth-related recreationalfacilities was reflected in a writing contest held in 1955 by theChinese language newspaper Chinese Voice. Contestants were invitedto submit essays on the topic, "My Opinions on How to Improve theRecreational Facilities in [Our] Overseas Chinese Society." The26 Chinatown News 18 October 1953. More will be said aboutthe Pender Y in Chapter Three.27^Information on the Freemasons Athletic Club was gatheredfrom several interviews with its previous members. Historicaldocumentation on the Hon Hsing Athletic Club is available in JiayunHansheng Tiyuhui disi zhounian jinian tekan (The Fourth AnniversarySouvenir Issue of the Hon Hsing Athletic Club, Vancouver, Canada)(1944); Huang Hansheng Tiyuhui qi zhounian jinian ji (A Chronicleof the Wong's Hon Hsing Athletic Club Seventh Anniversary) (1947);and Jiayun Hanshenq Tiyuhui chengli ershiwu zhounian jinian tekan(The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Souvenir Issue of the Hon HsingAthletic Club, Vancouver, Canada) (1965).64event naturally touched a chord among the immigrant youth. Thewinning essays by two young authors were almost identical. Theylamented the prevalence of gambling among the elderly Chinese andtreated the gambling halls as a disgrace. For the new generation ofChinese youth arriving in Canada since 1947, the authors arguedthat sports clubs, musical societies, literary societies, dramaclubs, libraries, and theatres would be far more desirable. 28In view of this agenda, it is interesting to notice how theimmigrant youth later revived both Hon Hsing and the FreemasonsAthletic Society. Being revitalized around the same time were twotheatrical and musical societies, also with organizationalaffiliation: the Jin Wah Sing of the Freemasons and the Ching Wonof the Kuomintang. Of all of them, the case of Jin Wah Sing isespecially well-documented.Founded in 1934 among the Chinese Freemasons, Jin Wah Sing wasoriginally meant for the relief of unemployed members by theperformance of Chinese opera. The troupe later reached a climax byputting its talents at the service of the Chinese patrioticmovement in 1937-1945, but a precipitate decline followed becausemany members left for China and elsewhere at the end of the war.The reactivation came in 1954 with the participation of a few dozenyoung immigrants who took up traditional opera as their favouritepastime. Jin Wah Sing gradually regained its vitality by providing28 Both essays were published in Chinese Voice 12-13September 1955.65its members with training in Chinese musical instruments andstaging occasional theatrical performances both in and outsideChinatown. Wittingly or unwittingly, Jin Wah Sing further became animportant recruiting ground for the Chinese Freemasons among thenew immigrants, a role also played by Hon Hsing within the Wong'sassociations. 29The examples of youth auxiliaries show that some youngnewcomers considered the traditional associations a valuable andfeasible avenue for the organization of recreational activities.The older generation of settlers in control of the ChineseFreemasons and the Wong's associations also saw the merits ofrecycling dormant facilities that might help to bring immigrantyouth into the orbit of their organizations. Unfortunately, theserelatively successful cases were the exceptions rather than therule.First of all, many immigrant youth did not approve the abovearrangement because of a concern for their own autonomy. Again theexample of Jin Wah Sing illustrates this point. Ever since therevival, Jin Wah Sing's lack of an independent image had troubledsome of its young members. Enjoying the patronage of the Chinese29 Ibid. 8 April 1954 and 4-5 December 1957. The followingpiece of reminiscence by Feng Langfan, "Ru Zhen Hua Sheng shiwunian" (Having Joined Jin Wah Sing for Fifteen Years) is veryinformed. It was serialized in ibid. 1-18 October 1969. I have alsobenefitted from my interviews with two Jin Wah Sing veterans whoparticipated in its revival in 1954, not long after their arrivalin Canada. Later, both of them became regular Freemasons members,then joined the loyalist Dart Coon Club, and eventually proceededto the executive.66Freemasons, they were nonetheless uneasy about the society'ssubsidiary status in public eyes. At times they tried to defend its"autonomy," as is evident in the following extract from a lengthyarticle, published at its anniversary in 1957:As our Society [Jin Wah Sing] is established for thepublic, we show no bias in our activities, let alone anypolitical flavour. Financially, our Society depends onmonthly membership dues, public donations, and moneyraised by our opera performance. We are not subsidized byany organization, and we do not have any supporter behindthe scenes. As a matter of fact, we do not need anysupport of this kind. Instead, we count on the friendlyassistance and encouragement from different sectors ofthe society.As people engaged in performing art, we are notsusceptible to corruption or coercion. Our Society's ownadministrative [independence] and freedom areinalienable. It is absolutely beyond the interference ofany single person or organization [from outside)...It is true that our members come from differentbackgrounds. But once we set foot in the Society, wefollow its rules and do its work. Let me formally saythis again: our Society's position is absolutelyindependent, and our objectives are unadulterated and30pure.Despite the clarification, the problem was not resolved. Asecession took place in 1961 in the name of autonomy. A group ofdiscontented members broke away to set up the Ngai Lum MusicalThis article, entitled "You Zhen Hua Shen jinian shoudaotade lichang" ([Let me] talk about Jin Wah Sing's anniversary andits standpoint), was authored by "Yi Yang." Chinese Voice 5-8 June1957. The quote is taken from 8 June 1957.67Society. To sever its ties with Jin Wah Sing, Ngai Lum's executivepassed a resolution forbidding dual membership in more than onemusical society. 31Secondly, unlike the Freemasons and the Wong's organizations,the large majority of old-style associations were not as interestedin meeting the demand of the newcomers for recreational facilitiesand social space. "Qingnian tuan" (youth corps) were set up in anumber of clan and district organizations in the 1950s supposedlyfor the promotion of youth activities (See Table 2.6). However,some of them, such as the one formed in the Lee Clan Association asearly as 1951, never really got off the ground; and for those thatdid, they seldom lasted for more than a few years. 32 Critics onboth sides were quick to point a finger at one other. The oldsettlers accused the youngsters of misusing public money and trustby indulging in what they considered meaningless social activities.In return, the immigrant youth took the elderly Chinese to task fortheir misappropriation of the youth corps as a means of control and31^Ibid. 7 and 15 June 1961.32 See the case of the Lee Clan Association in ibid. 14November and 2 August 1965. Another unfortunate example is the ShonYee Benevolent Association, as admitted in its official history,Jianada Wengehua Tiecheng Chongyi Zonghui chengli jishi zhounianjinian tekan (A Souvenir Publication of the Seventieth Anniversaryof the Shon Yee Benevolent Association of Canada, Vancouver, 1914-1984) (1984), pp. 24 and 27. Willmott has offered some contemporaryobservations on the demise of the youth corps by the early sixtiesin his "Chinese Clan Associations in Vancouver," Man Vol. 64(1964), pp. 33-37. But he has provided no explanation.Table 2.6A List of Youth Corps Established by Traditional Associations inVancouver's Chinatown in the 1950sYear^Organizations1951 Lee Clan Association HQs1952^Yee Fung Toy Tong HQs1952 Lung Kong Kung So HQs1952^Yue San Association HQs1952 Kong Chow District Association HQs1952^Shon Yee Benevolent Association HQs1953 Sue Yuen Tong HQs1955^Chan Wing Chun Tong HQs1958 Yin Ping District Association HQsHQs=National HeadquartersSources: Chinese Times and Chinese Voice 1951-1958.6869domination. 33 Many a youth corps thus ended up being a scene ofcontention and frustration.To a large extent, the troublesome trajectory of the youthcorps epitomized the growing tensions between the two differentgenerations of immigrants within the ethnic group. Despite the factthat basically all young newcomers between 1947 and 1962 arrived asdependents of the earlier settlers, the cultural, emotional andgeneration gap between them was considerable. For their part, theimmigrant youth usually had a better Chinese education and a higherexpectation about their future in Canada." For many of them, theinitial phase of adaptation in Canada was agonizing. They had heardabout discrimination from afar before their departure from China orHong Kong, but owing to their educational background, sense ofcultural pride, and perhaps, youthful idealism, they were lesswilling than the earlier generation of Chinese immigrants to acceptcultural disability and isolation in the host society. There was,for instance, widespread resentment against what they saw asvirtual confinement in the ethnic labour market centring onChinatown, which offered low salaries and poor prospects. Then Two representative articles are "Qingnian de renwu" (TheResponsibilities of the Youth) by "Tong Gang," and "Huagiao shehuiyingyou de renshi" ([Things] that the Overseas Chinese societyshould know) by "Zhong Wai," in Chinese Voice 26 February and 4July 1958.34 My understanding of the life experiences of thisgeneration of young immigrants is informed by their own writings,appearing mainly in the literary section of the Chinese Voice. Mysensitivity to their perspectives has also been enhanced bypersonal interviews.70original anticipation of the boundless opportunities on the "GoldMountain" soon gave way to profound disillusionment. 35Not surprisingly, the new immigrant youth soon became theseverest internal critics of the existing Chinese minority inVancouver. Criticism of the boarding houses, the vice of gambling,and the dearth of proper entertainment has already been mentioned.Other established institutions and practices in Chinatown were notspared. In their writings, the traditional organizations were oftencastigated as "tuju xingshi" (mere formalism); the "qiaoling"(leaders of organizations) as "zhengquan duoli" (scramble for powerand profit); and the consular officials and visiting dignitariesfrom the Kuomintang government in Taiwan as "bufu zeren"(unconscientious). 36 Another big target was the parentalauthoritarianism of the elderly Chinese. The latter's demand forrespect and their intolerance of a different life style were35 Their anger and frustration as a result of the difficulteconomic adaptation can be seen in many of their essays publishedin the Chinese Voice. A good example is one written by ChenZongchao, entitled "Huaqiao qingnian de chulu wenti" (The Prospectfor the Overseas Chinese Youth), ibid. 30 October 1954. On thetheme of "Xuming de Jinshan" (The 'Gold Mountain' as an undeservedreputation), see the article, "Dao Jia liangnian de huiyi" (AReminiscence of my two years in Canada) by "Jian Qing," ibid. 7-9July 1954.36 Two relevant articles are "Qiaotuan shi 'fengjian debaolei' ma?" (Are the traditional organizations a 'feudalistcitadel'?) by Wu Yihong and "Shicha qiaowu" (Inspecting overseasChinese affairs) by "Xin Huaqiao" in ibid. 20 May 1958 and 12 June1954.71derided as overbearing and insensitive. 37 Overall, as one youngChinese generalized, the problems were a manifestation of "Huaqiaowenhua de luohou" (the backwardness of Overseas Chinese culture). 38The agonized and frustrated immigrant youth had a fewsympathizers outside their group. One of them was the Chineselanguage newspaper Chinese Voice. Considering itself an independentchannel for non-partisan "Chinese voices" in Chinatown, thenewspaper had adopted a relatively sympathetic editorial stancetowards the views of the young newcomers since its inception inNovember 1953. Its literary supplement, in particular, was the mostpopular vehicle for Chinese youth to express their opinions. 39Among the sympathizers was another fascinating personality,Father Peter Chow, who arrived in Vancouver in December 1953 as anewcomer himself. As a result of his position as a cleric at theChinese Catholic Centre and his participation in the traditionalorganizations, he was respected as a public figure among theelderly Chinese. To overcome the lack of "Houtian de qinshanigan"n Essays written by young Chinese on this issue are themost numerous, indicating the intensity of this particulargrievance. See two typical examples in "Fu yu zi" (Father and Son)by "Ma Bing" and "Laonian yu qingnian" (The Elderly and the Youth)by Ling Ding in ibid. 10 November 1956 and 11-13 April 1959.38 Such was the title of the essay by "Ai Ming" in the ibid.12 May 1954. A similar disparaging assessment can be found in ZhenJianyun, "Huaqiao shehui wenhua de wojian" (My View of the Cultureof Overseas Chinese Society) ibid. 14-21 January 1956.39 The microfilm holding of the Chinese Voice in the AsianLibrary, the University of British Columbia, begins with January1954. I have tried in vain to search for the earliest issues. Forits policy, see an editorial that appeared in 10-11 February 1954.72(acquired intimacy), which he considered as the roots of thegeneration gap caused by prolonged family separation, Father Chowadvised the youth to be patient and forbearing. Yet he also wrotedisapprovingly on the attitude of the older generation, such as thefollowing:[According to the ethics of the elderly,] no effortshould be spared in order to make money, [self-enhancement by] reading is dispensable; labour wouldnever be excessive, entertainment should better be keptto the minimum; "Majong" and "Tiankou" [two favouritegambling games among Chinese] are our cultural heirlooms,watching movies and picnicking, however, are undesirablewestern items. 4°Unfortunately, such sympathy towards the young newcomers wasuncommon and the general reaction of the older generation ofsettlers was one of alienation and outrage. Having toiled for yearsand finally being able to send for their families, such an attackby the younger generation was the last thing the elderly Chinesehad expected. Even though they only retorted occasionally in thepress, they were noticeably offended by the young people'sdisrespect. Writing in the Chinatown News, Foon Sien Wong, thechief executive of the Chinese Benevolent Association in the 1950s,added that the elderly Chinese were most disgusted by the youth'sao Quoted from his essay in Chinese Voice 30-31 May 1956,which was reprinted in his Jing quan ji (The Fountain) (Vancouver:Chinese Catholic Publishing Bureau, 1956; second edition, 1958),pp. 132-34.73extravagant spending habits and their disposition to entertainment.One commentator hinted alarmingly in the Chinese Times that thenewcomers' refusal to provide cheap labour would harm businessinterests in Chinatown. 41 Since the fifties was the time of theCold War, and some newcomers tended to have a certain pride in thedevelopment of Communist China, another popular way for the oldersettlers, and particularly the Kuomintang supporters among them, tovent their disappointment and bitterness was to label those42"incorrigible" youngsters as "Gongchan zai" (Commie kids).Under these circumstances, the reluctance of the traditionalassociations, with the few exceptions already noted, to underwriteyouth activities was understandable. Between 1954 and 1958, theelderly members in the Yin Ping District Association frustratedseveral attempts to set up a youth corps. The reason, given in newsreports and in its official history, was a generational conflictover the sharing of financial resources and the use of limitedfloor space in the premises. In the case of the Mah Society,similar opposition prevailed.'" As the youth corps were looked upon41^Chinatown News 3 July 1956 and Chinese Times 18 February1955.42 Chinese Voice 1-2 August 1954. Paul Yee, Saltwater City: An Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver (Vancouver:Douglas and McIntyre, 1988), pp. 109-10, 126-27. See particularlythe reminiscences of Victor Lee, whom I have also interviewed.43 Chinese Voice 3 and 14 February 1958. Enpinq Zonq HuiquanNanping Bieshu lianhe kenqinhui tekan (Yin Ping DistrictAssociation Headquarters Nam Ping Bitsuey Joint Convention SpecialPublication) (1981), p. 105. On the Mah Society see Chinese Voice 31 October and 16 November 1964, and 15 April 1966.74as potentially troublesome, they had to be closely supervised afterthey were formed. Hence the Kong Chow District Association revisedthe by-laws of its youth corps in early 1954 when the corps wasbarely two years old. The amendments imposed stricter membershiprequirements and stipulated categorically the subordination of thecorps to the larger native place organization."As the viability of the youth auxiliaries was undermined bymutual dislike, suspicion, and antagonism, the stage was set forthe emergence of a different kind of youth organization.Autonomous Youth Societies and the Redefinition of CommunityGiven the inadequacy of recreational activities for youngpeople in Chinatown and the limited accessibility of similarfacilities in the mainstream society because of language and otherbarriers, it followed logically that young immigrants wouldorganize independently among themselves. As a matter of fact, somany youth societies mushroomed in this way in Chinatown in the1950s and 1960s that tracking their number is almost impossible.Nonetheless, sheer multitude hardly accounts for the historicalsignificance of these emergent organizations.The most distinctive feature of the youth societies, incontrast to the youth auxiliaries, was their assertion of autonomy.From the very beginning they were founded outside the parameters ofthe established old-style associations. In a situation where the44^Chinese Voice 8 February 1954.7 5existing organizations were seemingly coterminous with thestructure of elite status and social influence within the ethnicgroup, and where they claimed to define issues of generalinterests, this endeavour of the immigrant youth was daring, to saythe least. Bearing the burden of defiance, the youth societies hadto confront suspicious and forbidding surroundings. They had tosurvive on limited resources and the devotion of their youngmembers. These disadvantages probably explain why so many of themenjoyed only an ephemeral existence. They sprang up to organize, orto take part in, certain social, cultural and sport events, butthey all suffered from the lack of financial support andorganizational experience, and a rather inhospitable environment.Notwithstanding, the autonomous status of the youth societiesenabled them to leave behind their distinctive imprint on theChinese minority in Vancouver. The size of the independentsocieties generally fell between the range of several dozen toabout a hundred members, compared to the claim of most youthauxiliaries to have one to two hundred people on the registry. Butmembers of the former tended to be better educated. In the sixties,there were university students and young professionals among theiractivists. 4545 Information on the membership size of either kind ofyouth organizations is sparse. For the example of the youth corpsin the Yin Ping District Association, see the reports in ibid. 9December 1958 and 20 April 1960. On Jin Wah Sing, see ibid. 14September 1957 and 16 October 1958. My general impressions havebeen confirmed in personal interviews. Also, the extent ofoverlapping membership between the youth societies and the youthauxiliaries, and between the independent societies themselves is76For the Chinese youth in these societies, the autonomy oftheir organizations was more than just a matter of defiance againstthe elderly Chinese and their social practices and cultural norms.It afforded them the necessary space and freedom to develop andexpound their own ideas about life, culture, and community.Accordingly, as we will see, they were able to explore wide-rangingand non-conformist interests, unlike those involved in the youthauxiliaries who were confined to recreational activities intraditional Chinese music, martial arts, and sports. Indeed, someof their agendas spoke constructively of new visions of communityand thus altered a discourse that had been in place for decadesamong the immigrant Chinese.Table 2.7 shows an incomplete list of independent youthsocieties that have left behind some trace of their activities inthe Chinese press. If these are representative, it seems that mostyouth societies came into being around the mid 1950s, after thebulk of young male adults in their late teens and early twentieshad arrived, and also after the experiment of youth auxiliaries insome Chinatown organizations had failed (See Table 2.6). One of theindependent societies called itself specifically a "Ju She" (dramaclub); four were literary societies; and the large majority were ofa more general type that took the promotion of cultural and socialactivities among the members as their mandate.On the whole, information on each individual society is verynot clear, though a few cases of dual membership are known.77Table 2.7A Partial List of Autonomous Chinese Youth Societies in Vancouverin the post-war periodName^ First report / Founding dateQiao Ying Qingnian She (G)^13 August 1952 #Qun Qing She (G)^ 27 May 1954Qingnian Lianyi Hui (G)^31 May 1954 / 19 May 1954[Chinese Youth Association]Hua Cui Wenyi Xuehui (L)^11 February 1955[Chinese Literary Society]Xian Qu Wenyu She (G)^17 September 1955Chen Zhong She (G) 9 December 1955Bo Yi Ju She (D)^ 18 February 1956 / 1955Qing Hua She (L) 14 April 1956Wen Yu Zhi Yao She (G)^26 May 1956Qing Lian Wen Lian She (L)^22 June 1956Hai Feng Hui (G)^ 16 October 1959 / 1956[Hai Fung Club]Qing Yun Cao Tang Shi She (L)^16 November 1961Yun Qing Hui (G)^ 8 January 1965 / 1963-64N.B.: English names are provided in [ ] if known;also G = GeneralL = LiteraryD = DramaSources: Chinese Voice, except # which is from Chinese Times.78scarce. The case of the Hai Fung Club is the best known as a resultof its unusual visibility within the ethnic group and discernibleinfluence on other youth organizations. Founded in late 1956 andlasting well into the 1970s, the Hai Fung Club was committed toprovide what it called "Gaodeng yule" (superior form ofentertainment) for its members. It believed that engagement inproper recreation would nourish an admirable personality in everyindividual and the aggregate result would be a more healthy Chinesesociety. 46 Renting a clubhouse first on Dunlevy Street, and thenon East Georgia Street, the Club quickly built up an inventory ofsimple facilities, including a small library, an exercise room, amusic studio, a dark room and so on. Special interest groups inliterary art, music, photography, painting, table-tennis, and otherball games were organized. 47A turning point in the history of the Hai Fung Club occurredin late 1959 when it celebrated its third anniversary. It was thendecided that the Club should no longer keep a low-profile and justconcentrate on the welfare of its members. Instead, further growthwas to be pursued by venturing beyond the clubhouse to influencethe Chinese public. The result was a perceptible reorientation bywhich the Hai Fung Club sought to live up to its name as "Haiwai46 Chinese Voice 17 and 19 October 1959. My discussion ofthe Hai Fung Club is much informed by several interviews with threeformer key members of this fascinating youth society.47 Hai Fenq Hui linian kan (Hai Fung Club: A SouvenirPublication) (1968), p. 3.79huaqiao zhi xianfeng" (the vanguard of the overseas Chinese). 48The Hai Fung Club's impressive programme of activities in thefollowing years, as summarized in Table 2.8, illustrates itsvibrancy. The functions covered a broad range of cultural andsporting events. In addition to recreation, many of its activitiesexhibited an educational flavour. For example, one of the publiclectures it sponsored concerned the use of libraries and was givenby the first Chinese librarian at the Asian Library, the Universityof British Columbia." Apparently, the Hai Fung Club had grown fromholding in-house functions for its members into an ambitious youthsociety that attempted to address a larger Chinese audience. Byinviting popular participation and by staging its activities inpublic, the Club was making a pronouncement of its agendas andhoping to unleash a momentum for social and cultural change.The efforts of the Hai Fung Club in spearheading thesemultifarious events had a powerful impact on the immigrant youth.Other autonomous societies and even some youth auxiliaries wereinfluenced by its example, though none of its contemporaries wasable to surpass the Club in terms of the scope and intensity of itsactivities. A case in point was Hon Hsing, whose several key48 The meaning of the name "Hai Fung" is explained in ibid.,p. 2. For an insider's perspective on the reorientation in late1959, see the commemorative essay written by K. Tong Au, thecurrent chairman during the fifth anniversary. Chinese Voice 30November 1961.49 A synopsis of the lecture is available in Hai Fenq Hui Tinian kan, p. 12.80Table 2.8A Summary of Hai Fung Club's Major Activities, 1959-1968Year^Events1959^Its Literary group started a weekly column, "Qingniantiandi" (The World of the Youth) in the Chinese Voice 1960^Began to organize the first annual table-tennistournament in Chinatown (opened to non-Chinese) [eighttimes]1960^Held the first Cantonese Speech Festival1960^Held the first Chinese Students' Chess Competition [fivetimes]1960^Set up a junior section in the Club to enrol members intheir early teens1961^Co-sponsored an open Chinese chess tournament with theHon Hsing Athletic Society1961-62^Held a series of public lectures on some interestingacademic and cultural topics1963^Sponsored the first B.C. Overseas Chinese Art Exhibition1964^Began to provide free lessons on English language,citizenship, table-tennis, and swimming1964^Organized a Chinese volleyball tournament1965^Held the second Art Exhibition1965^Jointly organized the Chinese Basketball League thatlasted until the early 1970sN.B. There were also a couple of public concerts, the timing ofwhich cannot be ascertained.Sources: Chinese Voice and Hai Feng Hui jinian kan (Hai Fung Club:A Souvenir Publication) (1968).81leaders in the early sixties were concurrently Hai Fung members.According to its own published history, Hon Hsing underwent areform at that time that resulted in the expansion of a Chinesemusic department and the setting up of a small library, a dramadepartment, and a very popular Chinese lion-dance troupe. Incooperation with the Hai Fung Club, it organized the first openChinese chess competition in 1961 and a volleyball tournament in1962. 5° Another memorable sporting event of this period was abasketball tournament held by the Yin Ping Youth Corps in 1964. Thegame generated such enthusiasm that the Chinese Basketball Leaguewas formed in its aftermath, with the Hai Fung Club again playinga leading role. 51This series of events in the early 1960s was epochal in thesense that it marked the full entrance of the post-1947 generationof immigrant youth into the public arena of organizational life.With the Hai Fung Club as the torchbearer, this younger generationof Chinese immigrants refused to be marginalized by the traditionalassociations. Instead, they came forward with their own independentsocieties, a fairly well-defined sphere of public activities, andabove all, a challenge to the traditional concept of community.50 Jiayun Hansheng Tiyuhui chengli ershiwu zhounian jiniantekan, see the section "A report on recent activities." Anotherindication of the close connection between two societies is thefact that from 1961, the Hai Fung Club started to rent a floor inthe Wong Kung Har Tong Headquarters Building in Pender Street asits clubhouse.51^Chinese Voice 4 March 1964, and 12 March 1965.82First and foremost, the existing formulation of community wasunacceptable to the immigrant youth because it was associatedexclusively with the older generation of settlers and theirtraditional associations. Community issues and interests were saidto be narrowly conceived; and the new arrivals, though naturallymembers of the ethnic group, felt that they were being relegated tothe periphery. In response, the autonomous youth societies forcedtheir way into the limelight and contended that they too wereconstituent elements of this ethnic community, with uniquecontributions to render and with legitimate claims on publicresources, space, and power. Their organizational endeavour thusamounted to an expanding redefinition of a Chinese community byseeking full membership for their group in this ethnic entity. 52The old concept of community was also objectionable to theyoung newcomers because of its identification with parochialism.The basic organizing units of the earlier Chinese immigrants, thetraditional associations, were mostly formed on the bases of nativeplace and surname identities. As Wong Sang, the founder of the HaiFung Club, argued in an article on the historical roles of the clanorganizations, the webs of parochial ties were beneficial to thesmall group of people involved. Yet such particularism was52 A most revealing example in this respect was the Hai FungClub's participation in an intense debate on the CBA reform in theearly 1960s, in which its delegates advocated a restructuring ofthe CBA's system of representation to reflect the growing diversitywithin the ethnic group. This episode will be discussed in the lastsection of Chapter Four.83antithetical to any broader conception of "Huaqiao de tuanjie"(overseas Chinese unity) or "Quanti huaqiao de fuli yu wenhua" (anall-encompassing overseas Chinese interest and culture)." It wasthe antipathy towards this parochialized framework of socialorganization and the desire to go beyond it that accounted for theyoung immigrants' rejection of the youth auxiliaries as a form ofcooption into an anachronistic arrangement. 54 To register theiropposition to such parochialism, an open membership accessible toany interested Chinese youth with no particularistic stringattached was de rigueur for the autonomous youth societies.Third, by emphasizing the promotion of cultural activities theindependent youth societies pioneered a different way of thinkingabout Chinese culture. Literary creation, for instance, was muchencouraged by the numerous literary groups within the youthsocieties and by the specialized literary clubs. Small librarycollections were started, literary works were circulated throughinformal networks, and piecemeal publication projects werelaunched. 55 At the same time, other forms of Chinese and non-53^"Zongqin shetuan yu huaqiao" (Clan Organizations and theOverseas Chinese), Chinese Voice 14 December 1960.54^For some scathing criticisms of the youth auxiliaries asa viable option of youth organizations, see two articles furnishedby "Lao Er" and "Lao San" (probably the same author) in ibid. 13and 22 April 1960.55^See, for example, the case of the Chinese LiterarySociety founded in early 1955. Its early activities were reportedin the literary supplement of ibid. 11 February, 2 March, 1-5April, 5 and 18 May, 16, 19 and 26 July, 28 December 1955, and 7-11June 1956.84Chinese visual art, music, and drama all received an unusual amountof attention. 56The interest of young people in social and sporting events isquite conceivable but their enthusiasm for cultural creativity atthis point warrants some explanation. The new arrivals weregenerally known to be better educated than their forefathers, andseem to have nurtured a sense of their own cultural sophistication.On the one hand, these newcomers tended to be very critical of whatthey saw as the cultural mediocrity and backwardness of theVancouver Chinese. On the other, they prided themselves on theirself-assured capability and mandate to develop local Chineseculture to a higher level. Seldom did they talk in terms of merecultural preservation, which was closely identified with Chineseschool education and the upholding of filial piety and harmonywhich the traditional organizations claimed to exemplify. This oldlanguage of cultural maintenance was found to be archaic and toopassive. Propelled unabashedly by an inflated cultural pride andsome kind of renaissance sentiments, this generation of immigrantyouth was reinventing a community that championed culturaladvancement."56 On the growing interest in traditional and modern Chinesemusic, see Wang Jiequn, "Benbu ge yinyue tuanti jianjie" (A BriefAccount of the Musical Societies in our [China]town), ibid. 12-14August 1963.57 On the rejection of cultural maintenance in favour ofcultural reform and advancement, see "You Long," "Haiwai qingnianying zhuzhong zuguo wenhua" (Overseas Chinese Youth should Pay moreAttention to the Culture of the Native Country) ibid. 5-6 May 1959.On the re-enactment of a cultural renaissance and the eulogizing of85Lastly, interwoven with this enterprise was the sharedaspiration of the immigrant youth for an apolitical, non-partisanand non-religious form of cultural and social life. Expressed firstas a reaction against the perceived parochialism of the localChinese and a defense against the accusation that they, the youngnewcomers, were a bunch of communist sympathizers, this attitudegrew into a belief in the fundamental virtue of a Chinese culturalidentity and personality unblemished by political divisions,partisan interests, and religious faith. The first publicannouncements of many youth societies often consisted of aceremonious denial of any interest in Chinese politics. 58Lest this categorical refusal of most autonomous youthsocieties to become entangled in Chinese politics be taken as theonly proposition, the Chinese Youth Association should be mentionedas a notable exception. Members of this youth society consideredpolitics not simply relevant but in fact a key component in anyreconstruction of a viable Chinese identity. From its inception in1954 to its dissolution in the early 1980s, the Chinese YouthAssociation displayed a leftist ideological orientation and openlypraised the achievements of the communist regime in Mainland China.their cultural endeavour as "yundong" (Movement) in the May Fourthtradition -- such as a "Wuwu yundong" (The Movement of [Nineteen]Fifty-five) on Chinese poems and a "Xiju yundong" (Drama Movement)in 1956, see the literary supplement of ibid. 17 March 1955, 28January and 7 June 1956.58 See the examples of the Chinese Literary Society and theYun Qing Hui in ibid. 11 February 1955 and 4-5 March 1965respectively.86The latter, it insisted, had laid a new foundation for a modernChinese national pride, which the Chinese overseas could ill affordputting aside. The Association took upon itself the task ofpropagating the progress of Communist China. Joining the otheryouth societies in their activism in the early sixties, it alsobecame outspoken in its own ways. Close ties were established withthe Canada-China Friendship Association, newly formed in 1964 amongsome Chinese, but mainly non-Chinese, sympathizers of the People'sRepublic of China in Vancouver. To reach a larger audience, theAssociation began to sponsor film shows regularly at the UkrainianHall, featuring movies from Mainland China; and it started aChinese language biweekly newspaper, Da Zhong Bao (The Masses), asits mouthpiece. 59It would not be surprising if this political maverick had itsadmirers among the local Chinese, but more often, it had toconfront hostility and ostracism. The active membership of theChinese Youth Association through the 1960s was never more than afew dozen. According to its former members, the Association'spremises were once ransacked and set on fire, and its functions59 Little is known about the early history of the ChineseYouth Association. The best internal source is the Da Zhong Bao,which started publishing in February 1961. Unfortunately, the onlyextant holding at the Asian Library, U.B.C., begins with theDecember issues of 1965. The political inclinations of theAssociation will be discussed in greater detail when we examine thelocal manifestations of Chinese politics in Chapter Five.87were sometimes interrupted by the police. 60While the bold agenda of the radical Chinese Youth Associationwas treated by the older generation of Chinese settlers withintolerance, the visions of community put forward by otherindependent youth societies were not uncontested either. ChapterFour will discuss how the traditional organizations manifested theolder settlers' ideas of community through their rejoinders to theyoung critics. In the meantime, let us take a snapshot of a briefand yet acrimonious exchange to get a sense of the debate.The occasion was the B.C. Overseas Chinese Art Exhibitionorganized by the Hai Fung Club in 1963. To promote the event, WongSang published in the Chinese Voice a short essay in which hesuggested that this meaningful undertaking would mark a significantdeparture from the undeveloped state of overseas Chinese culture inVancouver. 61 This comment prompted an immediate and acerbicresponse from Father Chow, who, as we may recall, had once beenquite sympathetic to the views of the immigrant youth. By thistime, however, he was better known for his strong anti-Communismand was identified as part of the conservative establishment. In alengthy article printed in the local Kuomintang party press, theNew Republic, Father Chow retorted that the present condition ofoverseas Chinese culture was not as unworthy as Wong had portrayed.60^Paul Yee, Saltwater City, pp. 110, 129-30 provides somevivid reminiscences furnished by Jimmy Lum. Similar information wasgenerated in my interview with one former active member.61^26 January 1963.88He further singled out for scathing criticism Wong's disregard ofthe role of Confucianism and other religions in the development ofChinese civilization. In the end, he wrote alarmingly that "only abeliever in materialistic Communism could say such utter nonsense.We better 'xiaoxin qiren' (keep an eye on this person)." 62Undaunted by such criticism, the Hai Fung Club mustered itsstrength for a spirited defense. In a rejoinder published in theChinese Times the following week, Wong started off by accusing hiscritic of pursuing a selfish desire to "xiduan huacliao wenhua"(monopolize [the definition of] overseas Chinese culture). As hewent on to argue:In describing the current state of Chinese culturein our society as reasonably advanced, Father Chow is infact saying that there is no need for us to work hard andto make progress. Such being the case, those self-claimedleaders among us will be leaders forever...As for myself, I have never made any claim for aleadership position in Chinese culture. Neither am I aCommunist as Father Chow insinuated... By recklesslyputting red labels on the others, he is trying togenerate unnecessary misunderstanding and hatred amongthe overseas Chinese in order to spoil our meaningfulundertaking -- the Art Exhibition. 63Later that month, the literary group of the Hai Fung Clubpublished an essay entitled "Xin Falisai ren" (The New Pharisee).62 29-31 January 1963. The article also appeared in ChineseTime 1-2 February 1963.63^8-9 February 1963.89The protagonist was characterized as a "wei junzi" (hypocrite) whomisused public charities to build up his social status. He wasagainst open-mindedness and social progress. He was absolutelyintolerant, as people who disagreed with him were all condemned asrenegades." The target of this passage was clearly Father Chow.No less apparent was the resolve of the Hai Fung Club to defend itsrights to speak differently on Chinese culture.To conclude, the wave of renewed Chinese immigration intoCanada after the repeal of the highly restrictive Immigration Actin 1947 was instrumental in replenishing a dwindling Chineseminority. The process of replenishment was not smooth. Of course,it had a brighter side such as the celebration of family reunion.Yet the period was also full of cultural and social tensions. Itwas punctuated by open conflict between the older generation ofChinese settlers and the new arrivals, particularly the young malenewcomers who made up a sizeable and visible portion of thisinflow.The analysis in the preceding pages has concentrated on theinitiatives and perspectives of the immigrant youth. Theirencounter with the elderly generation over the development of youthauxiliaries in the traditional organizations was an unpleasant one.With a few exceptions, that experiment failed because of growingmutual dislike and antagonism. The search for autonomy and a64^Chinese Voice 25 February 1963.90desirable form of social and cultural life among the immigrantyouth led to the formation of their own independent societies.Many autonomous youth societies were short-lived. But the HaiFung Club and the Chinese Youth Association enjoyed unusuallongevity, and their activism had an inerasable impact on the localChinese. Their existence represented a competitive claim on socialspace, resources and influence within the ethnic group. Theirsocial, cultural and political agendas further challenged thetraditional concept of community, and the idea of Chinese culture,associated with and perpetuated by the traditional organizations.91Chapter Three: The Coming of Age of the Local-born Chinese,1945-1970In the 1960s, David T.H. Lee, the self-acclaimed firsthistorian of the Chinese in Canada, attempted to define "tushenghuayi" (local-born Chinese), or simply "tusheng," as follows:By "tusheng huayi" we mean those huaren (ethnicChinese) who have received only English education and donot have the mind of zhonqquoren (Chinese people). Thisgroup includes Chinese who were born locally and thosewho came from the ancestral country to Canada as minorsand are English-educated...Local-born Chinese usually [mis]take things inChinatown as representative of Chinese culture. Theyconsider the lion dance, opera, and martial arts as ourcultural essence, without which Chinese civilization isdevoid of any merit. They think Chinese culture isdespicable and China is no more than just a huge country.Hence they suffer badly from an inferiority complex...Among Chinese people, the local-born often claim tobe Canadians... Yet westerners have little respect forthem and continue to call them Chinese. Since their [wayof] thinking has been westernized, they mix withwesterners in their social life and have lost touch withthe Chinese. Their contact with [our] community has alsobeen attenuated as a result of their poor command ofChinese language. So, it is hard to expect them tosupport charitable undertakings and associationalactivities in the community, let alone relief work forthe native country or the national salvation movement [ofanti-Communism based in Taiwan]. Nevertheless, they aremore than enthusiastic about some recreational events inChinatown. Whenever there are parades and dancingparties, or when some beautiful [Chinese] ladies fromelsewhere are in town, they are the first ones to show up92at the special functions. Probably they are influenced bywestern utilitarianism.'The above description of the "tusheng" was obviously informedby derisive attitudes towards the Canadian-born Chinese current inthe Chinese minority in the post-war period. Most probably, it alsodrew on a deep-seated disapproval among the older immigrant Chineseof the cultural orientation of the local-born. Since the earlytwentieth century, the number of "tusheng" children had steadilyincreased in tandem with a growing concern about theirsusceptibility to deculturation. The first Chinese language schoolsin Vancouver were set up to preserve Chinese cultural skills andnational sentiments among these youngsters who were to grow up ina foreign country. Before the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in1937, it was not uncommon for well-off merchant families and moremodest shopkeeper households to send at least one of their sons, oreven daughters, back to China for an authentic Chinese education.In the eyes of succeeding generations of Chinese immigrants, the"tusheng" was characterized by the fragility and vulnerability oftheir Chineseness; they also occupied a marginal status in acommunity defined by and for the immigrant Chinese.Although this prejudice against the "tusheng" was to persistand, in some ways, intensify in the post-war years, anothersignificant factor had come into play. Previously, the local-bornJianada Huagiao shi (A History of the Chinese in Canada)(Taipei: Canada Free Press, 1967), pp. 388-89.93segment had been too small and too young to assume anything but ajunior position in a predominantly immigrant Chinese population.This picture changed at the end of the Second World War when theCanadian-born began to acquire growing visibility and autonomywithin the ethnic group. This process manifested itself mostpowerfully in their unprecedented capacity for self-definition inthe public arena and in their emergence as full participants in thediscourse on Chinese cultural identity and community. No longerwere they simply a subject of concern and disparagement by otherChinese.This chapter seeks to examine the articulation of local-bornChinese interests and identity through associational activities.Two generations of "tusheng" and their representative organizationswill be discerned, before it turns to the important role of alocal-born Chinese publication, the Chinatown News. 2 It will beargued that the evolving Canadian-born Chinese identity was theaggregate result of three different factors after 1945. The firstwas demographic conditions, including the growing size and thematuring age of the "tusheng" population. Secondly, the hostsociety was more open, with job opportunities, social life, andcultural options beyond Chinatown becoming more accessible to thelocal-born. Both of these variables, the demographic and the socio-2 The magazine was originally called Chinatown. For noreason given, it was renamed Chinatown News at the beginning of itsfourth year in September 1956. It will simply be called, or quotedas, Chinatown News throughout this study. The Vancouver PublicLibrary has a complete holding.94cultural, have been appropriately recognised in the literature asinstrumental in fostering the autonomy and influence of the local-born Chinese. 3 However, little attention has been given to theequally important factor of intra-ethnic relations. As a matter offact, the "tusheng" identity took shape after 1945 when the local-born positioned themselves in relation to the elderly settlers andthe newcomers. Their sense of difference was clearly disclosed intheir debate with the latter on issues of Chinese cultural identityand community. While this interactional process in the constructionof "tusheng" identity forms the main thrust of this chapter, thelast section will focus specifically on the question of mutualprejudice and cultural assaults between the local-born and theother two groups.Canadian-born Chinese Organizations and IdentityPrior to a survey of local-born Chinese organizations, asketch on the "tusheng" population in Vancouver in the post-warperiod is in order. Because precise local information is lacking,national level statistics will be our first reference. Table 3.1shows that the percentage of local-born within the total Chinesepopulation in Canada increased steadily during the first half and3 Canadian example is lacking but see Him Mark Lai'sdiscussion of the rise of the American-born Chinese as a socialforce in early twentieth century in his Cong Huagiao dao Huaren: ershi shiji Meiguo Huaren shehui fazhanshi (From Overseas Chineseto Ethnic Chinese: A History of Chinese Society in the UnitedStates in the Twentieth Century) (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing,1992), pp. 130-73.95Table 3.1The percentage of Native-born Chinese within the Total ChinesePopulation in Canada, 1901-1981Year^Total Chinese Population^% of^Native-born1901 17,3121911 27,831^ 31921^39,587 71931 46,519 121941 34,627 201951^32,528^ 311961 58,197 401971 118,815 381981^289,245 25Sources: Census of Canada, 1901-1981, as compiled by Peter Li, TheChinese of Canada (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 61.Table 3.2An Estimate of the Percentages of the Three Different Groups inVancouver's Chinese Population, 1951-1971Groups^ 1951^1961^1971 The early generation^55^23^9of immigrantsPost-1947 Newcomers^8^33^50Local-born Chinese^37^44^41Sources: Census of Canada 1951-1971. For the proportion of thepost-1947 immigrants, see the discussion in Chapter Two,especially Table 2.3. The percentages of the local-bornare based on a minor adjustment of the national average.96well into the second half of the twentieth century. Between 1941and 1961, the proportion actually doubled so that by the lattercensus year as many as two-fifths of the Chinese were registered asbeing born in Canada. Thereafter, the sizeable influx of newimmigrants reversed this upward trend.The situation in Vancouver roughly corresponds with thenational pattern, except that the relative size of its local-bornChinese population seems to be consistently above the nationalaverage. The Census of 1951 indicates that there were 3,200 native-born Chinese in Vancouver, which was about 37 per cent of theChinese population at that time. 4 Comparable information is notavailable in 1961 and 1971, but in 1981, the Census reported that27 per cent of the Chinese in the metropolitan area of GreaterVancouver were Canadian-born. 5 The higher percentage of "tusheng"in Vancouver can perhaps be related to the relatively large size ofits Chinese settlement which made possible family formation earlierthan in other Canadian Chinese populations. Some local-born Chinesein Vancouver were also known to have relocated from the morehistorical but shrinking Chinatown in Victoria. Whatever theexplanation, Table 3.2 suggests that at least one out of threeChinese residents in Vancouver during the period 1951-1971 was a4 This is arrived at by subtracting the number of Chinese-speaking immigrants from the total Chinese population. Census of Canada 1951, p. 61--30.5 Census of Canada 1981, pp. 4--13, 4--14. "GreaterVancouver" includes the city of Vancouver and a dozen neighbouringmunicipalities.97Canadian-born.Although information on the age distribution of the "tusheng"is not available, the first significant batch of Canadian-bornyouth and adults seems to have become active within the Chineseminority around the Second World War. Born in the 1920s or earlier,they constituted what will be called the "first generation" local-born Chinese, and began to assume a conspicuous role in thedefinition of Canadian-born Chinese interests and identity uponreaching maturity. Sharing with this group a comparable childhoodand similar cultural traits were a few Chinese who had come at anearly age before 1923 to join their fathers or uncles. For thisreason, they may be considered belonging to this local-borngeneration. 6Just as the "tusheng" component was becoming more sizeablewithin the local Chinese population, Ottawa provided a catalyst forthe transition of a fledging Canadian-born Chinese identity into amore coherent, endurable, and assertive form. At the last stage ofthe Pacific War, about five hundred local-born Chinese, half of6 I am not alone in adopting this view. Other examplesinclude David Lee (see the quote at the beginning of this chapter)and Edgar Wickberg ed., From China to Canada: A History of theChinese Communities in Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,1982), pp. 94-98. It should be noted that my use of the terms, the"first generation" Canadian-born Chinese and later, the "secondgeneration," refers only to the demographic segments throughoutthis study. Unless specified or made clear by the context, they arenot used to indicate the genealogical depth of family settlement oflocal-born individuals or groups in Canada.98them from British Columbia, were inducted into the Canadian armedforces. Up to this point, the Canadian-born Chinese in BritishColumbia held only "second-class" citizenship. In spite of theirstatus as British subjects by birth, they had no franchise at anylevel of government elections, and were therefore barred fromcertain choice professions and from getting onto the officialpayrolls. They were influenced by Canadian culture and life stylethrough public education and the mass media, but they weregenerally deprived of substantial contact with the mainstreamsociety. Being equally victims of discriminatory legislation andpopular racism, they could well be bracketed with the rest of theethnic group as uniformly "Chinese."Against this background, the draft order in the summer of 1944had the dramatic effect of singling out the "tusheng" from theChinese population as a special category owing to their eligibilityto bear arms for Canada.' The initial responses of the local-bornChinese were mixed. Some of them resented the call-up to fight forthe country that had denied their rights as citizens. But themajority opinion was to grasp the chance for a demonstration ofloyalty to Canada and then to demand full citizenship in theaftermath. No sooner had enlistment begun than several socially-7 Paul Yee is driving more or less at the same point, whenhe writes that "The War focused attention on one special segment ofthe community: the new Canadian-borns." See his discussion and theexcerpts of interviews with a few Chinese veterans in his SaltwaterCity: An Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver(Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1988), pp. 99-105 passim.99conscious local-born sprang into action to seek redress of theirconstitutional status and formed a Chinese Canadian Association inVancouver in late 1944. In the following February, it petitionedthe government of British Columbia "for the granting of franchiseto all Canadians of Chinese descent in the province." The submitteddocument deplored the range of political and economic disabilitiesimposed on the Canadian-born Chinese. It referred with pride to theprogress the local-born Chinese had made in terms of acculturationand assimilation, and the manifold contributions they had renderedto Canada's war efforts. It argued passionately that "since they[the Canadian-born Chinese] bear, and bear gladly, full citizenshipresponsibilities, they should be entitled to all citizen rights." 8At the end of the war, the returned Chinese soldiers organizedthemselves into the Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans of Canada,Unit 280, and continued the lobbying effort. The general opinion inCanada after the war was strongly in favour of the granting of fullcitizenship and the Chinese in British Columbia were dulyenfranchised provincially and federally in 1947 and municipally in8 "Memorandum and Petition Submitted to the Honourable, ThePremier of British Columbia, John Hart, Esq., and the HonourableMinisters of the Executive Council of the Government of theProvince of British Columbia, on February 16, 1945, by a Delegationrepresenting the Chinese Canadian Association." In Public Archivesof Canada (hereafter referred to as PAC) Roy Graham Dunlop Papers,MG 30 D 349, Vol. 1, II 53-54, BC-1944-61. See also Carol Lee, "TheRoad to Enfranchisement: Chinese and Japanese in British Columbia,"BC Studies no. 30 (Summer 1976), pp. 44-76, see particularly pp.56-57.1001949. 9 With this success, one would expect the Chinese Veteransorganization to flourish as the first major "tusheng" society.Compared with the members of most contemporary Chineseorganizations, the Veterans were exceptionally young and fresh withesprit de corps, and their collective image commanded respect bothinside and outside the ethnic group. Surprisingly, Unit 280declined within a couple of years into a low profile social club onPender Street for a largely working class and small shopkeepermembership. ioA period of activism for the Chinese Veterans' organizationeventually came in the early 1960s. One interesting dimension ofthis revival was its association with the Canadian Liberal Party'seffort to regain its lost support in Chinatown. The leaders of theVeterans at that time, Dr. S. Won Leung and Harry Con, were bothwidely acknowledged as the architects behind the Liberals' reboundin Chinatown in the federal elections of 1962 and 1963. Locally,the Veterans' organization was visibly involved in the campaignleading to the election of J.R. Nicholson, and the effort wasrewarded with political patronage. For example, when Nicholsonvisited Vancouver as the incumbent Minister of Citizenship and9 See Carol Lee, "The Road to Enfranchisement." Also usefulis a brief article by Foon Sien Wong, "Past Achievements, FutureAspirations," in Chinatown News 3 January 1956.lo My discussion of the Chinese Veterans' organization, inthis and the following paragraphs, has benefitted greatly fromtalking to five of its members in some detail, and from observingits activities on various occasions between 1990 and 1993.101Immigration in April 1965, the Veterans was one of the threeChinese organizations arranged to present a brief."While the Chinese Veterans gained status and influence insidethe ethnic group through this and other outside connections withCanadian politicians and the larger society, they also made adirect attempt in the early sixties to elevate the pride of thelocal-born in relation to the immigrant Chinese. At the fourteenthanniversary of the Chinese Veterans' organization in 1961 -- itsfirst public celebration in years -- it released a lengthydeclaration in the Chinese press. As a self-compiled eulogy, thisdocument perhaps contributed most to the reinvention of what wemight call "the Chinese Veterans' myth."" The following extractserves to highlight some of the claims it made on the Chineseminority at large:Indeed, we Veterans are the "heroes of Canada," forwe have defended the country [in order to uphold its]democracy, liberty, and independence... As for is the only Chinese Veterans organization inthis country...The participation of huayi (local-born Chinese) inn Chinatown News 18 November 1965. For an synopsis of thebrief presented to Nicholson, see ibid. 3 April 1965. The other twobriefs were submitted by the CBA and the Chinese Canadian CitizensAssociation. The impact of Canadian electoral politics onVancouver's Chinatown will be assessed in Chapter Five.12 The word "myth" is not intended to deny the historicalcontributions of the Veterans to the improvement of the status ofthe Chinese in Canada. For the purpose of the present analysis, thestress is placed on how the story of the Veterans was retold amongthe Chinese.102World War II has won some trophies for our giaobao(overseas Chinese compatriots): We Chinese can now liveand work in peace and contentment in Canada; we can sendfor our remaining family members to come over [referringobviously to the repeal of the restrictive ImmigrationAct in 1947 and the subsequent liberalization in relevantlegislation]; we have new arrivals who can continue theenterprise launched by our predecessors; we can work atall levels of the government bureaucracy; we can join anypolitical parties; we have the franchise; and we canparticipate in electoral politics at different levels...By our military service in the Canadian forces during theSecond World War, we, local-born, have brought home thesetrophies to share with all Chinese. We are not braggingor self-gratifying. These are undeniable facts in theeyes of all Chinese. We surely remember that the aboveprivileges were beyond our reach before the War. 13In the late forties, the local-born Chinese consciously usedthe veteran status to advance a claim for full citizenship. Adecade later, the same symbol was recycled to gain cultural andpsychological advantages over the other Chinese. The ChineseVeterans now asserted themselves as the heroes of the Chineseminority who had ushered in all the historic changes in its favour.As later examples will show, the first generation "tusheng" oftenportrayed themselves as the key for the ethnic Chinese to enter amore hospitable Canada. This way of self-presentation was a mosttangible strand in their identity complex in the 1950s and 1960s.The symmetry between organizational vitality and ideologicalclaims was better sustained in the case of the Chinatown Lions13^Chinese Voice 10-11 May 1961.103Club, the second major Canadian-born Chinese organizationestablished in the post-war period. Chartered in January 1954, theLions Club was founded by the group of professionals andbusinessmen emerging from the first generation local-born Chinese.Among its 26 charter members were George D. Wong, a McGill graduateand the first Chinese manager in a Canadian bank, Andrew Lam, thefirst native-born Chinese pastor who commenced his ministry in thelocal Chinese Anglican Church in 1941, and several Canadian-bornChinese pioneers in the medical and dental professions. Also on theroster were Tim and Tong Louie from the H.Y. Louie family, whichoperated one of the largest wholesale grocery businesses in WesternCanada, and the Victoria-born brothers Charles and Bent Chan Kentof Aero Garment Limited. The group was joined by the first Chinesepharmacist in the city, another bank manager, a Chinese architect,a couple of lawyers, and some local-born businessmen, raising themembership of this elitist organization by 1970 to about fifty. 14Compared with the Chinese Veterans organization, the ChinatownLions Club brings to our attention other social and culturalchanges unfolding in the Chinese minority at that time. The Lionswere among the earliest beneficiaries of the breakdown ofdiscriminatory barriers against the social and economic mobility ofthe Chinese after 1945. An increasing number of "tusheng" of their14 Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club Thirtieth Anniversary1954-1984 (1984), pp. 11-17. Personal interviews with two of itscharter members have been most helpful in my reconstruction of theClub's early history in these pages.104generation began to get jobs outside the traditional ethnic economyin Chinatown and to join professions which had previously beeninaccessible. On top of their newly-acquired economic independenceand the accompanying rise in social status was the possibility ofsubstantial interaction with non-Chinese. Western organizationalstyles and their cultural paraphernalia became available. This wasthe case of the prestigious Lions international organization andits example of high-profile public service. (See Figure 3.1 showinga copy of the Club's "Charter Night Programme," which is full ofsymbolism.) Of course, the model of the Lions organization wascompatible with the Chinese ideas about public charities andleadership, and it readily became a cherished alternative for anup-and-coming first-generation Canadian-born Chinese elite.From its inception, the Chinatown Lions Club was indeed aprogressive, non-traditional, non-Chinese style organization thatprofessed to be "concept[ually]...totally different from some ofthe existing [Chinese] associations in the city [of Vancouver]." 15It followed completely the Lions' code of ethics and format oforganization. Non-Chinese were eligible for full membership andeven the club presidency, though an overwhelming majority of itsmembers were ethnic Chinese. Prestige in the international arena ofthe Lions associations was keenly sought, and in less than tenyears the Club had successfully campaigned to send its charter15 Chinatown News 18 July 1958. Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club, the introductory page.Vanconoet - CAinatown• ClubAMERICAMy moony. 'tis of thee.Sweet land of liberty,Of thee I sing.Land where or hdwrs died!Land of the Pilgrims' pride!From ey'ry mountain side.Let freedom ring.*0 CANADA0 Canada, our home, out native land,True patriot love in all thy sons commend,With glowing hearts we see thee rise,The True North, wrong and free,And stand on guard. 0 Canute,We stand on guard for thew0 Canada. glorious and free,We stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee,0 Canada. we stand on guard for thee.STAR SPANGLED BANNERO yod an you we hr the dawn's early light,What so proudly we boiled at the twilight's Ws gletuniog?Whose brood muses and bright son, thro the perdous fie*O'er the novena Yee wardid. ewe. so radiantly streaming?And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in or.Gem proof don' the night that our Bag was still there.Oh say, does that Stars ^Benner yet wiveow the lad of the f tee and the borne of the brave?GOD SAVE THE QUEENGod save our gracious Queen,Long live our noble Queen,God one the Qum,Send her victorious,IdaPPY and glorious,Long to reign over us,God save the Queen.CIIIIITERPROGRAMMEgtaay evening, janaaty 29,19546130 P.M.geotgia flotel &Aeons.VANCOUVER. B.C.SPONSOR . . . BURRARD LIONS CLUB OF VANCOUVERVancouver-Chinatown Lions ClubOFFICERSRewind^-^-^-^GEORGE D. WONGFirst Vice-President STANLEY MARSecond Vice-Preodent TONG LoomThird Vice-President Boo KENTSecretary^-^-^ ANDREW LA/ATreasurer LEE BocaDirector (owe term) -^FRED CHUDirector (owe term) WILLIAM LoaDirector (too terms)^ -^FRED YeeDirector (two terms)Lin Tamer^- Foca Corylotto LodToil Vwfth,^.^-^HARVEY LoweCHARTER MEMBERSLEE Root Mat^Haar K. LERRoomy CHANG HAROLD MING LOAGAN CHANG Joon LotGov HUGH CHAN^Vfn_coat LodTHEODORE CHANG LEE DocFoo CHEW^Tut LoomFaggrAlcn S. CHU^TONG LoonALZERT KOMI HARVEY LOVESur° Gocc^STANLEY G. MARJon RANSON Gonna D. WontCHAN BEN KENT^GEORGE Y. W. VouroCHARLES CHAN KENT^QUON HIPP WormANDREM LAM Fano B. YEEIN APPRECIATIONThis memorable amnion marks an impormot milestone in thehim, of the VISCOY•tf Chinese community in t he for the firm time,no °gnomon, is emended to the =embed of this community to ern.brace Lionisto. To he given rho privilege to work collectively for thetenement of the community in which we lira. we the members of theVancouver (Chinatown) bow Club wish to express our deep apprecia.non' for do spormodhip of our dub by the Vancouver Burrard LionsClub and for the invaluable anoan. rendered us be the organizingcomeninee of OW sponsors. We are wood to be • pet of LionsInvernanonal.To Fred Staid. of International, District Governor Joe Jailed,honored Harem, fellow Lions, their ladies and Guests, we emend •warm and bout, welcome.•ProgtamineCALL TO ORDER ^  Ted GaudyPrerinos, Barran Limo"AMERICA" end "0 CANADA"Invocation ^  /GP Andrew LouPoke, Chinon Lem OnIntroduction of Toastmaster ^ Teti GoodyPrantan Barran Ines ChitIntroductico of Head Table Duero ^Toastmaster Harry McGregorPau hennas &need Limo OnRoll Call of Clubs -^Toutmmter Harry McGregorInstallation of Officers  Lion Bill WinP^O lotanionewel DiodePRESENTATION OF CHARTERDistrict Governor, District I9-A, Joe I meinnom Andes Fannon)Acceptance of Charter ^ George D. WoosPresinws, Cainotturn LIMN GALAddress on Lionise, - - Fred W. Smith (Ventre, Cr: f.)Pan Protileet, huerookeel Ail. of U.., anitPresentation of Gift. ^  Perry MooreAlsieNde Enna GalanAcceptance of Gifts -^Piro Vite-Proilent, Chiweeotos Cob"STAR SPANGLED BANNER" Old "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN' .DANCING"Veal men to moo. in o'er, roll Swing be, foe d ins"—Owen105Figure 3.1A Copy of the Charter Night Programme of the Vancouver ChinatownLions Club, January 29, 1954Source:^Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club Thirtieth Anniversary1954-1984 (1984), p. 13.106president, George Wong, steadily through the hierarchy andeventually to the top position of the Lions internationaldirectorship. '6This cosmopolitan orientation of the Chinatown Lions Club hadnot drained away its Chineseness, as David Lee's archetypal local-born Chinese identity suggests. Like the Veterans organization,which claimed to have brought the ethnic Chinese a larger degree ofacceptance in Canada, the Lions Club seems to have consciouslypositioned itself as a bridge between the ethnic group and thelarger society. By its name, it chose to anchor its image on theethnic neighbourhood. In some of its public functions, it flirtedwith the idea of interpreting Chinese culture to a Canadianaudience, the most obvious case being its sponsorship, in 1958, ofthe first local performance of traditional Chinese opera inEnglish. The same strategy was underlined by the bulk of itscharitable undertakings within the Chinese minority, besides itscommitments outside. Its favourite charities were the Mount SaintJoseph Hospital and the Home for the Aged on Campbell Avenue wheremost of the patients were Chinese. The personal delivery ofChristmas hampers to the needy families in the Chinatown area wasanother popular event.'' Thus, in celebrating their own economicadvancement and progress in integrating into the mainstream society16^Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club, pp. 14-17, 49.17^Ibid., pp. 28-37 passim. Also Chinatown News 18 July1958, and 18 December 1960.107and culture, this group of "tusheng" also expressed sympathytowards the less fortunate members of their ethnic group, whom theymight have considered lagging behind on both counts.While both the Chinese Veterans and the Chinatown Lions werethe best known organizations of the first generation Canadian-bornChinese, lesser examples are not lacking. For instance, the ChineseGolf Club was set up as early as 1950 and many of its members laterjoined the Lions Club. 18 In 1965, a lodge of the Benevolent andProtective Order of Elks of Canada was formed by two dozen local-born Chinese in white collar professions such as insurance salesmenand real estate agents. Similar to the Lions but in a lessflamboyant fashion, the Chinese Elks engaged in mainstreamcharities and organized regular social events for its members. 19In the same period, some local-born Chinese climbed into leadershippositions in the ethnic churches, working closely with the Chinese-speaking pastors and missionary delegates from the Canadian homemission authorities. Besides personal faith, their Englisheducation, language skills, and profession-derived social influencewere plausible attributes of their new status. 2818^Chinatown News 3 September 1953, and 3 December 1965.n Ibid. 18 June, 3 July, 3 August, and 3 November 1965.Also Chinese Voice 27 January, and 17 June 1966.n The case of the Chinese United Church is shown in itsMinutes of the Official Board 1953-1967, and Annual Reports 1959-1967.108By the sixties, the above endeavours of the first generationCanadian-born Chinese at organizational activities had alreadyinvolved a few precocious members of the second generation"tusheng" who were born in the 1930s and 1940s. Nevertheless, thejunior local-born also embarked on ventures of their own, whichsuited their needs as teenagers and young adults in the post-wardecades.One interesting "tusheng" youth organization was the ChineseVarsity Club, or the CVC, on the campus of the University ofBritish Columbia. Today, the Club claims that it was establishedearly this century for Chinese students excluded from other studentbodies. In fact, Chinese students on campus were very few beforethe Second World War and only eleven of them had reportedlygraduated by the mid-thirties. 21 The growth of the CVC into anoticeable centre of native-born Chinese student activities cameactually in the 1950s. By 1958, the official number of Chinesestudents at U.B.C. had reached an impressive 230. No comparablefigure on a later period is available, but it is known that theCVC's membership increased from about fifty in 1955 to almost twohundred in the next ten years. 22 The CVC was able to organize in-house social events for its expanding constituency around the21 POW: Ubyssey Special Edition Vol. 75, no. 14 (27 October1992), p. 1. Wickberg, ed., From China to Canada, p. 95.22 The official figure appeared in a report in Chinese Voice 22 & 24 February 1958. On CVC's membership, see Chinatown News 18October 1955, and 18 November 1966.109academic year and even provide an orientation programme formatriculated Chinese students. Throughout the 1950s, this studentbody represented Chinese culture and identity to a universityaudience. nThe image of the Chinese Varsity Club as a "tusheng"organization was further solidified with the arrival of anincreasing number of Chinese immigrant and foreign students fromthe late fifties. A majority of the newcomers had a Hong Kongbackground, and the group was large enough to set up the ChineseOverseas Students' Association, or COSA, in 1960, with about onehundred members. 24 From all indications, the relationship betweenthe CVC and COSA was not cordial. For reasons of culturalcompatibility, the CVC appeared to co-sponsor extra-curricularactivities with the Japanese Nisei Varsity Club more than with theCOSA. The latter was known to have openly expressed its reservationabout the CVC's representation of Chinese culture. 25This unpleasant situation on campus mirrored a similardivision in the local Chinese minority, as the influx of newcomers23 Chinatown News 18 February, and 18 March 1954, 3 March1955, 18 January, 18 May, and 3 July 1961. Chinese Voice 23 March1954.24 Huaxin ji: Zhongquo Liu Jia Tongxuehui niankanchuangkanhao (The Chinese Overseas Students' Association Yearbook,the First Issue), (1962). The Chinese Voice reported the graduationof the first Chinese student of new immigrant background fromU.B.C. on 21 May 1957.25^Chinatown News 18 January and 18 May 1961. Huaxin ji, p.1 0.110resulted in a general awareness of the cultural distinctiveness ofthe local-born Chinese. Not only did the new arrivals reflectpoorly on the local-born's command of Chinese cultural skills.Inter-group tension between them was aggravated by communicationproblem and mutual prejudice. The details of this intra-muralconflict will be examined at a later point; suffice it to say herethat the local-born were never quite the same once new Chineseimmigrants began to arrive again in Vancouver after 1947.In Chinatown, some second generation "tusheng" were searchingappropriate venues to organize social, recreational, and sportingevents. They usually shrank away from the traditional organizationsbecause of the generational and cultural differences with theelderly Chinese, who were in control. The few youth-orientedfacilities these associations set up decades earlier to attract thelocal-born either remained dormant or were reactivated by the youngnew immigrants. Christian churches were comparatively moreagreeable to the youthful interests and western style of the juniorlocal-born Chinese. They were able to attract some of them to theteenagers' and young adults' fellowships and to the boy scout teamsorganized under their auspices. 26 In the late fifties and sixties,the Gibbs Boys' Club on Pender Street provided the most accessiblegymnasium in the Chinatown area. Its sports facilities were26 The case of the Chinese United Church is well-documentedin its annual reports, particularly the sections on youthactivities and Christian education. For the churches' sponsorshipof scout teams, see Chinatown News 18 October 1956, and 3 July1961.111therefore held at a high premium by both the local-born andimmigrant youth, though the two groups did not interact much on thesame premises. 27For the young "tusheng," the most popular recreationalfacilities by far were located at the Pender Y. This Chineseextension project of the Vancouver YWCA was first conceived in1938. With the support of the Chinese United Church, the YWCA wasable to open its Chinatown facilities in 1943 and moved into a newstructure on the northwestern corner of Pender and Dunlevy Streetsin 1952. Officially named the "International Y" in 1950, seventy-to-eighty per cent of its several hundred young patrons werenonetheless ethnic Chinese. Its workers organized numerous interestgroups and programmes for young people in different age brackets.Moreover, a few "tusheng" youth societies, such as the ChineseBowling Club and the Chinese Athletic Club, met there regularly.During the mid-1950s, these affiliated bodies mushroomed at such aspeed that the Pender Y decided to convene an inter-club council tofacilitate the co-ordination of their activities. 28In retrospect, the engagement of the two generations ofCanadian-born Chinese in institutional building was the surest signof their coming of age. No longer the appendage of an immigrantminority, they had come up with a sufficient number of people and27^Chinatown News 3 October 1956.28 Ibid. 3 September, 18 October 1953, 3 & 18 February, 18April 1954, and 18 November 1957.112the necessary economic resources to establish organizations oftheir own. Two points are worth remembering in our discussion thusfar. First, like the young new immigrants we have studied inChapter Two, the native-born Chinese generally aspired to bedifferent and independent from the circle of the old-styleChinatown associations. Second, through their organizations thefirst generation of the local-born was able to project ideologicalclaims and cultural agendas forcefully into the public arena."We, Canadians of Chinese Descent," A Local-born Chinese Voice Notwithstanding the analytical focus on organizations, notreatment of the Canadian-born Chinese in the post-war period willbe complete without mentioning the English language Chinatown News.Two earlier "tusheng" publications in Vancouver -- the Chinese News Weekly started in 1936 and The New Citizen in 1949 -- were bothshort-lived. 29 The Chinatown News was the first one (and still theonly one) that lasted. Run by its founding editor, Roy Mah,starting in September 1953, this Vancouver-based biweekly magazinequickly established a solid reputation for representing theinterests of the local-born English-speaking Chinese in Canada: 929 The Chinese News Weekly is mentioned in Paul Yee,Saltwater City, p. 83. I have not seen a single issue of thispublication so far. Only a few issues of The New Citizen areavailable in the CCRC, Box 21. This biweekly was relocated toToronto in 1951 and soon came to end thereafter.m See the editorials in the first few issues -- 3September, 3 October, and 18 October 1953 -- for an idea of itsself -perception. For some biographical information on Roy Mah, seeEvelyn Huang, Chinese Canadians: Voices from A Community113Obviously, not every native-born subscribed to its viewpoints; andthe editorial opinions may reflect mainly Mah's position as amember of the first generation. Nevertheless, the reports in thislocal, community-style newspaper furnished extensive details on thepublic lives of both the first and the second generations ofCanadian-born Chinese, seldom covered by the Chinese languagepress. They were instrumental in reclaiming an otherwiseimperceptible cultural space for the "tusheng" by weaving togethertheir disparate experiences and concerns into a single story. Inthis sense, the Chinatown News played a uniquely important role inthe construction of a local-born Chinese identity. 31From its beginning to the early 1960s, the editorial stance ofthe Chinatown News can be characterized as favouring assimilationand integration. 32 It advocated the fullest participation of the(Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1992), pp. 70-79.31 Regarding the importance of print-language on theimagination of cultural fields and boundaries, see the succinctcomments of Benedict Anderson in his classic, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London:Verso, revised edition, 1991), pp. 44-45.32 The failure of many Chinese to make a difference betweenthe two concepts was pointed out categorically by an observerassociated with the Royal Commission on Bilingualism andBiculturalism in 1965. "Report: Private Meeting with [a] Chinese-Canadian Group, Vancouver," in PAC, RG 33, Series 80, RoyalCommission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, Vol. 120, file 634E.Of course, this was before the time when a careful distinctionbetween the two terms was made by most Canadians, and not just theChinese residents in this country. As will be discussed in ChapterSix, from the mid-1960s onwards there was evidence of a clearerunderstanding among Chinese of the difference between the twoconcepts. Assimilation was taken to mean a total absorption intothe mainstream society and the subsequent disappearance of one'sethnic heritage. By contrast, integration was understood as114ethnic group, with the local-born Chinese as the vanguard, in allaspects of Canadian life. The following editorial that appeared inthe issue of June 18, 1954, is typical:Trouble with us as a minority group in the largerCanadian society is that we tend to restrict ourselvestoo much for our own good. We think because we areChinese we should isolate ourselves socially,occupationally and psychologically from the rest of thecommunity. True, in the past we have suffered terribly byrace prejudice, but time has changed and a new vista isdawning. The opportunity for Chinese to become anintegrated part of the community is now more visible thanever before. It is up to us to take every advantage ofit.A cursory examination reveals we have come a longway in the last couples of decades. Socially, we havetaken advantage of all opportunities to intermingle withthe society around us... Occupationally, this generationhas ventured from past practices of limited dealings withChinese only... Psychologically, we are undergoing ametamorphosis of losing our nationalistic feeling ofbeing Chinese. The ill wind of World War II blew instrongly to bring about this good effect...The foregoing does not mean we are denying there areno background differences with our Caucasian citizens, orthat the existence of these differences are necessarilyharmful. We are, however, advocating an attitude oflooking at ourselves as individuals similar to others inthis intermingled Canadian society.Committed to the promotion and celebration of Chineseparticipation in the mainstream society, the Chinatown News implying a full identification with the country of adoption butwithout the loss of one's native culture.115lavished attention on the achievements of Chinese individuals, mostof them local-born, in their various pursuits. The first Chineseemployee at the City Hall, for example, was made a cover story inlate 1953. News about Chinese entering the medical and legalprofessions, and later, occupying Canadian public offices werereported vigilantly. 33 The Chinatown News pointed with pride tosuch "tusheng" organizations as the Lions, the Elks, and theVeterans, arguing that they were the outcomes of "the attainmentof...personal status and material achievements." So successful werethe native-born Chinese that they could "afford to channel some oftheir efforts and energies [in]to the improvement of the largersociety beyond the confines of Chinatown... The mushrooming of a good sign. Let us see more Chinese names ontheir rosters." 34Within the Chinese minority, what made the Chinatown News thebest known -- and to some, the most disliked -- local-born Chinesepublication were its opinions on contentious issues. Examples inthe later discussion will show how it got involved in debates andcame to the defense of the "tusheng." In the meantime, two caseswill suffice to highlight some Canadian-born Chinese perspectiveson local controversies.The first concerned the threat of urban redevelopment whichn See Chinatown News 18 November 1953, 16 June 1954, 18August, and 3 October 1961.3 4^Ibid. 3 August 1971.116was engulfing the Chinatown neighbourhood from the late 1950s. Manylocal residents and Chinatown organizations were apprehensive offinancial loss, dislocation, and a dismantling of their ethnic"community.' 35 To their dismay, the Chinatown News gave the cityplanners its singular support. In its many editorials on thesubject, published over the span of several years, the ChinatownNews consistently portrayed the situation as "a choice betweenprogress and temporary inconvenience." This once "self-contained"ethnic enclave had already fulfilled its historical functionsduring the days of exclusion and overt discrimination. Its presentvalue was mainly that of a "tourist attraction." Moreover, as thevoluntary dispersal of Chinese population from Chinatown and fromVancouver to the outlying residential areas had already begun, thelatest move by the government merely provided impetus to an"inevitable" assimilation/integration process. 36The other example concerned the diplomatic recognition of thePeople's Republic of China by the Canadian government, which tookplace in October 1970 after a prolonged period of negotiation. 37m The resistance movements at successive stages and theirlarger ramifications on Chinese organizations and leadership willbe analyzed in Chapter Five.36 The quoted phrases are taken from the editorials in theChinatown News of 3 May 1958 and 18 April 1962. Other relevanteditorials appeared in the issues of 18 April, 3 December 1959, 3October 1960, 18 August 1961, 3 & 18 April, and 18 May 1964.37 The most recent scholarship on this subject can be foundin the collection of articles in Paul Evans and Michael Froliceds., Reluctant Adversaries: Canada and the People's Republic of China, 1949-1970 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991).117In stark contrast with the Chinese language press, the minimalreportage of the Chinatown News on Chinese politics and relatedfactional rivalries in Vancouver Chinatown was characterized by atone of indifference. With unexceptional detachment, the ChinatownNews rationalized Ottawa's rapprochement with Beijing as anexpedient in line with Canada's interests and global stability, andexpressed implicitly its approval. More impressive, however, wasthe way it underlined the response, or lack of it, of the local-born Chinese. In its first editorial on the subject, which appearedin late 1966, the Chinatown News argued that the Canadian-bornChinesehave become too well integrated and too accustomed to theCanadian way of life to find attraction in any foreignideology or totalitarian form of government. Unlike theolder generation ...[they] have manifested littleinterest in the political fortunes of governments outsideof Canada, save as an academic interest. They are more athome with Canadian political parties -- Liberal,Conservative, New Democratic Party and Social Credit. 38Two years later, commenting on a protest by the pro-Kuomintangpeople against Canada's recognition of Communist China, theChinatown News again contrasted that reaction with the apparentdisinterest of the local-born, whom it described as "more attunedto Canadian outlook and thinking." "In any event," as its editor38^Chinatown News 3 December 1966.118went on to assure his readers, "recognition will have little effect[on the native-born Chinese], for when it comes to clarifying ourstand, we are proud that we are Canadian citizens of Chineseancestry. Our very background makes us appreciate more fully thewonderful advantages of this nation. We believe in herinstitutions, ideals, and [the] traditions and glory in herheritage." 39 This kind of image-projection by the Chinatown News contributed to the emergence of the local-born as a self-consciousand autonomous component of Vancouver's Chinese minority in thepost-war period.Of course, the reconstruction of the Canadian-born Chineseidentity did not take place in an historical vacuum. The processevolved in full view of the older settlers and the new immigrants,and also through interaction with their respective culturalassumptions and agendas. It is to this piece of uncharted territoryin intra-ethnic group relations that we now proceed.Cultural Offense and Defense As mentioned, the immigrant Chinese reacted negatively to thecultural trajectory of the local-born. The details of theircriticisms need to be spelt out. Also embedded are larger questionsabout the relationship between the "tusheng" and the other twosectors of the local Chinese population. Let us address theseissues by first making a few observations on the attitudes of the39^Ibid. 18 August 1968.119local-born Chinese.It is necessary to remember that the domestic measures atcultural maintenance and the inaccessibility of social life andcareer choice outside the ethnic group were a general conditionduring the childhood and the adolescence of the first generation"tusheng" before the 1940s. These factors also influenced the waythese local-born, as adults in the post-war period, related to theolder immigrants and to the community life and social organizationsthe latter were so accustomed to define. On the one hand, they weresearching for autonomy, as manifested in their endeavour todelineate a distinctive sphereother, even though they wereculturally and socially from theof organizational life. On thetrying to distance themselvesolder generation, their approachwas marked by discernible empathy. 40The reasons for this last point are two-fold. First, despitethe differences in age, outlook, and values, the emotional andhistorical distance separating the first generation "tusheng" fromthe older settlers was relatively small. Many of them grew up inthe Chinatown neighbourhood with some understanding of its culturalnorms and social practices, a familiarity with the traditionalorganizations, and a degree of facility in spoken Chinese. Moreimportantly, they could identify their personal encounter withracial discrimination in the earlier period with the experience and40 I am not aware of any single piece of public criticism ofthe older Chinese settlers by the local-born remotely comparable tothe scathing remarks of the new immigrants examined in Chapter Two.120endurance of their parents' generation, which they had observedfirst-hand. As a result, these native-born Chinese were more likelythan either the new immigrants or the junior "tusheng" to empathizewith the elderly generation.Second, unlike the situation of the young newcomers who werelocked in conflict with the existing settlers over the samecultural and social space within the ethnic group, the Canadian-born Chinese generally looked beyond the ethnic boundary foreconomic and symbolic resources to nurture their sense of identityand autonomy. They thus presented themselves not as critics but ascultural brokers or mediators who could bring the Chinese minorityever closer to mainstream Canada. A few well-known individuals froma first generation Canadian-born background were a case in point.With bilingual facility, a relatively broad cultural orientation,and personal leadership skills, they emerged in some majortraditional organizations as their leaders and spokesmen to theoutside world. 41While it may be difficult to gauge the self-perceptions andmotivations of these individuals, it is easier to provide concreteTo name just a few, active in the Wong's organizationswere Quon H. Wong, a graduate of U.B.C., and Foon Sien Wong. FoonSien, as the latter was commonly called, came to Canada to join hisfather at the age nine around 1910. At the end of the Second WorldWar, he was about to become the leading executive of the ChineseBenevolent Association. Another example that appeared slightlylater in the Chinese Freemasons was Harry Con. We will encountersome of these personalities in other parts of this study.41121examples at the organizational level. Both the claims of theChinese Veterans and the ideological self-positioning of theChinatown Lions discussed earlier can be construed as culturaloffensives of the Canadian-born Chinese to gain advantages over theimmigrants. The following example of the Chinese Merchants'Association represents a variety of the same approach.Similar to their counterparts in urban China and in otherChinese settlements overseas, Chinese merchants in Vancouver hadformed commercial associations since the turn of the century. As acollective action to deal with the unsympathetic municipalofficials or the customs authorities, these organizations tended tobe reactions against specific grievances over business practices orimport restrictions and were usually short-lived. The one thatsurvived into the early post-war years was the Chinese Merchants'Association, first founded in 1929. Needless to say, onlyestablished Chinatown merchants, mostly of immigrant background,were represented. 42In August 1957, several local-born members who had beennominally involved in the Association up to that point suddenlyagitated for reform. They suggested a revamping of the organization42 The early commercial organizations formed by theVancouver Chinese are briefly discussed in Wickberg ed., From China to Canada p. 114 and footnote 35 on p. 117. On the CMA, see itssubmission to the Chinese consular officials in 1936, including amembership registry. In PAC Chinese Consular Records, MG 10 C2,Vol. 4, file 5. In the post-war period, the Chinese language presshad occasional reports on its functions. For example, Chinese Times 7 & 12 August 1948, 25 August 1952, Chinese Voice 22 February, 14May, 24 June, 22 July 1954, and 13 August 1955.122to include not only merchants in the traditional lines of import-and-export businesses, but traders, businessmen, and professionalsengaged in all kinds of commercial pursuits. In this way, it wasargued, they could institute "yige xinxing shangren jiguan" (abusinessmen's organization of a new kind) to encompass the broadestspectrum of Chinese economic interests. 43 Apparently, the idea waswell-received and a committee of 25 proceeded immediately to workon a reform. In June 1958, the organization was renamed theVancouver Chinese Association of Commerce (VCAC) to reflect theenlarged membership, though the Chinese version "ZhonghuaZongshanghui" remained unchanged. Other reform measures includedthe adoption of a revised constitution, the opening of a newclubhouse on Pender Street, and most interesting of all, theelection of an executive which was dominated by a large majority ofCanadian-born Chinese from the Chinatown Lions Club. 44This was literally a takeover of an existing organization ofthe older immigrants by the first generation native-born. Hence itis amazing that the events occurred with almost no detectabletension at all. Since the Chinese Merchants' Association had beenin effect dormant, perhaps the incumbents considered it not worthyof putting up a fight. An equally plausible explanation seems tolie in the approach of the reform agitators. The Chinatown News 43^Chinese Voice 3 August and 14 September 1957.44 Chinese Voice 7, 11, 19, & 25 February, 1 & 10 March, 14-16 April, 7 & 30 June 1958. The Chinese version of the newconstitution also appeared in ibid. 12-18 March 1958.123called the reorganization "epoch-making...[because] the appearanceof this new group...means that the vision of a more progressive,enlightened and prosperous Chinatown has been translated into areality, and in every businessman's heart there breathes newhope."" Again, it cast the local-born Chinese as the harbingersof progress and prosperity for the larger ethnic entity. Thislanguage of common advancement and public good would have made thereformers' propositions palatable. Moreover, the coup de grace wasdelivered peacefully and the old leadership was never openlycriticized. In fact, some previous leaders continued to serve onthe executive by occupying minor or honourary positions. Takingthis arrangement at its face value, the Chinese Voice praised theeffort at "ji xianjin qiaoshang yu qingnian qiaoshang yu yitong"(bringing pioneering merchants and young businessmen together) asthe most remarkable feature of this reform."In the following years, the new Association became anothercentre of public activity of the senior native-born Chinese until,in the early 1960s, it lost momentum and succumbed to the fate ofits predecessors. The brief revival is worth-mentioning, however,because it represented an outburst of energy and new ideas. Aslocal overseer of Chinese business interests, the Associationinterceded frequently with the government authorities. Within theethnic group, it was once accused by the Chinese Benevolent45^Chinatown News 3 July 1958.46^Chinese Voice 22 March 1958.124Association of defiance because it raised a separate fund for thefire victims of the Nanaimo Chinatown. ° But this organization wasbest remembered for the novelty of its social activities. Inspiredby the example of its counterpart in the San Francisco Chinatown,in 1959 it re-introduced the grand celebration of Chinese New Year.A year later, it sponsored an unprecedented "Miss VancouverChinatown" competition in which the contestants were not evaluatedaccording to the amount of tickets they could sell, as in the caseof fund-raising projects, but on the basis of their talent andbeauty. Attracting many non-Chinese, these functions were viewed bythe organizers as a way to enhance the allure of Chinatown and topresent the festivity and elegance of Chinese culture to a largerCanadian audience."The foregoing example indicates the growing influence of thenative-born Chinese in the post-war years. They managed to displacethe position of the older settlers in an existing organization. Atthe same time, this case shows the relative magnanimity of theirapproach and their self-designed role as the instrument forbringing more acceptance of the ethnic group by mainstreamCanadians.The reaction of the elderly immigrants to the propositions of0 Chinatown News 3 February 1961. Chinese Voice 3 & 6October 1960.48 Chinese Voice 22 January, 11-14 February, 9 December1959, 6 February 1960. Chinatown News 18 February 1960.125the local-born Chinese was rather mixed. The "tusheng"organizations were often castigated as too "xi hua" (westernized);and they remained excluded from any representation in the CBA,despite some agitation in the early 1960s to get them admitted. 49The majority of elderly settlers seem to have resigned themselvesto the degeneration of Chinese cultural skills and the loss ofChinese national sentiments increasingly evident among the youngerlocal-born. On occasion they heaped scorn on the allegeddeculturation of the "tusheng."Such was the case during the controversy over theredevelopment of Chinatown. At one public hearing, a spokesman ofthe Chinese opposition satirized the "tusheng" as typical "Hanjian" (traitors among the Han people) in Chinese history by quotingfrom a poem attributed to Lu You (1125-1210), a Southern Song poetnoted for his patriotism:Hanren xue de Wuren yu, yao xiang chengtao ma Hanren.(After these Han Chinese learnt the language of thebarbarians, they turned around toward the Han people onthe top of the city wall and scolded them [in theirbarbarian tongue])•"49 For example, the new commercial organization was taken totask for being too westernized on at least two occasions during itsbrief history. Chinese Voice 22 March and 4 July 1958. See mydiscussion of the proposed reform of the CBA in Chapter Four.50 Chinese Voice 2-3 November 1960. The poem, however,cannot be located in the following major compilations of Lu You'sworks: Zhu Tongrun comp., Lu You xuan ji (A Selection of Lu You'sWorks) (Beijing: Zhonggua, 1962); and You Guo'en and Li Yi comps.,Lu You shi xuan (A Selection of Lu You's Poems) (Beijing: RenminWenxue, 1982).126The local-born Chinese were denigrated as having been corrupted bywestern culture and having lost whatever interest they had had inthe well-being of their ethnic group.These criticisms aside, one must not lose sight of someambivalence in the attitudes of the elderly Chinese. For one thing,few of them could question the desirability of winning moreacceptance and respect for the ethnic group in the host country,despite their resentment against the local-born's assertion as thelinchpin. For another, it is not difficult to detect among theolder generation a certain pleasure and pride in seeing theirchildren achieving competence and success hitherto unknown amongthe ethnic Chinese in Canadian society. Scholarship awards madeavailable with much publicity by the traditional associations tothe children of their members attending or graduating fromuniversity immediately come to mind. 51 In other words, the meritsof acculturation -- that is, the acquisition of local values andcultural skills -- were undeniable, and the headway made by the"tusheng" in this respect was appreciated.The native-born's relationship with the new immigrants was farmore problematic. From the very beginning, the two groups were less51 From various sources, it seems that this practice wasfirst started in the early 1960s and became common in the followingdecade. For example, see Lim Xihe Zongtong Qiumu Gongsuo hebinqlinxi jinian tekan (A Special Issue of the Lim Sai Ho TongHeadquarters/Kow Mock Kung So Amalgamation Golden Anniversary)(1980), Chronology section, p. 14127accommodating to the differences of one another. Some local-borntook the newcomers as an embarrassment, as if their arrival wouldsomehow turn back the clock of acculturation and their acceptanceby Canadian society. In return, the immigrant youth harped on whatthey considered the cultural deficiency and pretensions of theCanadian-born Chinese. The result, inevitably, was a series of openconflicts and disputes.In January 1954 a fight broke out between two parties oflocal-born and new immigrant youth in Chinatown and broughtconsiderable public attention to such a problem for the first time.Reportedly, this took place after some snowball throwing andexchanges of verbal insults. The local police intervened and madea number of arrests. In a number of ways, the response of theChinese was very revealing. First, most observers felt indignant,not because the incident had taken them by surprise, but because adomestic conflict had been so disgracefully exposed. In the samevein, an article in the Chinatown News warned that this "uncalledfor action on the part of the youths [had] afforded anti-Chineseelements an opportunity to stir up ideological dissension[referring perhaps to the suspicion that all the newcomers wereCommunist sympathizers] and intense feelings against theChinese." 52 The CBA called an emergency meeting of the districtorganizations and issued an appeal for restraint. Specifically, iturged the Chinese press to sway public opinion in the same52^3 February 1954.128direction and the relevant associations to discipline theirmembers. 53There is no evidence regarding any follow-up action taken bythe organizations, but as far as the editorial stances of the pressare concerned, battle lines were quickly drawn. In their appealsfor reconciliation, the two local Chinese language newspapers couldhardly veil their sympathy for the new immigrants and thus laid theblame entirely on the native-born Chinese. One of the editorials inthe Chinese Voice, for instance, contrasted the acculturation ofthe "tusheng" pejoratively with the so-called "chuncui de zuguofeng" (pure ancestral country style) of the immigrant youth. Thelocal-born Chinese were advised to discard their pride andprejudice. "They could also become the future masters of theoverseas Chinese community," as the editorial concluded, "if theyapply their English language skill to improve the lot of theChinese in Canada...and learn more about their native country fromthe immigrant Chinese." 54 (emphasis added) The local-born wereagain placed on the periphery of a community defined by and for theimmigrant Chinese.In coming to the defense of the Canadian-born Chinese, theChinatown News furnished a seemingly objective and balancedassessment of the incident, as follows:53^Chinese Voice 25 January 1954.54 Chinese Voice 26 January 1954. See ibid. 6 February 1954for a letter by "Cao Xingren" and also the reports in the ChineseTimes in this period.129[T]he recent fracas in Chinatown between a group ofnewcomers and some [local-born] teenagers...resulted inthe arrest of seven youths charged with being inpossession of offensive weapons... Ostensibly, theincident was touched off by a snowball fight. We believe,however, that there are deeper underlying causes behindit all. At the basis of the conflict is a wide culturalgap between the two groups whose upbringing, habits andcustoms are totally different from the establishedpractice of one another...[The local-born Chinese] sometimes forget that forthe newcomers from the old country, there is thetremendous problem of adjustment -- both cultural andpsychological -- which must be met. To be successful, itwill require all the sympathy and understanding that we[Canadian-born] can show them. In a word, what thenewcomers seek from us is help, not hindrance;encouragement, not ridicule; and tolerance, notprejudice.On the other hand, the sooner the newcomers abandontheir silly notions that because of their Chineseeducation they are culturally superior to their [local-born] brothers, the better it will be for all. After all,it will be only a matter of time before our immigrantfriends too will be undergoing the same process ofacculturation as [the Canadian-born] have already gonethrough, which means the acquiring of the culturalpattern of the land of their adoption. 55By attributing the event to cultural differences, mutualdislike and antagonism, the Chinatown News held both sidesresponsible for causing the fight. The local-born youth should nothave looked down on the newcomers because of the latter'sineptitude in a new cultural environment, it suggested; nor should55^3 February 1954.130the immigrants have ridiculed the "tusheng" for their poor commandof Chinese cultural skills. However, this "even-handed" appraisalwas encapsulated in a larger argument about the future of theethnic group. The fundamental issue presented here was one ofcultural adjustment on the part of the new immigrants. Sinceacculturation was inevitable and desirable for the Chinese, thecultural arrogance of the newcomers and their self-assuredChineseness were baseless. For their own good, they should haveembarked on the process of local adaptation readily, and in thatcase, the local-born Chinese would have been in a better positionto offer their sympathy, assistance, and support. The Chinatown News was indeed steadfast in upholding the native-born's culturalagenda.Thereafter, no further affray was reported, though the chasmbetween the two groups remained as a fixture in the rest of thepost-war period. At least it was considered to be so in the Chinesepress. 56 Occasionally, the latent tension erupted in openaltercations. From the cases that are known, the immigrant youthappeared almost like a group of cultural vigilantes jumping on thelocal-born about various aspects of their deculturation.Considering their inflated cultural pride and their relentlesscriticism of the older immigrants in Vancouver, their affront tothe "tusheng" was perhaps the other side of the same coin.56 See, for examples, various articles in Chinese Voice 30April - 1 May 1954, and 1 September 1956; Chinatown News 3 April1968.131Bearing the brunt of these attacks were the younger secondgeneration Canadian-born Chinese, in part because they were thecontemporaries of the young newcomers. Moreover, their progressiveloss of Chinese cultural skills, or interest in things Chinese, hadrendered them more vulnerable to such disparagement than the firstgeneration native-born.In the immigrant youth's criticism of the "culturalmediocrity" of the Vancouver Chinese, the native-born's languagepreference was a popular target. Given the fact that facility inthe English language can be both an economic asset and a statussymbol for minorities in Canadian society, the local-born's commandof English and, by contrast, the newcomers' own deficiency were asource of inter-group hostility and, for some immigrants, personalanxiety. The newcomers resented the Canadian-born's use of Englishin their dialogue with ethnic Chinese as showing-off. As a youngChinese essayist put it bluntly, "It should be clear that we arelearning English in order to deal with westerners. We are notsupposed to use it among fellow Chinese. If we all do that, will itnot mean the end of overseas Chinese culture in this place?" 57 Thisinstrumental view of English amounted to a repudiation of the rightof the "tusheng" to use what, after all, was their native language.In addition, the new immigrants mocked the local-born's lossof facility in the Chinese language as a sign of theirdeculturation. The following excerpt, taken from an essay entitled57^Chinese Voice 17 November 1956,132"Zhongguoren yu zhongwen" (Chinese people and Chinese language) inthe Chinese Voice on October 20, 1956, is an example of theircriticism of the "tusheng" on this issue:Many overseas Chinese youths have totally neglectedtheir Chinese language. They have failed to promoteChinese culture in our [Chinese] society...and presentthe wonderful heritage of our native country to thewestern people. Instead...they deride Chinese language asarchaic and praise English as the most valuable languagein the world. This situation is indeed lamentable.Most Chinese youth who came from China have hadtheir Chinese education up to the primary level. Theyknow enough of the language and are not illiterateChinese. This is not true for the local-born. I canassure you that a large majority of them are notinterested in Chinese at all. They think that they havethe same status as the local people since they grew uphere. So they disregard Chinese and learn only English.Even though their parents force them to attend Chineselanguage school, they take the opportunity lightly withno serious intention of learning Chinese. Some of themhave been studying for four or five years but still donot know how to write their name in Chinese. Howmiserable they are!For Chinese people, not knowing any English at allis unimportant. They should not be expected to beotherwise. But for Chinese people to be ignorant ofChinese language is simply ridiculous. They are notqualified to be called Chinese.At the end, the author proposed a number of ways -- attendingChinese language schools, reading Chinese newspapers, watchingChinese movies, and so on -- for the local-born to redeem133themselves."The different view of the Canadian-born Chinese on thisquestion can be gleaned from their writings over the years in theChinatown News. Two editorials, published in 1957 and 1966,advocated explicitly and consistently that the local-born shouldlearn Chinese, but only as "an extra" and "a foreign" language."The latter editorial further furnished some specific reasons forre-acquiring facility in the Chinese language:Without a knowledge of the Chinese language we tend toloose [sic] all consciousness of things Chinese. Theability to speak [Chinese] makes us conversant withanother culture, besides the one in which we have beenshaped in a Canadian setting. Our appearance and physicalcharacteristics periodically expose us to [act as] therepresentatives of the mother [i.e. Chinese] culture.There is so much interest in Chinese things -- art,fashion and food, to name a few -- that to know thelanguage is to acquire a priceless gem.The editor was right when he referred to the emerging interestabout China in the western countries. More importantly, theutterance reflected a growing belief in the value of Canadianpluralism and a better idea of the merits of integration (as58 The author was "Ma Bing." The immigrant youth dwelled onthis issue of Chinese language facility and the related notions ofcultural dignity and ethnic loyalty in numerous articles. Seeanother example by Xie Shaoyun, "Huatong he zhongwen" (Chinesechildren and Chinese language), Chinese Voice 21 April 1959.Similar essays can also be found in the Da Zhonq Bao.59^3 October 1957 and 3 April 1966.134opposed to assimilation), which began to attract intense discussionin the larger society from the mid-1960s.The number of local-born Chinese taking this piece of adviceis not known. We do know, however, that the younger native-borntended to be uncompromising and resolute in refuting the accusationof language loss and deculturation. For instance, one local-bornyouth, writing in 1964, claimed that "Our elders fear we arelosing our heritage -- but what they fail to realize is that ourheritage is North America[n], no matter how much we or they deploreit, no matter how much they try to deny it." 60 Two years later,a Canadian-born Chinese high school teacher observed that thelocal-born were doing much better in the post-war period than theirforefathers. Several questions then arose: "Why should theyjeopardize themselves by bringing up the past? What is this Chineseculture? Should they have a part in 'it'? Since they can get alongwell without speaking a word of Chinese, surely it is not at allnecessary for them to learn Chinese. ,, 61 Compared with the firstgeneration, the junior local-born were more emphatic in affirmingtheir cultural differences from the immigrant Chinese.This point also came up during a brief and rather amusingexchange in the correspondence column of the Chinatown News. Theargument was triggered by the question: Could "tusheng" girls begood wives? The background of this was the extreme imbalance in sex60^18 March 1964.61^18 March 1966.135ratio among the incoming youth in the early stage of renewedChinese immigration after 1947. Many male newcomers who soonreached their marriageable age found a dearth of suitable partners.By the mid-fifties there were reports of young Chinese going backto Hong Kong to seek spouses. 62 In April 1956 the problem arousedeven the sympathy of the Canadian government, which made a specialprovision to allow Chinese to send for their fiancees. Two monthsbefore this announcement was made, a young Chinese, apparentlypuzzled by the popularity of costly "wife hunting expedition,"posed these questions to fellow readers of the magazine: "Why can'tthe Canadian[-born Chinese] girls capture these ambitious youngmen's hearts? Is there a shortage of girls? Or are there otherreasons?" 63In the following issue, a frank reply was given by a newimmigrant youth who seems to have decided on using the occasion notso much to reason as to vent his anger and disappointment:So far as I know, most of the Chinese girls who wereborn in Canada lack these requirements [of an idealwife], and all these girls know is how to enjoythemselves and how to spend money and how to make uptheir faces as beautiful as white girls. They want ahusband who must have a car, a house, or some otherthings representative of money. How can a young manafford these?... These young men are on their thousand62^Chinese Voice 3 November 1956, 25-29 May and 10 June1957.63^Chinatown News 3 February 1956.136miles' 'wife hunting expedition' because they know thatsome maidens in Hong Kong at least have the requirements,may be not all of these but more than the [native-born]girls...I do not want to displease these girls, but the factis that there are many, many Chinese girls born in Canadawho ignore...their Chinese parentage...[and are]prejudiced against their own kind."The author of this letter was promptly reprimanded by othersfor his bigotry and bitter judgement on the Canadian-born Chinese.One of the rebuttals was furnished by a local-born girl fromLethbridge, Alberta:Kindly allow me a couple of inches of your preciousspace to reply to Gerry Fong's highly amusing commentsre. Canadian[-born Chinese] girls. Said he: "All thesegirls know is how to enjoy themselves, how to spend moneyand how to make up their faces as beautiful as whitegirls..." Come to think of it, Mr. Fong, if you don'tfind life glorious and yummy, I suggest you go and finda warm lake and do some acrobatics.And where are you going? Wherever it may be, thismuch is certain: even if you have money to burn, youstill can't take it with you! So why be a tightwad?Your efforts sounded like the grumblings of aprejudiced mind when you insinuated that Chinese girlsmust use artificial makeup to be beautiful. Don't yourealize that makeup is considered a necessity today, andnot a vanity?Certainly we want something representative of moneyin a man. Security should be taken into consideration.Love and understanding can grow with the years.How can a man afford a home and a car? Why, anyyoung man with half an ounce of ambition can acquire64^Ibid. 18 February 1956.137these.I have yet to meet a Canadian-born who is not proudof her heritage. And you, who harbors [sic] suchthoughts, are the one who should disqualify yourself asjudge and jury...Having been born and educated in Canada we naturallyare a little more fussy when we come to pick our lifetimepartner. Whereas many of our distant sisters [in HongKong] look at Canada through rose-colored glasses --using marriage as a convenient vehicle to come to Canada.And I am sure many many must have dearly regretted theirquick marriage to some of you dashing, albeitfeelingless, wife hunters. 65 (emphasis added)The right of the Canadian-born Chinese to be culturally differentfrom the immigrants and not to be judged accordingly by others wasfiercely defended.Interestingly, the junior local-born were less aggressive indefending their right to represent Chinese culture. Perhaps thiswas their Achilles heel. More likely, it was because the claim tostand for Chinese culture had become a less important strand in theevolving local-born Chinese identity. One would no doubt have thisimpression on a revisit to the U.B.C. campus in the 1960s. As werecall, the Chinese Varsity Club of the local-born was the studentorganization that had represented Chinese identity and culturethroughout the 1950s. This role was much resented and successfullycontested by the Chinese Overseas Students' Association, made up ofstudents originating mainly from Hong Kong. An important episode in65^Ibid. 18 March 1956.138the conflict between these two societies was the argument over "TheQuestion of the Rickshaw," which broke out in February 1964.As part of the celebration of the Chinese New Year on campus,the CVC performed a lion dance and exhibited a rickshaw. Thelatter, in fact, was a rather common exhibit, presented onoccasions of Chinese festivity as an artifact with an orientalflavour that was exotic and appealing to non-Chinese eyes. The COSAhad voiced its objection before, but this time, it launched apublicity campaign in the Chinese Voice to denounce the event as"youru guoti" (a national/cultural disgrace). In an open letter ittook pain to point out that rickshaw had been an American inventionin Meiji Japan. Once transplanted to China and various colonialcities in Southeast Asia, the vehicle had become an unmistakablesymbol of the West's subjugation of Chinese people. To re-enact thescene was therefore a self-humiliation. The undertaking of the CVCwas ridiculed as "tixiao jiefei" (laughable) and the superficialityof the native-born's grasp of Chinese culture, it argued, wasevident."In a rejoinder submitted to the Chinese Voice the followingweek, the CVC reiterated its belief in the popularity and successof the event. 67 Unfortunately, this explanation just provided moreammunition for its critics who jumped on the CVC for being brazenand self-degrading, and for distorting and short-changing Chinese66^Chinese Voice 15 and 18 February 1964.67^Ibid. 22 February 1964.139culture for the satisfaction and curiosity of non-Chinese. Reprintsof letters criticizing the CVC ran for more than a week in theChinese Voice." No further defense was presented by the CVC, evenwhen the COSA published a critique in the Chinatown News." In theend, the COSA scored a victory in publicity. The CVC was silencedand the COSA emerged for the time being as the more dominant voiceon campus regarding issues of Chinese identity and culture. But thelocal-born were to make a come back in the 1970s as will be shownin Chapter Six.In retrospect, it is important to situate the process ofidentity construction of the native-born Chinese in the context oftheir relationship with the other Chinese. The increasing numberand the maturing age of the local-born can be likened to a goodsupply of qualified actors or actresses. The cultural autonomy andeconomic independence of the native-born were perhaps the scriptswhich empowered these actors and informed their play. In the arenaof intramural debate on issues of Chineseness and community, theCanadian-born Chinese acted out their cultural identity.Compared with the Chinese immigrants, the most encompassingfeature in the identity of the "tusheng" was their overall culturalorientation towards the host society. The more tangible markersincluded their prevailing use of English language and the locally-68^Ibid. 25 February - 3 March 1964.69^Chinatown News 3 March 1964.140derived formats of voluntary organizations. Among the ethnicChinese in Vancouver, they shared the strongest sense of theembeddedness of their community in the larger Canadian society.This informed their vision of progressive acculturation of theChinese and the future integration of their ethnic group intomainstream Canada. All these contrasted sharply with the culturalagendas of the new immigrant youth, who redefined Chinese identityby means of cultural regeneration and community revitalization.In conclusion, the acculturation of the native-born did notnecessarily lead to the obliteration of their Chineseness. Theiracquisition of local culture has often been construed by theimmigrant Chinese and scholars as evidence of their tendencytowards assimilation. As this chapter clearly proves, Canadian-bornChinese were able to articulate a viable cultural position in theethnic discourse on Chinese identity and community. Their divergentcultural trajectory from the other Chinese actually enlivened andintensified the debate.141Chapter Four: Ritual, Finance, and the Resilienceof Traditional Organizations in the Post-war EraThe traditional Chinatown organizations such as the ChineseBenevolent Association, the Chinese Freemasons, the Kuomintang, andthe numerous district and surname associations entered the post-waryears representing the established order. In the earlier period,they had constituted a major effort by the immigrant Chinese togive meanings and substance to their "community" by defining anddefending it in the larger context of a hostile, racist Canadiansociety. They had been instrumental in grooming a Chinese elite,articulating collective interests, and in the process, nurturingand solidifying a shared ethnic identity.However, their prominent position within the ethnic groupbecame increasingly untenable as the post-war period wore on. Thecultural norms and social practices associated with the old-styleassociations were much criticized by the new immigrants and wererejected by the local-born Chinese. We have already examined thedifferent emphases of these two groups in the construction ofChinese identity and in their visions of community. In this sense,the traditional organizations were victims of growing "pluralism"within the ethnic group. 1So many studies on North American Chinatowns have seemingly1 Paul Wong, et al., "From Despotism to Pluralism: TheEvolution of Voluntary Organizations in Chinese AmericanCommunities," Ethnic Groups Vol. 8 (1990), pp. 215-33, p.223.142confirmed the demise of traditional associations in the post-waryears that their decline may no longer be a moot point. GunterBaureiss, for instance, has argued from a theoretical position thatsince these ethnic institutions were predicated on the racistrejection which had induced the Chinese to put up a common defense,their utility and relevance to the Chinese presumably would haveexpired with perceptible improvement in racial relationships andthe end of overt discrimination. 2Graham Johnson has offered another plausible historicalexplanation, surmising that "Political events in China in late1949...were to change the nature of Chinese-Canadian involvementwith the homeland and disrupt the activities of the clan andlocality associations, and thus hasten their decline... Cut offfrom the homeland, the long-run consequence for the district andclan associations would be, with few exceptions, a decline in theirvitality." In other words, since these organizations had been sopreoccupied with China and the native areas, the loss of the homefront after 1949 simply drained away most of their raison d'etre. 22 "Ethnic Resilience and Discrimination: Two ChineseCommunities in Canada," The Journal of Ethnic Studies Vol. 10, no.1 (1982), pp. 69-87. For a similar argument by a leading ChineseAmerican historian, see Him Mark Lai, "Historical Development ofthe Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association/Huiguan System," inChinese America: History and Perspectives 1987 (San Francisco:Chinese Historical Society of America, 1987), p. 42.3 In Edgar Wickberg ed., From China to Canada: A History of the Chinese Communities in Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,1982), p. 231. A different picture on this issue will be presentedin Chapter Five.143Scholars working under the rubric of "modernization" theory or"development" studies also give this argument their support; theyconsider the traditional organizations "anachronistic" institutionsand believe their demise in a modern society to be both logical andinevitable. 4While the dwindling popularity and centrality of the old-styleassociations seems indisputable, the picture will remain incompleteunless we also know something about what actually happened in, butnot just to, these organizations. So far, existing studies tell uslittle about the internal developments of the traditionalassociations during those years. Relative to an earlier time, theymay have been generally in decline, but they remained as a distinctcategory of voluntary organizations and some indeed flourished intheir own way. How do we account for their staying power when theprevailing conditions, as suggested by many, were so unfavourable?This chapter argues for the resilience of the traditionalorganizations and suggests that they continued to play an activerole in the evolution of community consciousness and in the debateon Chinese identity. 5 The discussion will first focus on two rather4^Note, for instance, the portrayal of organizationalsuccession in Chia-ling Kuo's Social and Political Change in NewYork's Chinatown: The Role of Voluntary Associations (New York:Praeger, 1977). Espousing such "modernizationist" interpretation inanother Chinese context is the work of Thomas Tsu-wee Tan. See his"Singapore Modernization: A Study of Traditional Chinese VoluntaryAssociations in Social Change," Ph.D. Dissertation, University ofVirginia, 1983.5^Admittedly, my thinking on this subject has beenconsiderably influenced by the works of Chinben See, EdgarWickberg, Jiann Hsieh, and lately Elizabeth Sinn. In their research144obscure aspects of associational life, namely, the practice ofcollective rituals and the growth of their financial strength.Following this is an analytical history of the CBA from the late1940s to the 1960s. Some studies have argued that the CBA generallydeclined from the end of World War II, and the assertion is worthyof scrutiny. 6 The CBA was an umbrella organization thattraditionally claimed to represent all Chinese. Its history willshed light on the community-making process within the ethnic group.Collective Rituals in the Traditional Organizations: Typology andEfficacyLet us begin with two general observations on the traditionalassociations in the post-war period. First of all, changes in theorganizational inventory were negligible. Four existingassociations followed the earlier examples of the others andupgraded themselves to become the national headquarters. Only twoclan organizations were newly founded. One surname societyreportedly resolved to disband, and others might have been defunctwithout being noticed. The net result was a fairly constant numberon the traditional associations in various overseas Chinesecontexts, they tend to ask questions that help to bring out themore dynamic side of these organizations. See the numerous works ofthese scholars in the bibliography.6 Two examples are Hayne Yip Wai, "The Chinese and theVoluntary Associations in British Columbia: A Political MachineInterpretation," M.A. Thesis, Queen's University, 1970; and BrijLal, "The Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver, 1889-1960:An Analytical History," an unpublished manuscript, 1975.145of traditional associations, about forty between 1945 and 1970. 7The size of organizational membership is hard to determine andour picture is again very general. We are now familiar with thedifficulties these associations had in recruiting members among thenew immigrants and the native-born Chinese. We have also discernedsome important variations in this respect: the Chinese Freemasonsand the two major surname organizations of the Wongs were moresuccessful in overcoming this problem because of their auxiliaryeducational and recreational facilities; doing less well were thoseassociations that experimented with youth corps for a period oftime; even worse were those that had nothing at all to appeal tothe young newcomers and the local-born. For this last group oforganizations, the failure at membership replenishment by the 1960scould be detrimental to their vitality as aging took a heavy tollamong their elderly members.Indeed, if we had been present in the post-war period and hadasked some critics about the functions of the old-styleassociations, we might have received a reply like the following,which has been reconstructed from a variety of sources:7 The new national headquarters included the Chee DuckTong, Yee Fung Toy Tong, Yue San Association, and Chew LuenSociety. See their organizational files, CCRC, Boxes 2 and 3.Chinese Voice 26 July and 17 November 1955. The founding of NamYeung Tong and Gee How Oak Tin Association were reported in ibid.26 November 1955 and 20 March 1962. On the dissolution of the LuMing Bitsuey, see Ibid. 20 September 1965 and 2 February 1966. Myestimate of the total number of traditional Chinatown organizationsin post-war Vancouver corresponds with Johnson's in From China to Canada, pp. 329-31.I do not really know. I guess not much is going onnowadays in these organizations. They are just a bunch ofold people who come together for their own interests.They may have some meetings periodically to commemoratetheir predecessors, to celebrate their organization'sfounding anniversary, to create and then to rotate amongthemselves leadership positions, to pay homage to Taiwan,and above all, to have a feast. Their so-called"functions" are but formalities with hardly any substanceat al1. 8There is a certain element of truth in these criticisms. Mostfunctions of these associations can be construed as a publicperformance of collective rituals, in the sense that they wereactivities prescribed by tradition and were so regularly observedthat some participants may not have been very conscious of theirmeanings. Nevertheless, the denigration of ritual practices asvulgar "formalities" and the interpretation of this phenomenon asa proof of fossilization would be naive. For a simple rebuttal ofthese accusations, one can refer to the considerable amount ofpersonal enthusiasm expressed during ritual observance and theheavy expenses incurred for the ceremonial undertakings at times.For a more sophisticated understanding of the collectiverituals that permeated organizational activities, it will be8 Two particularly useful items are: "Qiaotuan shi'fengjian de baolei' ma?" (Are the traditional organizations a'feudalist citadel'?) by Wu Yihong, and "Weihe youren yaozuo'qiaoling'?" (Why some people want to be "leaders" [in theorganizations]?) by "Zhan Wang", in Chinese Voice 20 May 1958 and1 February 1969.146147helpful to draw on the theoretical insights of cultural and socialanthropologists who have studied rituals either generally or in aChinese context. The work of Victor Turner, which has shaped andsharpened the thinking of many scholars on this subject, can be ourpoint of departure. 9 According to Turner, we can define ritual as"prescribed formal behavior for occasions not given over totechnological routines, having reference to beliefs in invisiblebeings or powers regarded as the first and final causes of alleffects." Also, we should "think of ritual essentially asperformance, enactment, not primarily as rules or rubrics"(emphases original). Ritual may look "rigid," "empty," and"threadbare," but it is in fact "richly textured," with livingmeanings embedded. 1° Another important observation by Turner,9 Turner's numerous works include both case studies ofritual in African societies and theoretical discussions on ritualand other related concepts. I have relied principally on hiscollection of articles in From Ritual to Theatre: The HumanSeriousness of Play (New York: Performing Arts JournalPublications, 1982), and an essay, "Social Dramas and RitualMetaphor," in Richard Schechner and Mady Schuman eds., Ritual, Play, and Performance: Readings in the Social Sciences/Theatre (NewYork: Seabury Press, 1976), pp. 97-120. Among China specialists,Turner's influence is visible in the conference volume edited byArthur Wolf, Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society (Stanford:Stanford University Press, 1974) and is brought forth in the recentstudies of Chinese student movements associated with JeffreyWasserstrom, such as his Student Protests in Twentieth-CenturyChina: The View from Shanghai (Stanford: Stanford University Press,1991), and an earlier article (coauthored with Joseph Esherick),"Acting Out Democracy: Political Theatre in Modern China," Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 49, no. 4 (1990), pp. 835-65.10 From Ritual to Theatre, pp. 79-81. In a critique of 'neo-Durkheimian' analyses, Steven Lukes, a British politicalsociologist, defines ritual similarly as "rule -governed activity ofa symbolic character which draws the attention of its participantsto objects of thought and feeling which they hold to be of special148derived from Clifford Geertz, is that since ritual "is tacitly heldto communicate the deepest values of the group regularly performingit, it has a 'paradigmatic' function... As a 'model for,' ritualcan anticipate, even generate change; as a 'model of,' it mayinscribe order in the minds, hearts, and wills of participants" 11(emphases original).This last point, that rituals communicate ideals, is relevantin two important ways to our reconstruction of the discourse oncommunity among the Chinese. First, the elderly settlers appearedto be less vocal in expressing their thoughts in written form, whencompared with the better educated newcomers and the native-bornChinese. Their patronage of public rituals in the traditionalorganizations was probably the best way to articulate their ideason Chinese identity and the community. As they engaged in whatSteven Sangren calls the "ritual construction of social space,"their ritual behaviour provides us with the most vivid non-written"script" to work out a portrait of their "mental" community. 12Second, to the critics and the uninitiated observers, thealmost obsessive evocation of old-country nostalgia and sentimentssignificance." "Political Ritual and Social Integration," SociologyVol. 9, no. 2 (1975), pp. 289-308, see p. 291.1 1^From Ritual to Theatre, p. 82. Geertz's originalformulation is in his essay "Religion as a Cultural System," inidem., The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, Inc.,1973), pp. 87-125, especially p. 123.12^History and Magical Power in a Chinese Community(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987), Part II.149of internal unity and harmony, and the invariable claim ofimportance for the organizations at the time of ritual observance(see below), were rhetorical at best and hypocritical at worst.Nevertheless, these memories, claims, and visions, irretrievableand unrealistic as they seemed to be, functioned as a "model," inGeertz's terms, in knitting together a "community." In his study ofLukang in Taiwan two decades ago, Donald DeGlopper also discoveredthe efficacy of "ritual pretensions" (emphasis added) for thereinvention of a qemeinschaft by the local residents who wanted toreclaim a glorious past for their town.' 3In general the collective rituals practised in the post-waryears by traditional Chinese associations in Vancouver can bedivided into several types. Because a ritual performance is bynature "multivocal" -- that is, it can be endowed with differentmeanings and purposes by individuals who take part in it, mycategories are arbitrary and are meant just to highlight some ofthe essential features."1.3 "Religion and Ritual in Lukang," in Wolf ed., Religionand Ritual in Chinese Society, pp. 43-69, especially 66-69.14 On ritual's "multivocality," see Turner, "Social Dramasand Ritual Metaphors," p. 104. To do full justice to the"multivocality" of every ritual practice would require a detailedethnography which is beyond the scope of the present study. Myfollowing discussion of collective rituals is based on an extensivereading of news reports on these events in the Chinese Times andChinese Voice, accounts in the publications of the organizations,interviews with people who have the experience of attending thosefunctions, and my personal participation and observation in fieldwork since 1988. Documentation will be provided wherever it isappropriate.150Table 4.1 shows the common items on an annual ritual cycleobserved by the traditional Chinese associations. It indicates therange of ritual activities but there are a few omissions. Theemphasis here is on those functions that occasioned widermembership participation. The list does not include things likeexecutive meetings that could be equally "ritualistic" but involvedonly a few. The irregular events such as funerals held by theassociations on behalf of the deceased members, or receptions forsome visiting dignitaries are also omitted. Ceremonial activitieswhich took place less frequently, such as the conventions sponsoredby the national headquarters in Vancouver, are also not on the listthough they will be mentioned.A collective ritual that served an explicit administrativepurpose was the annual election of executive officials. Atraditional organization was usually run by a general committee ofseveral dozen people. Within this committee was a smaller executivebody led by a chairman and a few standing committee members. Themaximum version of an election would take weeks to complete, as itincluded: the initial nomination of candidates; a preliminary roundof election for the general committee; another round to electexecutives to the standing committee and other sub-committees; anda final installation ceremony. Such an elaborate procedure wasfollowed by the CBA and some well-established clan and districtTable 4.1The Annual Ritual Cycle Observed by Traditional ChineseOrganizations in Vancouver in the Post-War PeriodItems1511. Election of Officials2. Spring Banquet3. Spring Rite at the QingmingFestival4. Autumn Rite at the Chong-yang Festival5. Founding Anniversary6. Birthday Celebration of(Fictitious) Progenitors7. Commemoration of the 1911Revolution8. Commemoration of theFounding of the Republicof ChinaHeld^annually^by^mostorganizations between Novemberand February of the followingyear.Held frequently during Februaryand March.During March and April.During September and October;Became^common^in^theearly 1960s.Various dates. Held annually bymany organizations withincreasing regularity in thepost-war period.Practised by the ChineseFreemasons and a number of clanassociations.Annually on 10 October.Annually on 1 January.Sources: Chinese Times and Chinese Voice152associations. 15At the other end of the scale were the smaller organizations,that is, those with fewer members, less resourceful leaders, morelimited financial capability, and probably lower esteem for thecollectivity. It is interesting, though, to observe how theymanaged to compress or condense the lengthy procedure into aminimum version which was still considered dignified andpresentable to themselves and any outside observers. A case inpoint is the Ing Suey Sun Tong. With just a few dozen members, theTong's practice was to get everyone to sit on the executivecommittee. The entire election business, including the nomination,the casting and counting of votes, and the installation of the newexecutive, could be taken care of at an annual general meetingattended usually by less than two dozen people in a weekend16evening.The second type of public rituals was expressly religious-cum-cultural. It included the spring and autumn rites dedicated to thedeceased members at the Qingming and Chongyang Festivals. Qingminghad long been an occasion for ancestral worship among the Chineseand their organizations in Vancouver. The observance of Chongyang,however, seems to have been added to the ritual cycle in the early15^At the beginning and end of every year, the Chineselanguage newspapers were usually inundated by reports on theseevents.16 Wu Xushan Tong yi'anbao (Ing Suey Sun Tong Minutes ofMeetings) 1927-37, 1938-53, and 1976-1992. The records between 1953and 1976 cannot be found so far.1531960s and was therefore, to use Sangren's terms, a case of "ritualintensification." 17 The traditional associations were likely to paymore attention to the commemoration of the deceased in the post-warperiod. Not only did an increasing number of elderly Chinese passaway, the dead were to be buried locally in a permanent fashiononce the practice of exhuming bones and sending them back to Chinafor reburial ceased in 1951. 18The birthday celebration of the fictitious progenitors in thesurname organizations was another ritual with a strong religiousovertone (See Table 4.2). The Chinese Freemasons organizations werethe only other traditional associations that held comparablefunctions. They traced their historical roots to the secretsocieties in Qing China and took great pride in the Freemasonorthodoxy about loyalty and righteous behaviour. Their membershipinitiation ceremony also had the strongest religious flavour amongthe organizations. n17 Sangren, History and Magical Power. See particularlyChapter Five for his ideas on ritual intensification and thesubsequent "filling in" of the ritual landscape.18 The practice was formally terminated in November 1951when it was decided at a CBA meeting that 860 sets of human bonesawaiting shipment to China since 1939 would remain in Canada inview of the political situation in Mainland China. Chinese Times 26November 1951. For a commentary on the more enthusiastic observanceof Qingming by the traditional organizations, see an editorial inChinese Voice 5 April 1966.19^See Harry Con, Zhonqquo Hongmen zai Jianada (The ChineseFreemasons in Canada) (Vancouver: Chinese Freemasons CanadianHeadquarters, 1989), pp. 101-09. C.K. Yang suggested that secretsocieties in traditional China had to rely on religion - inspiredunity and solidarity to compensate for the members' lack of naturalkinship ties. Religion in Chinese Society: A Study of ContemporaryTable 4.2Clan Associations and the Birthday Celebration of Progenitors inthe Post-war Period (With the dates in parentheses)Clan Association^Ritual Name of Progenitor(s)Chee Duck Tong HQsLam Sai Ho Tong HQsLee Clan Association HQsLung Kong Kung So HQs"Gugong danfu taiwang" (March)"Bigan taishizu" (April)"Sanqing dadao,^shiji gaozhen,hunyuan jiaozhu, taishang laojun"(March)"Liu zhaolie di" (March)"Guan sheng di" (July)"Zhang huan hou" (September)"Zhao shunping hou" (October)Oylin Society HQs^"Zhou lianqi gong" (October)Yee Fung Toy Tong HQs^"thong xiang gong" (October)HQs = National HeadquartersSources: Chinese Times and Chinese Voice154155Compared to the second category, the third type of collectiverituals displayed a stronger social and cultural rather thanreligious orientation. Good examples are the spring banquets in theChinese New Year and the celebration of the organizations' foundinganniversaries. The former were by far the most popular ceremonialevents. Elderly members who had "Jinru yiwu" (fulfilled all theobligations [to the association]) were honoured by being escortedto the venue and treated to a nice meal. Not only were asignificant number of women and children present, even nominalmembers who seldom set foot in the meeting hall were expected toshow up. The founding anniversaries, in comparison, were usuallycelebrated on a smaller scale and attended mainly by activemembers. The special anniversaries, such as a silver or goldenjubilee, were the exceptions which warranted a grander celebration.Lastly, there were the political rituals associated with thesupport for the Nationalist regime in Taiwan. The local Kuomintangwas the most enthusiastic about them. It observed basically everyceremonial function prescribed by the party-state to propagate theregime's orthodoxy and pay tribute to Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek. Assisted by the Chinese Consulate-General and later the CBA,it publicized these activities and encouraged other organizationsto follow. Well into the late sixties, a certain number oftraditional associations continued to commemorate the 1911Social Functions of Religion and Some of their Historical Factors (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961), pp. 58-64.156Revolution and the founding of the Republic of China as a tokenexpression of their alignment with the Nationalist government. Buttheir number dwindled. These political rituals were most vulnerablewhen interest in Chinese politics generally declined in the post-war years. zoTo put things in historical perspective, it must be added thatthe public rituals mentioned above, with the possible exception ofChongyang, had already been in place before the war. Theyintensified modestly thereafter in the sense that the annual ritualcycle became more widely observed among the organizations. Anotherexample of ritual intensification was the holding of nationalconventions by the associational headquarters in Vancouver. Table4.3 gives an incomplete list of these events in the post-warperiod. For at least one organization, the Yee Fung Toy Tong, thepractice was unknown before the war.What then was the importance of collective rituals? We candiscern their significance by studying the symbolism and the layersof socio-cultural meanings embedded in each ritual performance. Thespring banquet, for instance, signified "the presence of the groupin its full numerical strength" and impressed "those present witha deep sense of group consciousness." It was an important occasionto expound the theme of unity by the delivery of appropriate20 The impact of old-country politics on the VancouverChinese society will be assessed in Chapter Five.Table 4.3An Incomplete List of National Conventions Held by the TraditionalAssociations in Vancouver Chinatown in the Post-War PeriodYear(s)^ Associations1949, 1950 Chinese Freemasons HQs1950, 1955^Wong Kung Har Tong HQs1953^ Wong Wun San Society HQs1955 Lung Kong Kung So HQs1955, 1960^Kuomintang HQs1955, 1960, 1964, 1968^Yee Fung Toy Tong HQs1957^ Hoy San Ning Yung Benevolent Assn.1958, 1969^Mah Society HQs1963, 1965 Lee Clan Association HQs1965^ Chee Duck Tong HQsHQs = National HeadquartersSources: Chinese Times, Chinese Voice, and various organizationalpublications157158speeches, by recognizing the contributions of certain individualsto the organization, and by everyone's partaking together in a bigfeast which symbolized the sharing of abundance. It was,additionally, a potential rallying point for collective actionssuch as to raise money for a scholarship fund or to ponder upon anew project in realty investment. Hence, the spring banquet was(and still is) a most colourful event to observe in Chineseorganizations. 21The ancestral rite in an association also had its specialpurpose. Unlike ancestral worship in a family setting, the objectof veneration in an organization was always the progenitor of thegroup. The rite was therefore more than an individual act of filialpiety. Besides buttressing the collective identity, it was anattempt to lay claim to a larger historical memory by commemoratingthe pioneering generations of sojourners and settlers whosefrugality, perseverance, and hard work were considered by theelderly immigrants to be the standard of Chinese culture andinstrumental in the well-being of the present generation. These"Chinese" values were then affirmed and celebrated, and theorganizations were portrayed as vehicles to preserve them forposterity.The annual election of officials was yet another interesting21 C.K. Yang's comments on comparable communal events intraditional rural China are helpful for my understanding of thisimportant congregational ritual. Indeed, there were manyinteresting parallels. See Religion in Chinese Society, ChaptersTwo to Four. The quotes are from p. 43.159ritual performance. Campaigning and open competition were rare,with the emphasis on consensus and some kind of power sharing oroffice rotation. Nevertheless, the formal election was good forboth procedural legality and the bestowing of moral legitimacy uponthe leadership. Of equal symbolic importance was the opportunitygiven periodically to members to take part in a "major" decisionabout the future of an organization.Of course, the public rituals were not disparate items in thecultural repertoire of the traditional organizations. Theiraggregate efficacy can best be appreciated by looking at thetranscendence of two pairs of paradoxes in ritual practices.First, ritual performances and communal celebrations were toenhance the vitality of traditional associations. Prime attentionwas always given to the group and participants were invited to cometo renew their sentiments of pride, loyalty, and unity. Thecollective identity was exalted; the meeting hall was physicallyredecorated for the ceremonial occasions; and corporate strengthswere displayed by means of reports and advertisements in theChinese language press and were paraded on the street of Chinatown.However, individual identities and differences were transcended inthe process, but not eclipsed. By taking part in congregationalactivities, individual members would feel secure and gratified asthey refreshed their sense of belonging to the organization, rubbedshoulders with one another, and met their leaders. Some people werehonoured by their organizations for their service, or because their160personal achievements reflected positively on the group. Others whohelped out with the event were given a chance to assumeresponsibilities in the esteemed public arena. Leaders, inparticular, gained visibility by demonstrating leadership qualitiessuch as skills in making public speeches, willingness to contributefinancial resource, and above all, enthusiasm for organizationalaffairs. To quote Turner again, these participants in rituals allbecame "heroes in (their) own dramas," as their personal imageswere enlarged and self-worth inflated. 22 The public ritual, in thissense, wove together individuals and the corporate body of aparticular organization into a single, and almost seamless,tapestry.Secondly, it is true that the traditional associations heldtheir ritual activities separately on an individual organizationalbasis. Equally undeniable is that ritual performance could becompetitive and conducive to conflict among the associations.Nevertheless, the subscription to a common corpus of ritualpractices and behaviour helped to transcend these organizations asseparate entities and generate an aura of consensus and an"imagined community" in the Chinese minority. 23 Not only did the22 Turner called this function of ritual performance"reflexivity." From Ritual to Theatre, p. 75.23 As argued persuasively by William Rowe, conflicts are notnecessary antithetical to the development of communityconsciousness. See his Hankow: Conflict and Community in a Chinese City 1796-1895 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989). Myborrowing of the term "imagined community" from Benedict Andersonis obvious, though in his major work, he is talking about humancollectivities at a different level. Imagined Communities: 161traditional associations observe basically the same ritual eventsand ceremonial procedure. Above all, they spoke in unison abouttheir "community" by dwelling on the ideal of internal unity andharmony among the Chinese, by upholding the preservation of theirmore traditional version of Chinese culture, and by portrayingthemselves as the public realm and the prop of a "community."Cross-participation of associations in one another's ceremonies andoverlapping membership further reinforced integration through acommon ritual tradition and shared community visions. On thoseoccasions, they exchanged gifts, sang one another's praises, andnetworked across organizations. These were often represented as thefinest moments of Chinese solidarity. 24Financial Management as Ritual Except in passing, a special kind of collective ritual wasleft out in our discussion so far. It concerns the attempts of old-style organizations to draw on their members' resources to buttresstheir financial bases. Like the rest of their cultural repertoire,these efforts at financial mobilization followed standardizedprocedures loaded with symbols and meanings. Yet, a successfulperformance of these exercises would have far greater repercussionsReflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso,revised edition, 1991).24 On ritual integration, cf. C.K. Yang, Religion in ChineseSociety, p. 95; DeGlopper, "Religion and Ritual in Lukang," pp. 66-69; and Sangren, History and Magical Power, p. 51.162on the capability of the traditional associations to sustainthemselves as vital and influential institutions among the Chinese.Before analyzing this important subject, let us take a lookgenerally at the financial structure of the traditionalassociations. Naturally, the size and details of their budgetsvaried from one to another according to membership size and amountof property ownership. During the World War II period the annualbudget of a fairly large organization like the Hoy Ping DistrictAssociation, with several hundred local members, was more than athousand dollars. By contrast, the budget of a minor clanassociation such as the Ing Suey Sun Tong was relatively sma11. 25On the income side, members were usually required to pay abasic fee when they first joined an organization and then tocontribute a small amount to the coffers every year. The collectionof this "annual fee" must have been a difficult task, as someassociations admitted that a large majority of their members owedthem years of payment in arrears. 26 Another requested item ofcontribution was the so-called "chukou fei" (the exit fee) of two25 See the statement of account balance of the Hoy PingDistrict Association from 1925 to 1946 in Zhuyun Quanjia KaipinqZong Huiguan tekan (A Special Issue of the Hoy Ping DistrictAssociation Canadian Headquarters in Vancouver) (1947), pp. 49-55.For similar information on the Ing Suey Sun Tong, see Wu Xushan Tong caoliu bao (Ing Suey Sun Tong Account Books) 1936-43, 1944-51,and 1952-55.26 For example, see Jianada Huang Jiangxia Zongtang di liujie quanlia kenqin dahui shimoji (An Account of the SixthNational Convention of the Wong Kung Har Tong CanadianHeadquarters) (1955), p. 37.163dollars to be honoured by every member who returned to China. Thispractice is known to have been suspended during the Sino-JapaneseWar of 1937-45, resumed briefly in the late 1940s, and largelyabandoned in the 1950s because, by then, few Chinese were goingback to settle in their home villages. Even when it was inoperation, however, the exit fee was not really a source of incomefor the organizations as it was earmarked for the cost of exhumingthe bones of deceased members and then forwarding them to China forreburial. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association inVictoria was in charge of this, and all the exit fees collectedwere eventually transferred to it. 27Over the years, associations devised various ways tosupplement their meagre regular income. At the end of the warperiod, the Hoy Ping District Association ran an in-house lotteryand netted more than three thousand dollars. The Lee ClanAssociation actually made this an annual event to encourage itsmembers to pay their yearly dues. 28 It was also common to hold afund drive to finance a project like one of the Chinese languageschools in Chinatown. In talking about the fund-raising campaigns27 See the record of transaction on the exit fee between theHoy Ping District Association and the Chinese ConsolidatedBenevolent Association in Zhuyun Quanlia Kaipinq Zong Huiguantekan, pp. 49-50. Also David T.H. Lee, Jianada Huagiao shi (AHistory of the Chinese in Canada) (Taipei: Canada Free Press,1967), pp. 221-24.28 Zhuyun Quanjia Kaiping Zong Huiquan tekan, p. 50. Thesources give no indication of when the Lee Clan Association startedits annual lottery for fee-paying members. My latest reference forthis event is a report in Chinese Voice 20 September 1957.164of the traditional organizations, we have again entered a piece ofhighly "ritualized" territory. Rules were designed to recognize thefinancial contributions of the benefactors and, particularly, toarticulate the differences in the amount of donation. Other thanencouraging contribution, this game of "competitive generosity," asSangren describes it, was a well-established way of grooming andrecognizing leaders by the stress it put on distinction. 29Another popular way to generate extra income was to makefinancial contribution an integral part of any ritual performance.Members were supposed to donate some money to defray the cost of acongregational ceremony. The occasion was most suitable for membersand especially leaders to express their loyalty to the collectivityand to show a concern for the common good by means of a donation.In this way, a costly public ritual could become a financiallyself-sufficient undertaking. 99An item of regular expense was the rental payment for thepremises unless an organization had its own property. Since theearly days of the traditional associations in the city, someorganizations had used an ingenious method to solicit contributions29 See Figure 4.1 for an example of "competitive generosity"in action in the Mon Keong School's fund raising campaign thatlasted for several years from late 1944. For another example in alater period, see Huagiao Gongli Xuexiao choumu jingfei zhengxin lu(A Report on the Fund-raising Campaign of the Chinese PublicSchool) (1963), pp. 3-8. Sangren, History and Magical Power, p. 78.30 For an example of a collection of an anniversary fee, seethe case of the Hoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association at thecelebration of its sixtieth founding anniversary in 1957. Chinese Times 8 October 1957.Figure 4.1Recognition of Financial Contributions to the Mon Keong School,1944"...In order to encourage donation to the School, the Board ofDirectors has decided to use the following scheme to recognize thecontributions of our benefactors:1.^For those contributing $5 or above, their names will beinscribed on a mirror hanging in the hall.2^For those contributing $25 or above, their personal picturesof two inches large will be hanged in the hall.3. For those contributing $50 or above, their personal picture ofthree inches large will be hanged in the hall.4. For those contributing $100 or above, their personal picturesof four inches large will be hanged in the hall.5. For those contributing $200 or above, their personal picturesof six inches large will be hanged in the hall.6. For those contributing $500 or above, their personal picturesof eight inches large will be hanged in the hall.7. For those contributing $1,000 or above, their personalpictures of twelve inches large will be hanged in the hall.The classrooms will also be named after these benefactorsindividually.8. For the one contributing $3,000 to 5,000, a personal pictureof twenty inches large will be hanged in the hall. The schoolplayground will also be named after this benefactor....Foon Sien WongChairman, Board of DirectorsMon Keong School9 October 1944"Source:^An extract^from^"Wencliang Xuexiao xiaodonghuidongshizhang Huang Wenfu baogao shu" (A report by FoonSien Wong, Chairman, Board of Director, Mon Keong School)(1944). In Foon Sien Wong Papers, Box 3.N.B. Apparently, the board was expecting only one benefactor whowould contribute a sum of three thousand dollars or more,since only one school playground would be built. Thecompetitive potential of the scheme is obvious.165166from members for the purchase of their own clubhouses. Propertyownership not just helped to save the monthly rental. It providedan additional source of income since extra floor space could berented out. The Wong Kung Har Tong, a leading Chinatownorganization representing the biggest surname group, was a case inpoint. It bought a large building on East Pender Street in 1922.The second and third levels were used for the meeting hall and theMon Keong School respectively, and the ground floor was rented out.By 1950, this piece of property was said to be worth $100,000. 31During the post-war years the unprecedented number oftraditional associations, many of them for the first time, makingreal estate investment in Chinatown was amazing (See Table 4.4). Inthis period of prosperity, the value of land properties rosesteadily. Many organizations probably considered this venture aviable investment. Another plausible explanation for this suddenoutburst of enthusiasm in buying properties was the increasingavailability among Chinese of capital for local consumption. Firstthe Sino-Japanese War and then the better chance of family reunionin Canada after 1947 had led to a decline in the amount ofremittance being sent back to China and Hong Kong. 32 In any case,31 Jianada Huang Jianqxia Zongtonq di wujie quanjia kenqindahui shimoji (An Account of the Fifth National Convention of theWong Kung Har Tong Canadian Headquarters) (1950), pp. 46-47. Otherexamples included the CBA, the Chinese Freemasons, the Shon YeeBenevolent Association, the Lung Kong Kung So, and the Ing Suey SunTong.32 David Lai makes the same point in his recently publishedThe Forbidden City Within Victoria: Myth, Symbol and Streetscape of Canada's Earliest Chinatown (Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 1991),167Table 4.4Investment in Real Estate by Vancouver's Traditional ChineseAssociations in the Post-war PeriodYear^Associations1945 Ming Sing Reading Room*1946^Chee Duck Tong*1949-52 Oylin Society HQs*1950^Yee Fung Toy Tong HQs*1951 Fong Loon Tong HQs*1951^Hoy Ping District Association HQs*1951-52 Nam Ping Bitsuey*1952-53^Wong Wun San Society HQs*1953 Lee Clan Association HQs1956^Nam Yeung Tong HQs*1956 Chung Shan Lung Jen Association*1957^Shon Yee Benevolent Association HQs1957-59 Hoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association1958 - 59^Cheng Wing Yeong Tong HQs1959-60 Sue Yuen Tong1960^Mah Society1960 Kong Chow District Association HQs1961^Fong Loon Tong HQs1962-66 Gee How Oak Tin Association*1963^Lee Clan Association HQs* First time property-ownersHQs = National HeadquartersSources: Chinese Times, Chinese Voice, and various organizationalpublications168the corporate enthusiasm for investment in real estate expired onlyin the early sixties as a result of uncertainty over the future ofthe neighbourhood caused by the city government's plans for urbanredevelopment.The method of financial mobilization known as the baizi hui (literally, meaning "A Club of a Hundred Sons") deserves a carefulanalysis. The critical thing about this scheme was that unlike allthe other fund raising methods, the baizi hui was not predicated ondonation from members to finance a large-scale and potentiallyburdensome undertaking. It was also different from a conventionalmoney pool, or hui in Chinese, in which a dozen individuals wouldrotate their right to use a sum of money to meet the need forpersonal consumption, investment capital, or emergency funds. 33Instead, the baizi hui modelled on government bonds. Theassociation took the role of the organizer and set up a real estatecompany under its name. The entire membership was invited tocontribute in the form of shares. The money raised would beinvested in land properties that would house the association andgenerate rental income. Part of the proceeds so derived could bepp. 20-22.33 On the hui, see Freedman, "The Handling of Money: A Noteon the Background to the Economic Sophistication of OverseasChinese," Man Vol. 59 (1959), pp. 64-65. Another interesting studyof hui is David Y.H. Wu, "To Kill Three Birds with One Stone: TheRotating Credit Associations of the Papua New Guinea Chinese,"American Ethnologist Vol. 1, no. 3 (1974), pp. 565-84.169credited to shareholders as dividends and as repayment of theprincipal. An ideal scenario would then be for an organization tobuy back all the shares and become the exclusive legal owner of theproperties and for the members to be duly compensated for theirinvestment.There was a successful example of baizi hui in the Hoy PingDistrict Association. In late 1951, the Association managed toraise $40,000 through a baizi hui. In the following year, the moneywas used to buy a two-storey building on Main Street. Apparentlythe properties were generating good income because both therepurchase of the principal and the payment of dividends began in1955. By 1970 the Association had acquired sole ownership afterbuying back a total of 800 shares from its member-investors (SeeTable 4.5). 34In sharp contrast was the experience of the rather hapless HoySun Ning Yung Benevolent Association. The idea of a baizi hui wasfirst conceived at a grand celebration of the Association'ssixtieth anniversary in 1957. More than $30,000 was raised and abuilding in the 200 block of East Hastings Street was bought in1959. However, this promising undertaking quickly turned into anightmare. In a matter of a few years, sections of the buildingwere destroyed by fire twice (some sources say three times). Unableto pay the necessary renovation, the Association failed to derive34 Chinese Voice 6 December 1951 and 18 August 1952. Anarticle in Chinese Times 8 June 1973 also provides some of thedetails.Table 4.5The Repurchase of Shares from the Baizi hui by the Hoy PingDistrict Association, 1955-1970Year Number of Shares Brought Back^Sources 1955^ ?^ 1 February 19551958 ? 10 February 19581959^114^ 29-31 January 19591960 60 13-14 January 19601961^ 72^ 19 January 19611962 ? ?1963^ 47^ 14 January 19631964 53 17 January 19641965^ 70^ 20 January 19651966 73 15 January 19661967^ 52^ 19-20 January 19671968 33 12 January 19681969^ 60^ 23 January 19691970 47 27 February 1970Sources: Except for the year 1955 where the public notice is takenfrom the Chinese Times, the rest are from the ChineseVoice.170171any rental income from this building and, in turn, had to continuerenting a floor from the CBA as its premises. Even moreembarrassing were its indebtedness to the bank, as a loan had beenarranged to finance the project, and its failure to offer anycompensation to the member-investors for some fifteen years. Onlyin the mid-1970s did the problem finally begin to resolve itself. 35The unfortunate case of the Hoy Sun Ning Yung BenevolentAssociation was exceptional. As a matter of fact, the baizi hui wasa sound financial scheme. On the one hand, many traditionalassociations became property owners in this period through theshrewd management of a real estate project. The returns included astable income and a potential source of capital for undertakingslike scholarship provision, membership welfare, and publiccharities. Altogether, institutional staying power and prestigewere enhanced, rendering the traditional organizations moreattractive for leaders and members alike. On the other hand,participants in the baizi hui were basically not required tosustain any financial sacrifice. Seto Gock, a Chinese leader, onceexplained in an article the advantages of joining a baizi hui. Ashe argued, the investment was safe, it enjoyed a relatively high35 Taishan Ningvang Huiguan liushi zhounian jinian tekan(Hoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association Sixtieth AnniversarySouvenir Publication) (1958); Quanjia Taishan yigiao dierjie kenqin dahui tekan (A Special Issue of the Second Convention of theTaishan Overseas Chinese in Canada) (1975), p. 46; and Yunbu Taishan Huiguan bashi zhounian Unbar' tekan (Vancouver Hoy SunBenevolent Association Eightieth Anniversary Souvenir Publication)(1977), pp. 15-19.172degree of liquidity, and its five percent guaranteed annualinterest was comparable to the yield of government bonds. The baizi hui was, simultaneously, a good "private" investment thatcontributed to a "public" enterprise. 36The transcendence of public and private should remind us thatbaizi hui was not simply a financial set-up but also a ceremonialactivity loaded with symbolic meanings. Similar to other collectiverituals, this undertaking emphasized the group identity. Forinstance, most organizations specified that members alone wereeligible to take part in the baizi hui. Moreover, the collectivityclaimed the inalienable right to buy back any shares that hadfallen into the hands of "outsiders." These provisions were tosafeguard corporate ownership, which was the ultimate purpose ofthe venture. 37An interesting feature of the baizi hui, in contrast to theother fund-raising methods which emphasized distinction, was thespirit of egalitarian participation among the members. With fewexceptions, the value of each share was kept very low -- usuallyfrom five to twenty dollars -- to make it affordable. There was auniform interest rate regardless of the difference in the amount of36^Chinese Voice 8 May 1961.37^For instance, both conditions were stipulated in HuangYunshanq Zong Gongsuo shire gongsi zhangcheng (The Constitution ofthe Real Estate Company of the Wong Wun San Society Headquarters)(1953). Another example can be found in Jianada Huang Jianqxia Tong shiye gongsi zhangchenq (The Constitution of the Real EstateCompany of the Wong Kung Har Tong of Canada) (1944, 1950).173investment. The date of maturity was decided by drawing lots andeach investor was, in turn, to collect his principal and dividends.It is known that in at least one case, to prevent excessiveownership and control a maximum number of shares was prescribed forany single investor (See Figure 4.2). Such was the spirit of baizi hui. Of all the collective rituals, it probably gave the mostsubstance to the saying that "the association belongs to all of themembers," a rhetoric which can still be heard in organizationalsettings.Finally, two well-documented examples can further illustratethe potency of baizi hui. In 1953, the Wong Wun San SocietyHeadquarters organized a successful baizi hui and bought a buildingon East Pender Street. A report, printed in 1957, gives us adetailed picture of this financial mobilization. 38 Issuing some5,500 shares at a value of $10 each, a sum of $55,000 was raised.Among the institutional share-holders were the Wong Wun SanSocieties in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal and theHeadquarters in Vancouver which contributed 1,000 shares. Therewere 78 individual share-holders from various Canadian Chinatowns,but the bulk of the capital was raised from local members. Table38 The discussion in the following two paragraphs is basedon this report, Huang Yunshanq Zong Gongsuo qouzhi louye baogaoshu(A Report on the Purchase of Land Properties by the Wong Wun SanSociety Headquarters) (1957). There is some supplementaryinformation in Huang Yunshanq Zonq Gongsuo xinzhi luochenq kaimu ji di'er jie kenqin dahui shimoli (An Account of the Official Openingof the New Premises of the Wong Wun San Society Headquarters andthe Second National Convention) (1954).174Figure 4.2The Regulations of the Baizi hui in Fong Loon Tong Headquarters,1961"...Our Headquarters has decided to buy a building in thenortheast corner of Hastings and Carrall Streets at the price of$90,000. The following regulations will be applied regarding ourownership and investment:1. A real estate department is set up in the Fong Loon TongHeadquarters.2. The legal ownership is in the name of the Fong Loon Tong#.3. All shares are of uniform value, i.e. $20 each.4. The basic capital consists of the money we got from the citygovernment when our previous building was expropriated and oursavings in the bank.5. All See and Seto clansmen, sisters (including those who havealready "married out"), and our close relatives* who areresiding in Canada should subscribe at least one share ($20)as a responsibility. A maximum ownership of 100 shares($2,000) is prescribed to prevent control by any singlemember.6. There is an annual interest of five per cent for the amount ofinvestment. By drawing lots, the dividends and the principalwill be paid to each investor in order. The amount ofinterests will be calculated from the date of the actualpayment of the capital.7. The ownership of the shares is transferrable to the spouses,siblings and close relatives upon a written notification toour department.8. People who want to cash their shares before maturity can do soby giving the department a one-month notice. Those whowithdraw during the first half of the year will forfeit allthe interest of the year, and those who withdraw during thesecond half will be paid half of their annual interest forthat year...."#^Apparently, the organization had not changed its name at thegovernment registrar when it was upgraded into a nationalheadquarters.*^The deviation from the standard practice of restricting share-holding to members can probably be explained by the fact thatthe Fong Loon Tong had too small a membership. To relax therestriction was to maximize participation.Source:^An extract from "Jianada Fenglun Zongtang shiyebu qishi"(A Public Notice by the Real Estate Department of theFong Loon Tong Headquarters), Chinese Voice 5 May 1961.1754.6 classifies the 514 share-holders from Vancouver according tothe amount of their investment. It should be pointed out that therewas no such discrimination in the report, where the "Gufenfangming" (name list of the share[-holders]) may simply beorganized according to the time sequence of subscription.The egalitarian spirit of the baizi hui is borne out by theevidence in this table. Over seventy per cent of the member-investors contributed $50 or less. In fact, one out of foursubscribed only the minimum amount of one share. The biggerinvestors -- say, those who bought more than $100 worth of shares -- made up only twelve per cent. Moreover, some 25 per cent of thecapital was raised by the seventy per cent of small investors. Thisbaizi hui formula seems to have worked well for the Society.Considering the outcome merely in financial terms, this real estateproject generated a monthly rental income of $570 and provided theSociety and the Hon Hsing Athletic Club with their new premises fora nominal rent.The baizi hui organized by the Lee Clan Association around thesame time was very different because of its exceptionally elitistimpulse. 39 Even its origin was rather unconventional. In late 1952,the Association was presented with an opportunity to acquire theMy following account is informed by the historicaldocuments reprinted in Quanjia Lishi disan jie kenqin dahui jiniantekan (A Souvenir Publication of the Third National Convention ofthe Lee Clan Association of Canada) (1985), pp. 52-60; and Quanjia Lishi disi jie kenqin dahui jinian tekan  (A Souvenir Publication ofthe Fourth National Convention of the Lee Clan Association ofCanada) (1988), pp. 74-80.Table 4.6A Classification of Share-holders According to the Amount of theirInvestment^inHeadquarters, 1953No. of Sharesthe^Baizi^hui of^the^Wong^Wun^San^Society% of Investors^% of InvestmentNo. of Investors1,000 5 0.97 12.59500 15 2.91 18.88400 1 0.19 1.00300 10 1.94 7.55250 4 0.77 2.51200 23 4.47 11.58150 3 0.58 1.13110 1 0.19 0.27100 77 14.98 19.3980 4 0.77 0.8050 107 20.81 13.4740 3 0.58 0.3030 26 5.05 1.9620 103 20.03 5.1810 132 25.68 3.32(514) (99.92) (99.93)Source:^Compiled from Huang Yunshanq Zong Gongsuo gouzhi louye baoqaoshu (A Report on the Purchase of Land Properties bythe Wong Wun San Society Headquarters) (1957), pp. 5-12.176177ownership of a hotel building on Main Street. Considering this aprofitable venture, the Association at once raised a loan of morethan $70,000 from 75 local members, with more than half of themcontributing $1,000 or more (See Table 4.7). In the followingmonths, a baizi hui was set up with contributions from some 180individual members -- more than sixty per cent of them were fromVancouver -- and the loan was repaid. From incomplete information,we notice that the minimum amount of share-holding was $50, butthere were only three people under this category. At least 25individuals bought shares that were worth $1,000 or more, and theymade up some fourteen per cent of the total number of member-investors. Peculiar among the contemporary baizi hui schemes, thispattern of distribution seemed to resemble more closely the otherfund-raising rituals that encouraged competition and articulatedleadership distinction. The arrangement of the names of creditorsand shareholders on the original documents according to the amountof money they rendered also supports this conjecture. 4°Such a penchant for the ritual of "competitive generosity"came to the fore again when the Lee Clan Association decided tobuild a new clubhouse during its Second National Convention in1963. Interestingly, the baizi hui formula was shelved and a fund-raising committee was formed instead to solicit donations from thelarger membership across Canada. My sources give no explanation for40^Quanjia Lishi disan jie kenqin dahui jinian tekan, pp.54-57.178Table 4.7Individual Contributions to a Loan in the Lee Clan Association,1952Amount of Money Loaned^Number of Creditors in That Category6,100 15,000 13,400 13,000 32,000 31,500 51,000 25500 18400 2250 2200 8100 6Source:^Quanlia Lishi disan jie kenqin dahui jinian tekan (ASouvenir Publication of the Third National Convention ofthe Lee Clan Association of Canada) (1985), pp. 54-55.179this preference, but the strategy proved to be fatal. Theuncertainty and anxiety over the future of Chinatown caused by thecity government's urban renewal projects were obviously notconducive to fund-raising effort for real estate investment.Equally decisive was the culture of baizi hui which had becomedeeply ingrained as the most appropriate way to finance anundertaking of this kind. To entertain other alternatives wasunrealistic. As it turned out, some $70,000 was raised. This was asubstantial amount, but it met only half of the original target.So, even though a piece of land had been bought, the actualconstruction was put off repeatedly until it was decided in 1970 toabort the grandiose project. By then, $44,000 had already beenexpended, and the donors refused to honour the remaining $26,000that had been pledged. Given the large majority of successful casesof real estate investment by the traditional associations, thisnegative example was clearly exceptional. Yet it strongly suggeststhe importance of performing the right ritual -- in this case, thebaizi hui -- for the failure to do so could well be detrimental tothe original purpose.Clearly, the old-style associations possessed a rich traditionof public rituals, the skilful performance of which could help tore-enact their community visions and harness the emotional andfinancial support of their membership. They were not indulgingaimlessly in formalities, as their critics suggested. Collectiverituals, in fact, had became their lifeline in this critical period180of social and cultural change. As we will see in Chapter Six, theenhanced financial power and esteem of the traditionalorganizations gave some of them a new sense of mission as theysearched for a viable Chinese community and a new definition ofChinese identity in the 1970s.The Ritual of Unity and Representation at the Chinese BenevolentAssociationOf all the Chinese organizations in Vancouver at the beginningof the post-war period, it is arguable that the CBA bestrepresented the traditional concept of community. Its existencesince the turn of the century signified the historical quest bymany Chinese for an organization that could effectively encompassdifferent interests within the ethnic group and generate at leastthe facade of Chinese unity in Vancouver. To achieve these ends theCBA had, by 1925, institutionalized a system of election that drewtogether representatives from the major district associations andsome members elected at large to form an executive. Thisarrangement put the CBA at the apex of the Chinese organizationalhierarchy. At the same time, the CBA persistently claimed to speakfor the Vancouver Chinese by acting as their broker in any majornegotiations with the Canadian government and the larger society.The claim of the CBA to embody and represent all Chinese hadnot been an unqualified success before 1945. Nevertheless, the181ritual performance of unity and representation at the CBA continuedand, to some extent, intensified in the post-war period. Thefollowing discussion will delineate this interesting development.As an "umbrella" organization, the CBA underwent nofundamental change in its structure of representation throughoutthe post-war years. One minor alteration occurred in 1952 when thenumber of executive members at large was increased from twenty totwenty-eight. In the late 1950s, the number of representatives fromthe district associations was also increased from twenty-nine tothirty-two, resulting in a general executive committee of sixtymembers. 41Aiming more sharply at resolving the tension in Chinatownpolitics was the structural rearrangement within the executivecommittee in 1948. Instead of electing only one chairman, the newformula opted for three standing committee members or co -chairmen.This allowed both the Chinese Freemasons and the Kuomintang to berepresented in the top leadership of the CBA with the balanceprovided by the presence of a "neutralist." Informing this formulawas the spirit of compromise which was much in need owing to therenewed conflict between the Kuomintang and the Freemasons overChinese politics in this period. 42 The modus operandi was adoptedto re-enact the vision of internal harmony.In practical terms, the new system of tripartite leadership41^Chinese Times 18 December 1952; Chinese Voice 2 May 1962.42^Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, p. 223.182enhanced the appeal of CBA policies to both the Kuomintang and theChinese Freemasons. More importantly, it created a niche for FoonSien Wong, who was to occupy consecutively for the following twelveyears (1948-1959) the position of "neutralist." During hisleadership the CBA became a powerful force in shaping the communityconsciousness of the Chinese.A fundamental reason behind the pre-eminence of the CBA in thelate forties and fifties was steady progress in the relationshipbetween the ethnic Chinese and the larger Canadian society.Contrary to the common assertion that improvement in racialrelationships spelt the downfall of the traditional organizations,the early stages of this development actually benefited the CBA.The Canadian state suddenly became more eager than previously toinform and even to consult the Chinese on certain issues concerningthem -- the exercise of their newly acquired franchise immediatelycomes to mind. Non-government groups committed to better ethnicrelationships and public charities were also enthusiastic aboutinvolving the Chinese in their enterprises. For all of them, theCBA was most likely to be the first channel of liaison. Its role asthe spokesman of the Chinese was much enhanced because of thisincreasing demand from outside for brokerage.Also instrumental was the leadership of Foon Sien, whoseEnglish language facility, public relations skills, and wideacquaintance with Canadian politicians, journalists, and leaders ofother ethnic groups critically improved the CBA's standing in both183Chinese and non-Chinese eyes. Moreover, Foon Sien never seemed tospare any effort to advocate and defend the interests of theChinese in public. In particular, his high-profile and almostceaseless championship of fairer immigration legislation regardingthe Chinese energized the CBA and magnified its image as theirrepresentative organization.The CBA's diligent attempt to drum up support for Foon Sien'sannual "pilgrimages" to lobby in Ottawa between 1950 and 1959 givesus an idea of its mobilization ritual at its best. 43 Even thoughpreparation of the briefs and actual negotiation were carried outby a few individuals, including Foon Sien and his several legaladvisors, some standardized practices were well in place to ensurethat the course of action was seen as widely endorsed by theChinese as their collective endeavour. One of them was fund-raising, during which members of the executive were asked tosolicit donations on the streets of Chinatown and through theirbusiness and organizational networks. In 1953, for instance, the"campaign to change the immigration laws" raised more than $4,000from three hundred individuals and 150 business firms, all fromVancouver. Only four of the donors contributed fifty dollars, whilethe majority gave the minimum amount of a few dollars. The recordsof the campaign in 1957 suggest a similar pattern except that total43 Chapter Five will discuss in greater detail Foon Sien'scampaign in Ottawa and its significance in terms of advancing theCanadian orientation of the Chinese. The following paragraphsconcern the internal repercussions of these efforts.184contributions increased to $10,000 and the number of donors toalmost six hundred, with some of them from other western CanadianChinatowns. In line with the general strategy of the CBA's fund-raising rituals, stress was put more on the expression ofsolidarity than on competitive generosity. 44Another dimension in this ritual performance of unity andrepresentation was the management of publicity. Foon Sien himselfwas most visible in speaking for the Chinese to the English-language press and among non-Chinese. No less attention was givento the mobilization of Chinese public opinion. During each of FoonSien's journeys to Ottawa, the Chinese newspapers were asked togive editorial support and full coverage to his personal diplomacy.Leaflets showing his entire itinerary were distributed (See Figure4.3). Banquets were held in his name by various Chineseorganizations where he was most active -- including the CBA, thetwo Wong surname associations, the Chinese Trade WorkersAssociation, the Hoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association, and theVancouver chapter of the Chinese Canadian Citizens Alliance. At theend of his journey, a "quanqiao dahui" ("community-wide" meeting)was convened at the CBA in which representatives from the44 Quaniia Zhonqhua Zonq Huiguan zhengxinlu (A FinancialReport of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Canada) (1952-53),pp. 65-71; Quaniia Zhonghua Zong Huiguan zhengxinlu (A FinancialReport of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Canada) (1956 -59),pp. 99-106. For records of other CBA fund-raising activities, see,for example, Jianada Yungehua Zhonghua Huiguan juxing zhonqxiuluochenq kaimu dianli tekan (A Special Publication on the OpeningCeremony of the Chinese Benevolent Association in Vancouver,Canada, at the Completion of its Renovation) (1952).185The Itinerary of Foon Sien Wong, Delegate of the Chinese BenevolentAssociation of Canada, in his Journey to Ottawa to Present a Brief,1955tiI<ii-R,44124: 4Z.11A-1:44'112: 1:hiN:f"Xiii4 iEWItSZiti4/t4hi ,,74-t:c*E<I11-i-<OstiEfigtElgrZZ-F-11=1-"-t-Pri‹: -Htt.F.:+115.1r;'4;i1Z-{-<ra^Vit 1 .21-<-0g^ig+t VJ^.;Kw' (:.7.7",,Wh I g)24zi-Wg1-i- I^a,' *r71,1+.1 IrcogEo-E*t1-4.41-^-^.•I 14-111tag*Eiti'.:1110:71‘41:414-tt-Irr-7in: 24t•Etc21.'-.}3--7:21-l-cfiVW%41 4r-I■c24-1i5g111-1--4-4tEgOV-FM,• Etni-Lki.--',:V.M4kr, i.elt-VIIIM11:1-EiEr";f4fp;ffliTtral'741ES.?, .• I-F-tt-EkkEttAV2111Hti--i-taVg0tfi*<0214-.1i-'r0-1-1-I4,{ 43_4..042*Source: Foon Sien Wong Papers, Box 3.186traditional organizations were invited to hear his report. 45All of these functions aimed at portraying a unanimous Chineseopinion firmly behind Foon Sien's crusade. They were successful, toa large extent, for Foon Sien was generally accepted by Canadiansand the Chinese as the spokesman for the ethnic group on thisimportant subject. The campaign thus worked as a powerful machinein manufacturing consensus and a sense of ethnic unity. Its controlor monopolization by the CBA and its leaders, in turn, gave themunprecedented prestige and influence. It was in the course of thiscarefully staged public campaign that the Vancouver CBA formallyappropriated the title of "Quanjia Zhonghua Zong Huiguan" (TheChinese Benevolent Association [National Headquarters)). 45 Thisclaim to represent the Chinese nationwide was disputed by otherCBA-type organizations but was appealing to the Vancouver Chineseat large. The CBA guarded the title jealously and actually refusedto participate in a "Pan-Canada Conference of CBAs" convened by theToronto-based Chinese Community Centre of Ontario in May 1952. 47Admittedly, even in their heyday in the 1950s the CBA and its45 To reconstruct this sequence of events, for example, in1955, see Chinese Voice 13 April, 2 & 5-9 May, and 24 June 1955.46^David Lee, Jianada Huacriao shi, pp. 196-97.47^Chinese Times 3 May 1952. The CBA's refusal to attend theToronto conference is also noted in Joe Hum, "The Chinese inCanada, 1952: A Year-End Review," prepared for the CanadianCitizenship Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration,Ottawa, submitted on 4 February, 1953. In Foon Sien Wong Papers,Box 9.187leadership were not above criticism. It was said that Foon Sien hadbeen accused of manipulating the CBA for self-aggrandizement andsome people resented the way outsiders addressed him as the "mayorof Chinatown." 48 However, criticisms from within the ethnic groupwere largely muted, reflecting the potency of consensus-making inthe CBA's mobilization rituals. It was not until the early sixtiesthat they came to be voiced vociferously.The downturn in the CBA's fortune was marked by the coming topower of the Progressive Conservatives in Ottawa in June 1957. Theevent cost Foon Sien his useful connection with federal Liberalpoliticians. The new government was less accommodating to him, aLiberal Party member, and to the demands of the Chinese to expandtheir privileges in immigration sponsorship. This rendered hisongoing campaign concerning immigration less viable." It was notcoincidental, then, that Foon Sien insisted on retiring from theCBA executive in December 1959. 5° The CBA thus entered the 1960shaving lost its most resourceful leader and the issue that hadpreoccupied it for more than a decade. Its prestige was furtherdamaged when it was implicated by the RCMP crackdown on illegal48 Brij Lal, "The Chinese Benevolent Association," pp. 42-47; Wickberg ed., From China to Canada, p. 200.49 This was Foon Sien's personal assessment. Chinese Voice6 December 1962.50^Ibid. 21 December 1959.188Chinese immigration. 51Against this background, Chinese criticism of the CBA surfaceddramatically in late 1961. It took the form of a big debate on aproposed reform of the CBA. The opinions expressed indicated arange of Chinese perspectives on this important institution. Thesurprising outcome, however, was to seal the fate of the CBA as acommunity-inspiring enterprise. 52The debate was triggered by an open letter in the Chinese Times on 30 October 1961. Penned by someone identified as "Luohuaqiao" (literally meaning "old-timer"), it was addressed to theCBA concerning the coming executive election. The author began byacknowledging the leadership position of the CBA among the Chinesein Canada. Nevertheless, he was troubled by the "bu wanshan"(imperfection) in its election. The problem, he went on, was causedby "bu touming" (a lack of transparency) and he suspected that theCBA had fallen into the hands of a clique. To rectify thesituation, the following measures were suggested: first, thetraditional associations should jointly set up a committee toVancouver Sun 15 July 1961. See also an infamous exampleof media attack on the CBA by Alan Phillips "The Criminal Societythat Dominates the Chinese in Canada," Maclean's Magazine Vol. 75,no. 7 (April 7, 1962), pp. 11, 40-48.52 My reconstruction of this episode is based on thearticles in the Chinese language press to which, it seems to me,the debate was confined. Interestingly, while all the relevantarticles that appeared in the Chinese Times were critical of theestablished practices, it was in the Chinese Voice where wide-ranging viewpoints were exchanged. That the Kuomintang's NewRepublic carried not a single item on the debate is intriguing.189oversee the election; second, every stage from initial nominationto final voting should be fully publicized; and third, votersshould be better informed about the qualifications of thecandidates.This letter was the first in the post-war period to discussopenly problems within the CBA. Its tone was objective and thetarget was sharply defined. "Luo huaqiao" obviously distrusted thepresent executive which, he alleged, was self-perpetuating. He sawthe solution in a properly held election that would produce a trulyrepresentative and accountable leadership. The appearance of thisletter in the Chinese Times suggested that the opinions wereendorsed by, if not originating from, the leadership of the ChineseFreemasons.The letter must have carried a lot of weight for, at anemergency executive meeting two days later, it was decided to calla "quanqiao dahui" to discuss the election issue. In the meantime,more drastic reform suggestions appeared. For example, writing inthe Chinese Voice, Mah Fat Sing, a reform-minded leader at the CBA,admitted that the present election system was defective because itwas based principally on the representation of the districtassociations. He believed that the scope of representation shouldbe broadened to include "gejie tuanti" (all kinds oforganizations), but he did not elaborate. 53 Echoing a similarcomplaint but going much further in his suggestion was K. Tong Au,53^Chinese Voice 9 November 1961.190a young lawyer associated with the Hai Fung Club. Au arguedfundamentally against the use of organizations as an electoralcollege because of the obvious difference in their membership sizeand multiple memberships by individuals in organizations. The bestoption, he insisted, was to implement "universal suffrage" bygiving every adult Chinese in Vancouver a vote. 54Discussion had grown from a complaint about the abuse of theelection system to a general critique of the system, even beforethe public meeting was convened. From the various accounts it seemsthat the atmosphere at the "quanqiao dahui" was tense. Reformopinions were heard from the delegates of the Chinese Freemasons,the Wong Kung Har Tong, and the Hai Fung Club. However, noconsensus was reached. In the end, at the suggestion of theKuomintang supporters it was decided to adjourn and pass the issueof reform onto the executive of the following year. The reformadvocates reportedly protested against any procrastination but tolittle avail. 55Debate subsided for several months until March 1962 when theCBA executive invited organizations to forward their opinions. Nosubmissions have been uncovered. Nevertheless, the debate in thepress suddenly became intense. One interesting and yet frustratingdevelopment about this second phase of debate was the almost total54^His article was printed in 15 and 17 November 1961 in theChinese Voice and the Chinese Times respectively.55^Chinese Voice 20-21, 23 November 1961; and Chinese Times 24 November 1961.191anonymity of the participants because of the prevailing use of pennames. Short of this information, the important issues are stilldiscernible.The search for a new election system continued to be thebiggest concern. The old format based on the representation ofdistrict associations and a partially at-large election wasconsidered too limited to reflect the growing diversity within theethnic group. Of the different proposals, Tong Au's earlier idea ofa Chinese "universal suffrage" was much criticized asimpractical. 56 A conservative proposition was to include the clanorganizations in the electoral college. 57 More popular was the ideathat organizational representation be given to all ethnic Chineseassociations, as well as to professions like the Chinese lawyers,physicians, dentists, and clergy due to their special contributionsto the Chinese. 58Two other issues raised in the debate are also worth noting.The first concerned the search for new missions that wouldrevitalize the CBA. As one Chinese put it concisely, "In the past(i.e. before 1960), the CBA sent a delegate to Ottawa every yearfighting for better immigration treatment for the Chinese... Now56 One of the critics was "Chun Lei," in Chinese Voice 4April 1962.57^For example, see an article by Yee Keung Ping in ibid. 12March 1962.58 See the articles by "Han Bai" and "Si Jia" in ibid. 2 and5 May 1962 respectively.192the time has changed. We have to look for (new)'tuanjie quanqiao, yizhi jizhong' (unify the overseas Chinese anddevelop a common consciousness)." Among other things, improvementof Chinese school education and welfare provisions for the elderlysettlers were often mentioned as possible focuses in the CBA'sfuture undertakings. 59Another point of debate was how to "zhengming" (actualize) theclaim of the CBA as the national headquarters. On the one hand, the"functionalists" believed that some nationwide activities such asan inspection tour of all Canadian Chinatowns by the CBA executiveand the regular holding of national conventions were indispensable.On the other, the "representationists" insisted that the claim wasunjustifiable without some formal representation of all the CBAs atthe headquarters. One proponent went as far as suggesting aseparation between the national and the local Vancouver CBAs. Noone, however, seemed to question the wisdom of locating thenational CBA in Vancouver. 60The burgeoning debate indicated that the persistent quest foran inclusive Chinese organization, mentioned at the beginning ofthis section, was still present in the early 1960s. Here was ahistoric opportunity for the CBA to bring itself into line with thegrowing diversity and changing expectations in the Chinese59 Quoted from Yee Keung Ping in ibid. 12 March 1962. Seealso the article by "Chun Lei" in ibid. 6 April 1962.60^Chinese Times 28 April 1962; Chinese Voice 4 April, 11May, and 4 June 1962.193minority, and once again to breathe life and efficacy into itsconsensus-making and community-inspiring functions.The outcome was very unexpected, to say the least. As far asthe debate in the press was concerned, the turning point came inJune 1962 with the publication of a relatively lengthy, orthodox-sounding article in the Chinese Voice. Written by "Ning Yang"(signifying that the author was a native of Taishan), its maincontent was as follows:The CBA [national headquarters] is a welfareorganization for all the overseas Chinese [in Canada].Perhaps, its internal structure is somewhat loose... orbecause some "yexin jia" (careerists) want to capitalizeon its weaknesses to seek control for political ends,there was a debate on the so-called "question ofelection"... The discussion so far seems to focussuperficially on the election. The fundamental nature ofthe CBA has been ignored...First of all, we must recognize that besides beinga charitable organization, the CBA is by nature a channelof communication between the overseas Chinese and thehome country on the one hand, and a broker representingthe Chinese to the local government in the country ofresidence on the other. As an opinion-making and awelfare agent, it speaks for all Chinese. Accordingly,its existence is "bi ran" (absolutely necessary) and willbe "yung heng" (everlasting).Secondly, all the CBAs in North America areorganized on the bases of the district, surname oroccupational associations. This "system ofrepresentation" is observed from New York to SanFrancisco, and from Victoria to Halifax. It helps toelect the best leaders and uphold the principle ofdemocracy... In practice, having the Chinese led by theirassociations and these associations, in turn, by the CBA194is most reasonable...Let me say it formally as I conclude. I am afraidthis so-called "controversy" on election may indeed be apolitical conspiracy. [Attacking the CBA as] poorlystructured, unreasonable, and undemocratic is simply apretext used to infiltrate the organization by thosesavages who hold heterodox views. We should be alert. 61While the observations of "Ning Yang" on the nature of the CBAmay not contradict the underlying assumptions of other people inthe debate, his accusation that the incident may have been aconspiracy in disguise sounded like a familiar "Red scare" story.People were alienated, frustrated, or intimated, and the debatecame to an end immediately.In November, the CBA finally publicized a proposal for reform.The once enthusiastic discussion was already several months behind.The blueprint outlined an executive of sixty-one members, twenty ofthem to be elected at-large and the rest nominated by the districtand surname associations. Incredibly, even this conservativeproposal was defeated at a representative meeting of thetraditional organizations, turning the entire episode into afiasco. 62This debate was an landmark in the history of the CBA. In theaftermath excitement and expectation about the organizationdeclined perceptibly. A brief attempt by Harry Fan, another Chinese61^Chinese Voice 2-4 June 1962.62^Ibid. 24, 26 November, 10 December 1962.195lawyer, in late 1965 to stir up discussion on the reform issue wasnipped in the bud again by "Ning Yang." 63 More frequently heardwere insinuations that the CBA had been captured by the localKuomintang to keep the Chinese in Canada subservient to theNationalist government in Taiwan. 64 Indeed, the CBA becameconspicuously active in pro-Kuomintang activities, and itsexecutive was dominated by the local Kuomintang people led by LamFong. Lam occupied the chief executive positions in the CBA and theKuomintang concurrently from the early sixties to the lateseventies. 65 Inevitably, this was to further marginalize the CBAin Chinese eyes. From the sixties on, its claim to embody theVancouver Chinese was no more than an illusion.To summarize, the decline of the CBA happened only in the1960s, and that was after it reached its zenith by a masterfulperformance of the ritual of unity and representation in the earlypost-war years. This chapter shows that the traditional Chineseorganizations in Vancouver as a whole were not doomed enterprises.Most existing accounts have focused on the changing historicalenvironment and the failure of the old-style organizations to63^Ibid. 17, 26-29 November 1965.64^For example, see Da Zhong Bao 10 December 1965 and 21January 1966.65^The best source on this is probably Lee Doe Chuen comp.,Quail -0.a Zhonghua Zong Huiquan qaikuanq (Inside the ChineseBenevolent Association: A Report of Some Activities of the HighestGoverning Body of the Chinese in Canada) (1969).196adapt. Without denying the erosion of their popularity andinfluence, particularly among the new immigrants and the local-bornChinese, this account emphasizes the efficacy of their ritualperformance and their successful efforts at financial self-strengthening. Moreover, the elderly settlers continued to usethese organizations and their ceremonial functions as vehicles tore-enact their community visions. The latter were rejoinders theolder immigrants kept on sending to their critics throughout thepost-war years.197Chapter Five: The Chinese Between Two Worlds, 1945-1970In June 1962, the Canadian government of John Diefenbakerannounced a special programme to admit a hundred Mainland Chineserefugee families which had recently made their way to Hong Kong.Two months later, the first group of these families arrived inVancouver. The Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA) scheduled apublic meeting to hear some of the refugees report on the currentsituation in Mainland China. It was a time of widespread famine andhardship in China as a result of natural disasters and humanmismanagement during the Great Leap Forward. There was an obviousinterest among the local Chinese in getting the latest news,particularly on their home regions. Supporters of the Nationalistgovernment were also eager to use the occasion for anti-Communistpropaganda.Just days before the scheduled meeting, an outspoken columnistby the name of Dick Se Lee addressed an open letter to the refugeefamilies in the Chinese Voice. He congratulated them on theircoming to Canada and wished that they would be able to settle downquickly and begin a new phase of life. He then talked about theopportunities in Canada and encouraged the newcomers to make thebest use of them. At the end he wrote:Dear compatriots, just looking back will be useless.Neither will it be beneficial to the others by tellingthem what you have gone through [in Communist China].Instead, let us concentrate on laying a good foundation198for the future... To us, Canada is our new world. Withus, Canada is going to be a better country. May we allshare these aspirations.'We know very little about this author except that he was agraduate of the Lingnan University in Guangzhou and had taught inthe Chinese High School in Singapore before coming to Canada in the19505. 2 Since he started writing for the Chinese Voice in the earlysixties, he had advocated an "integrationist" approach to Chineseadaptation to Canadian life. According to Lee, Chinese immigrantsin Canada should embrace their new country. It may not be necessaryfor them to turn their backs on Chinese culture, but old-worldpolitics and outlook should definitely be left behind. His idea wasfor the Chinese to reorient themselves from China to Canada. Infact, the same message had been driven home in an earlier essay inwhich he reflected on the end of the "sojourner's era". As he putit, the new generation of Chinese immigrants "should luodi shenggen because our Tangshan (as China, the native country, was oftencalled) is now over in Jinshan (the Gold Mountain)." 3It is impossible to tell how many Chinese actually sharedLee's views. But when he advised the refugees to avoid making anyunnecessary comments on Chinese politics, he was immediately takento task by the Chinese Consul-General Wang Meng Hsien. During that1 16-17 August 1962.2 Chinese Voice 18 September 1962.3 Ibid. 4 October 1961.199public meeting at the CBA, Wang first of all criticized Lee'sstance and then went on to urge the refugees to speak up againstthe Chinese Communist regime. Instead of settling down in Canadaand forgetting all about China, Wang reminded his audience that theChinese should use their freedom of speech in this country for thecause of anti-Communism. He hastened to add that Communistsympathizers were around and their "conspiracy" should be exposedand frustrated by all means. 4The ideas of Lee and Consul-General Wang regarding theappropriate relationship of Chinese residents in Vancouver withChina and Canada were but two of the many possible opinions at thattime. Nevertheless, the dispute highlights two fundamentallydifferent cultural orientations generally discernible among theVancouver Chinese from the late forties to the sixties. As thepreceding chapters show, some Chinese, particularly those ofimmigrant background, remained interested in China-related issues.The first part of this chapter will furnish more evidence tosupport this observation. In addition, it will make an analyticaldistinction between different components of this orientation toChina in the post-war years as manifested in the concern for nativeplace and Hong Kong, the desire to propagate Chinese culture, andthe interest in Chinese politics.During the same period, the increasing openness of the host4 For a transcript of Wang's speech, see ibid. 23-24 August1962. Lee reiterated his ideas in a number of rejoinders before theargument came to end.200society presented the Chinese with unprecedented opportunities toadvance their local interests and to nurture an identification withCanada. It would be naive to think that this new developmentattracted only the Canadian-born Chinese, whereas the immigrantswere all but attached to China. Materials presented so far clearlysuggest that the "tusheng" were more sensitive to the Canadianenvironment and were more capable of dealing with Canadian issuesthan the immigrant Chinese. Yet it is reasonable to assume thatthis sensitivity and capability would gradually come with residencein Canada. As the later half of this chapter will demonstrate,through a struggle for equal treatment in immigration matters, anexpressed interest in Canadian politics, and a defense of theirneighbourhood against redevelopment programmes, some local-born andimmigrant Chinese were presenting themselves as part of an ethnicminority that had a future in this country.The Movement to Rebuild the Native Area A dimension of the China-orientation that surfaced forcefullyin the late 1940s was the tremendous concern for native place. Thecare for one's native district and home village is a strong themein the history of the overseas Chinese. It stems from a culturaltradition which literally enshrined an individual's place oforigin. As suggests by Edward Shils, this "sense of place and past"was often enhanced by migration, like the case of the Chinese201abroad. 5 The large majority of the early Chinese migrants who hadmade their sojourn as single males naturally had the well-being oftheir dependent families in China close to their hearts.Native place sentiments of the overseas Chinese wereespecially discernible in the aftermath of the Second World War.This moment for re-establishing contact with families anddevastated home areas had long been anticipated. it is known that,as early as 1946, some Chinese organizations in Vancouver onceagain collected exit fees from members departing for China.Official sources indicate that 635 ethnic Chinese registered theirdeparture from Canada in the year 1945-1946, and the numberincreased to 2,112 the following year. By August 1947, the Chinese Times estimated that an average of 160 Chinese, mostly in theirsixties, left for China from the port of Vancouver every month. 65 Shils, "Roots - The Sense of Place and Past: The CulturalGains and Losses of Migration," in W.H. McNeill and R.S. Adamseds., Human Migration: Patterns and Policies (Bloomington: IndianaUniversity Press, 1978), pp. 404-05. Different explanations for thepervasiveness of native place consciousness in China have beensuggested. Ho Ping-ti, for instance, attributed it to the Confuciannotion of filial piety and the institutional emphasis within theimperial bureaucracy in his Zhonqquo huiquan shilun (An HistoricalSurvey of Landsmannschaften in China) (Taipei: Xuesheng, 1966), pp.1-9. Another Chinese scholar, Dou Jiliang, stressed the interactionbetween the natural environment, social relationships, localculture, and the hierarchical administrative framework of theempire. Tongxiang zuzhi zhi yanliu (Studies on Native PlaceOrganizations) (Chongqing: Zhengzhong, 1943), pp. 1-9. It is alsopossible that the strong feeling towards local identity in Chinesetradition was a corollary of massive population movements withinChina proper.6 The collection of exit fees was reported in the Chinese Times. Annual Report 1946-47, Immigration Branch, Department ofMines and Resources. Chinese Times 6 August 1947.202For the immigrant Chinese who did not undertake this home-boundjourney, many were involved in a feverish movement to rebuild theirnative counties through the familiar channel of the traditionalassociations.A special publication issued by the Hoy Ping DistrictAssociation Headquarters in Vancouver in 1947 illuminates thisendeavour.' One of the themes of this volume was the rebuilding ofKaiping's local economy and society. Some authors bemoaned thedesolation of the native place during eight years of Sino-JapaneseWar and exhorted every fellow-regional to contribute to itsreconstruction. Of special interest are the sections that chroniclethe various rehabilitation efforts made by the District Associationsince the war's conclusion. They reveal that a series of petitionshad been jointly submitted by the district associations of the"four counties" (Taishan, Kaiping, Enping, and Xinhui) to thegovernment authorities in South China. The request was about there-institution of local channels through which overseas remittanceswould reach their designated recipients. Remittances had long beena lifeline of the overseas Chinese area in this part of China, andstoppage during the war had been devastating to it. Thus, theChinese abroad were anxious to restore this flow of capital for the7 Zhuyun Quaniia Kaiping Zonq Huiguan tekan (A SpecialIssue of the Hoy Ping District Association Canadian Headquarters inVancouver) (1947). It informs the discussion in the following twoparagraphs. See also the materials in the Association's file inCCRC, Box 3, particularly the transcript of an interview with LeeQuaff Yut, 21 June 1961. Lee had been the secretary of theAssociation for more than three decades.203area's survival.Reportedly, the Hoy Ping District Association also went togreat lengths to bring to justice a group of local scoundrels inKaiping who had foreclosed on the overseas Chinese dependents.Considering itself as a reincarnation of lineage authority, theAssociation did not hesitate to intercede with the Chineseofficials when members of its own district were abused. Last butnot least, the Association commissioned a preliminary report on thecondition of the Kaiping Overseas Chinese Middle School as a firststep to restoring this educational facility. The school was foundedwith overseas Chinese money mainly from Canada in the mid-thirties.The Association therefore claimed to have a moral obligation tooversee its speedy recovery.The endeavour of the Hoy Ping District Association was notexceptional. Between 1946 and 1949, news reports of similaractivities of many native place and clan associations were a fairlyregular feature in the Chinese language press. ° Time and again,campaigns were organized to raise funds for general charities,local defense, flood relief, the improvement of localtransportation, and the restoration of market towns, all of themreminiscent of similar actions by the same organizations before theSecond World War.8See the English index of the Chinese Times in the CCRC,Box 5, Files 11-13. Also the brief discussion by Graham Johnson inEdgar Wickberg ed., From China to Canada: A History of the ChineseCommunities in Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982), pp.230-31.204These events occurred during a period in the late 1940s whena lasting peace in China failed to materialize and the conflictbetween the Kuomintang-controlled Nationalist government and theChinese Communist Party escalated into a full-scale civil war. Thisconfusing political development, hyper-inflation throughout China,and the chaos in the native regions of the various district andclan associations were disheartening. Yet the struggle forrehabilitation of the native area persisted with the hope of makinglife more bearable for people at home. Ironically, the effortsappear to vanish almost overnight with the establishment of theCommunist "order."The Chinese in Vancouver were generally apprehensive ofCommunist rule in China. The new regime initially created an air ofanxiety, which was soon superseded by outrage and despair when thecommunist cadres began to implement land reform and instigate classstruggle in Guangdong in 1950. The Chinese in Vancouver sawthemselves and their families at home being penalized for theirownership of land and other properties. 9 In this context, all priorefforts at rebuilding the native place were rendered fruitless, and9 For a useful overview of Communist China's domesticoverseas Chinese policy, see Stephen Fitzgerald, China and the Overseas Chinese: A Study of Peking's Changing Policy, 1949-1970 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), Chapter Four. Moresharply focused on the Guangdong area and on the early years of theCommunist regime, and therefore more pertinent for the discussionhere, is the recent study by Glen Peterson, "Socialist China andthe Huagiao: The Transition to Socialism in the Overseas ChineseAreas of Rural Guangdong, 1949-1956," Modern China Vol. 14, no. 3(1988), pp. 309-35.205local rehabilitation projects sponsored by the traditionalassociations came to an abrupt halt.Hong Kong as a Surrogate and a Cultural Model This traumatic turn of events, however, did not obliterate thenative place concern of the immigrant Chinese in Vancouver.Immediately after 1949, the traditional organizations began toshift their attention from their home areas to the nearby Britishcolony of Hong Kong, which provided sanctuary for many Chinesefleeing from Mainland China. Among these refugees were the familiesand relatives of the overseas Chinese, who desperately neededassistance to resettle.Hong Kong, of course, had no problem at all in capturing theattention of the Chinese in diaspora. As the major port ofembarkation for Chinese from South China and as a regionalcommercial hub, it enjoyed numerous personal, organizational,business, and social connections with Chinese overseas. The latterhad long been using Hong Kong and its various Chinese institutionsas an interface between themselves and China. The most famousexample of such an institution was the Tung Wah Hospital, theleading Chinese charitable organization in the colony. Since itsfounding in 1869, it had arranged the shipment of bones of deceasedoverseas Chinese back to the home villages for reburial, andadministered relief work in China on behalf of Chinese206organizations in foreign countries. 10 After 1949, as the homedistricts in Communist China were temporarily beyond reach and acritical mass of fellow natives had assembled in the colony, HongKong naturally became a surrogate.In Vancouver, among the first reactions of the Chinese to theestablishment of the People's Republic of China in October 1949 wasa succession of appeals by the CBA to the Canadian immigrationauthorities and individual members of the Parliament that theprocessing of immigration application at the Hong Kong office beexpedited. In the following years, Foon Sien Wong repeatedlycommunicated to the federal government the request that theCanadian immigration office in Hong Kong be expanded and that fairand due assessment procedures be installed. 11In the meantime, the regional organizations in Hong Kongattempted to take care of the local needs of the swelling Chinesepopulation. They decidedly capitalized on native place sentimentsand turned to their counterparts overseas for support. 12 Availableevidence suggests that the native place associations in Vancouvern Elizabeth Sinn, Power and Charity: The Early History ofthe Tung Wah Hospital, Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford UniversityPress, 1990), pp. 72-73, 77, and 103-13.11 Chinese Times 15 October 1949, 10 January 1950, 7 June1950, and 3 November 1950.12 See the preliminary study of these organizations in HongKong in the post-war period by Elizabeth Sinn, "Challenges andResponses: The Development of Hong Kong's Regional Associations,1945-1990," a paper presented at the Twelfth Conference of theInternational Association of Historians of Asia, June 24-28, 1991,University of Hong Kong.207responded generously. The most celebrated example in the early1950s was the fund raising campaign to finance relief after theShek Kip Mei squatter settlement in Hong Kong was razed to theground by fire on Christmas Day in 1953. Believing that a sizeablenumber of the victims were natives from Taishan, the Hoy Sun NingYung Benevolent Association took the lead in the fund drive. Afterconsulting the national headquarters in Victoria, a sum ofHK$20,000 was cabled to Hong Kong in the name of the twoorganizations. Appeals were also sent to other traditionalorganizations, which followed with less substantial but stillimpressive contributions. 13Apart from this incident, other examples of Vancouver'sChinese organizations dispensing charities in Hong Kong during the1950s and 1960s were numerous. Many of these actions, like that inthe aftermath of the Shek Kip Mei fire, were one-time occurrencesaroused by emergencies. A movement to collect winter clothes forHong Kong took place in 1959 when a large number of newly arrivedChinese were caught by severe winter weather. Similar kinds ofrelief undertakings were repeated in 1962 after another heavy waveof "escapees" from Mainland China ran for their lives to the13 Huang Jishang, "Jianada Yungaohua Taishan NingyangHuiguan shilue," (A Short History of the Hoy Sun Ning YungBenevolent Association in Vancouver), an excerpt from TaishanNinqyang Huiquan liushi zhounian jinian tekan (Hoy Sun Ning YungBenevolent Association Sixtieth Anniversary Special Issue) (1958),from the Association's file, CCRC Box 3. See also the numerousreports in the January and February 1954 issues of the Chinese Times.208colony. " In addition, long-term commitments appeared. The ChungShan Lung Jen Association, for instance, contributed regularly tothe distribution of rice in winter to fellow natives in thecolonial city. 15 School education in Hong Kong also drew financialsupport from Vancouver's Chinese associations. In at least onecase, overseas delegates from Vancouver were known to berepresented on a local school board.' 6This aspect of the Hong Kong-bound activities of Chineseorganizations lasted for almost two decades after 1949. If nothingelse, it tells us something about the tenacity of native placesentiments of the elderly immigrants who were active in thetraditional associations during this period. To be sure, theenthusiasm for relief and welfare work in Hong Kong declinedgradually over the years, perhaps because the emotional attachmentto the native areas was too strong and too specific to betransferred artificially to a secondary location. It finally cameto an end in the late 1960s because the Chinese in Hong Kong becamesettled and acquired relative sufficiency. But during the periodwhen Hong Kong acted as a surrogate native place for VancouverChinese, the young new immigrants and their organizations were14 See the February 1959 and early 1962 issues of theChinese Voices.15^Ibid. 5 October 1963, 30 October 1965, and 5 November1969.16 It was the Hoy Ping District Association. Chinese Times 1 March 1952; Chinese Voice 1 March 1954, 22 March 1962, 17December 1963, and 4 September 1964.209coincidentally finding Hong Kong to be of growing culturalinterest.As highlighted in Chapter Two, the young newcomers in thepost-war period were trying to promote various social, cultural,and recreational activities particular to their own cohort.Information is too limited to indicate whether this group wasactually attempting to recreate facilities in Hong Kong. However,circumstantial evidence suggests that Hong Kong offered models andinspiration for them.For one thing, an increasing number of new immigrants from themid-1950s on seem to have carried the imprint of Hong Kong, wherethey had often spent a number of years before coming to Canada.Evidence is suggested by the fact that, in 1958, among Chineseimmigrants Hong Kong started to surpass China as the self-reportedcountry of last permanent residence. 17 For another, Vancouver'sChinese population, like the rest in North America, always enjoyeda certain rapport with Hong Kong Chinese because of their commonsubscription to Southern Guangdong local culture and a set ofrelated and mutually intelligible Cantonese sub-dialects. This wasHong Kong culture's advantage over cultural exports from Taiwan orMainland China. Finally, the image of Hong Kong as a rapidly17 See Table 5.1. The trend may have been accentuated by thesecurity concerns of the Canadian government which saw that someyears of residence in Hong Kong should be mandatory for immigrationapplicants originated from Communist China. See the discussion inFreda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1972), pp. 332 -33.210Table 5.1The Number of Immigrants Entering Canada from China1949-1965Year^China^Hong Kong1949-50 841 1831950-51 2,148 261951-52 2,696 391952-53 1,904 471953-54 1,881 1321954-55 1,712 2191955-56 1,897 6461956 1,491 5721957 828 7781958 883 1,6961959 513 1,9681960 178 1,1051961 110 6801962 244 4261963 179 1,0081964 184 2,4901965 197 4,155and Hong Kong,N.B. Between 1966 and 1970, Hong Kong was subsumed under thecategory of "China" on the list of last countries of permanentresidence of the new immigrants.Sources: The Immigration Branch, Department of Mines andResources, Annual Reports 1946-1949; Department ofCitizenship and Immigration, Annual Reports 1949-1956;and Immigration Statistics 1956-1970.211modernizing yet Chinese city rendered it a most attractive model ofmodern Chinese culture.Hong Kong's influence was especially visible in Vancouver inthe realm of Chinese popular culture. Watching Cantonese moviesproduced in the colony gradually became a favourite pastime as thelocal audience got familiar with the cast of Hong Kong actors andactresses. 18 In addition, the three musical societies active instaging Cantonese operas in Chinatown (Jin Wah Sing, Ching Won, andNgai Lum, newly established in 1961) ordered their musicalinstruments and costumes from Hong Kong, and also extended theirrepertoire by learning from its visiting opera troupes. In 1961,Jin Wah Sing went as far as to import talent directly by sponsoringone of the colony's famous maestros to come over as an instructorfor its members. 19 This practice was comparable to that of someliterary societies that stacked their small libraries with Chineselanguage publications from Hong Kong. 20Not everyone felt comfortable with such Hong Kong influence.Some elderly Chinese resented seeing their young critics under thesway of Hong Kong culture. Curiously, they found allies among thefew pro-Communist radicals associated with the Chinese YouthAssociation. The latter considered Hong Kong as a hybrid of Chinese18 See the literary supplements of the Chinese Voice whichhad a fairly regular sub-section on current movies.19^Chinese Voice 8 and 22 February 1961.n See two examples in ibid. 17 September 1955, and 9December 1958.212culture and British colonialism, something not particularlyadmirable. At a time when the local Chinese population began toexperience another influx of new immigrants from Hong Kong after1967, a critical commentator responded in the Da Zhong Bao in thefollowing fashion:The unsophisticated overseas Chinese community hasbeen like an inland sea which is calm and clean. Now thecoming in of more water from the ocean [referringobviously to the Hong Kong immigrants] will inevitablylead to some changes... Let us hope that theunsophisticated overseas Chinese community can persevere.By upholding our wonderful heritage [of simplicity andfrugality], it will benefit not only us, but also thecoming generations. nSuch shared dislike of Hong Kong and its cultural sway did notbring these two groups any closer together. Nevertheless, theirsensitive observations confirmed the increasing presence of HongKong influence. No wonder the author of a popular handbook forimmigration to Canada, published in the colony in 1968, describedVancouver's Chinatown as "Xiao Xianggang" (Little Hong Kong). 22Longing for the "Cultural China" Besides native place and Hong Kong, many immigrant Chinese21^26 April 1968.n Lin Sen, Yimin Jianada bidu (Must-Reading for Emigrationto Canada) (Hong Kong: Lin Sen, 1968), pp. 57-58. The firstreference I found to the idea of Vancouver's Chinatown as "XiaoXianggang" is in Chinese Voice 20 March 1968.213showed a strong interest in Chinese culture, defined by differentpeople to mean various things such as Chinese language, literature,thoughts, ethics, values, history, and visual and performing art.A majority of ethnic Chinese institutions in Vancouver could claimsome credit in the preservation and promotion of Chinese cultureabroad. Again there were differences in definition and emphasis.The traditional organizations, for instance, tended to endorsea more holistic view of Chinese culture. They enshrined values suchas clanship, native place sentiments, filial piety, and mutualassistance through their ritual performances. 23 They also supportedefforts at Chinese cultural maintenance, especially the Chineselanguage schools in Chinatown. In the same spirit, several surnameand native place associations made donations to the proposed AsianLibrary at the University of British Columbia in the early fifties,and some began to set up scholarship funds for the children oftheir members in the following years. 24Articulating the same sentiment from a more influential23 Chinben See's study on the Chinese in the Philippines isfull of anthropological insights on the traditional organizationsand Chinese cultural persistence in an overseas Chinese context."Feilubin Huaren wenhua di zhixu," (Persistence and Preservation ofChinese Culture in the Philippines) Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica Vol. 42 (1976), pp. 119-206.24 Among the benefactors were the Hoy Ping DistrictAssociation, Shon Yee Benevolent Association, Wong Kong Har Tong,Wong Wun San Society, and Yue San Association. Chinese Times 2April 1952, 7 and 27 November 1952, 8 January 1953, 23 February1953, and 9 March 1953. The Lam Sai Ho Tong, Chan Wing Chun Tong,and Mah Society were known to offer scholarships in the 1960s. SeeChinese Voice 11 June 1968.214position were the opinion-makers in the ethnic press. To a largeextent, the three Chinese language newspapers -- the Chinese Times,the Chinese Voice, and the New Republic -- were all preservingChinese culture by way of sustaining and nurturing the interest ofa Chinese-language readership, reporting events from Chineseperspectives, and providing space for Chinese literarypublication. 25 Sometimes, the message was far more explicit.Consider the following excerpt from the writings of David Lee whotaught at the Chinese Public School in Victoria for a long time andwas occasionally on the editorial staff of the New Republic:Chinese civilization is both broad and profound. Ithas served as the national foundation of China for thelast five thousand years. At the same time, itsscholarship, ethics, and society were all pioneers in thehistory of human civilization. For us who live overseas,we must understand that we are, above all else, Chinese,even though the social norms and practices that we havehere are at variance with the cultural standard in ournative country. As Chinese, our thoughts andconsciousness should be based principally on Chinesecivilization. This is an unalterable principle and shouldalways be taken as such. At present [in the mid-1960s],there are not a few Chinese youth in our community who25 Jean Burnet has pointed out the difficulty inascertaining the circulation of ethnic newspapers, in Burnet withHoward Palmer, "Coming Canadians": An Introduction to a History of Canada's Peoples (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1988), p. 200.The following are just estimates regarding the three Chineselanguage newspapers in Vancouver: The Chinese Times was increasingits local circulation from about two thousand to three thousandcopies. It was followed closely by the Chinese Voice. Way behindwas the New Republic, which was subsidized by Taiwan from the1960s.215suffer from a sense of inferiority. Under the influenceof western culture, they disregard the loftiness ofChinese civilization and claim themselves to beCanadians. As a matter of fact, westerners still keep usethnic Chinese at a distance and seldom consider usCanadians. How embarrassing it is [for these Chinese]!We should realize that it is not at all shameful tobe Chinese. Indeed, it is a great honour. We Chinese havebeen residing in foreign countries for generations.However, because of our forefathers' tradition and ourhighly developed civilization, we have not beenassimilated. So all ethnic Chinese should not be troubledby any inferiority complex. With ethnic pride anddignity, we shall respect and learn more about our nativeculture, and at the same time, love our people. Ourendowments have been great. Let us carry forward ournoble cause and forge ahead into the future. 26So according to this more sophisticated version rendered by one ofthe few Chinese intellectuals associated with the ethnic press, thelanguage schools, and the traditional organizations, the overseasChinese should take pride in being "Chinese" because they were thebearers of a marvellous civilization. They were told that it wasthe resilience of this great cultural heritage which kept them"Chinese," despite the propensity for assimilation that came withresidence in a foreign country. The logical step was to hold on tothis culture and retain one's faith in its greatness by means ofproper teaching. In this manner the heritage could be passed onfrom generation to generation.Some new immigrant youth felt equally strong about their roots26 Jianada Huaqiao shi (A History of the Chinese in Canada)(Taipei: Canada Free Press, 1967), pp. 470-71.216in Chinese civilization, but were generally more critical of itscultural content. They tended to distinguish between certainelements of Chinese culture which they considered valuable andrelevant, and others which they believed should be reformed ordiscarded. They clearly showed their preference by activelypromoting Chinese music, art, and literary creation. At the sametime, they seemed more than willing to learn from correspondingwestern cultural forms. Subject to their criticism, however, wereConfucianist thought, parochial identities and sentiments, andparental authoritarianism. 27Apparently these young immigrants brought with them a moreforward-looking perspective with regards to Chinese culture. Theyseemed to speak more about advancement and revitalization than itspreservation and maintenance. In order for Chinese culture toremain great, they would argue, it must be constantly reformed orrenewed in different historical contexts. And herein lay themomentum behind their energetic programmes to promote Chinesecultural activities.Local Manifestations of Old-world Politics Lastly, some Vancouver Chinese were interested in Chinese27 See, for example, the following article by a Hai FungClub member, "Kongzi he huaqiao shehui," (Confucius and theOverseas Chinese Community) Chinese Voice 5 August 1963. See alsoChapter Two for a more detailed discussion of the perspectives ofthe new immigrant youth on the question of Chinese culture and thecommunity.217politics. The national salvation movement during the Sino-JapaneseWar had left behind a legacy of what the overseas Chinese could,and perhaps should, do when their native country was in crisis. Inthe early post-war period a concern for political change in Chinawas vividly demonstrated in the campaigns, during the winter of1947-48, to elect delegates to the National People's Congress, theLegislative Yuan (Assembly), and the Supervisory Yuan of theNationalist government. Vancouver Chinatown was the scene of a keencompetition among the traditional associations, which nominatedcandidates and set up campaign committees. a Besides differencesin political opinion, local prestige and influence were at stake.The local Kuomintang was undoubtedly the group mostenthusiastic about upholding the banner of Chinese politics inVancouver. The Party and its supporters had enjoyed a relativelyascendant influence in Chinatown from the 1920s to the mid-1940s.They wanted to ensure that allegiance to the Nationalist regimewould be equated continuously with concern for China and be takenas an irreducible part of being "Chinese." They believed that theKuomintang orthodoxy rightly praised the contribution of theoverseas Chinese to the early history of the Chinese Republic. Suchsupport from abroad, they now insisted, became indispensable to theKuomintang's political legitimacy after its military debacle in28 Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission comp., Qiaowu ershiwunian (Overseas Chinese Affairs, 1932-57) (1958), pp. 56-58, 160-67.For the campaigning in Chinatown, see particularly the November1947 issues of the Chinese Times.218Mainland China and eventual withdrawal to Taiwan. 29The Nationalist government, however, never viewed the Chinesein Canada as a major front in its overseas Chinese policy. The realbattles were fought elsewhere: in the United States and in someSoutheast Asian countries where Chinese settlements were larger andmore affluent and which offered greater diplomatic advantages.Notwithstanding, the Kuomintang's supporters in Vancouverpersevered. 3° Locally, they had a regional chapter and the Canadianhead branch, both of them housed in the party property on thesouthwestern corner of Gore and Pender Streets. They faithfullyobserved all Taiwan-prescribed events and in 1958 began thepublication of the party newspaper, the New Republic, relocatedfrom Victoria. 31The Kuomintang's local influence was more extensive than itsparty apparatus suggested because its members were well -entrenched29 Wing Chung Ng, "Taiwan's Overseas Chinese Policy from1949 to the Early 1980s," in Larry N. Shyu et al., East Asia Inquiry: Selected Articles from the Annual Conferences of the Canadian Asian Studies Association 1988-1990 (Montreal: CASA,1991), pp. 265-86, especially pp. 275-77.30 Their dissatisfaction with Taiwan's lack of supportsurfaced sometimes in the Chinese press. For example, see acritical essay directed at the Nationalist government, entitled"Zhengqu huaqiao zhidao" (The Way to Win over the OverseasChinese), Chinese Voice 6-9 July 1964. During Party conventions,resolutions were routinely passed to request more direct assistancefrom Taiwan. This may reflect a genuine concern, or this may be aritualized demonstration of loyalist criticism. See the resolutionsadopted in the Kuomintang Head Branch's Thirteenth Convention heldin Vancouver in the October 1955 issues of the Chinese Voice.31^David Lee, Jianada Huaqiao shi, pp. 319-20, 350-51.219in the leadership of some traditional organizations such as the LeeClan Association, the Lung Kong Kung So, the Lam Sai Ho Tong, theHoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association, and the Hoy Ping DistrictAssociation. The party was in firm control of the Chinese PublicSchool, and by the early sixties came to dominate the CBA as well.More often than the use of party machinery, public support wasmobilized and an aura of Chinese solidarity behind the Nationalistregime was portrayed through these presumably non-partisanchannels. Thus, in 1953 Kuomintang supporters could proudlyproclaim that more than forty Chinese organizations participated inthe founding of the Anti-Communist National SalvationAssociation. 32Moreover, the Kuomintang in Vancouver could count on theChinese Consulate-General of the Nationalist government forassistance. The consular officials were active in cultivatingChinese support. Besides attending regularly Chinese organizationalfunctions, they sometimes acted as if they were spokesmen for theVancouver Chinese. For several times the Consul-General personallyled a delegation of Chinese representatives to the Vancouver PoliceDepartment petitioning for more protection against criminalactivities. 33 In mid-1959, the Pacific National ExhibitionCommittee invited the Consul-General to organize the Chinese to32^Chinese Times 9, 16, and 27 March 1953.n Chinese Voice 15 December 1956, 12 December 1957, and 21April 1960.220participate in this annual event. 34 Evidence shows that theconsular officials never hesitated to use their influence toadvocate anti -Communism. They showered praises and awards onChinese leaders who steadfastly expressed their loyalty to theChinese regime in Taiwan. They were most vocal in presentingalarming accounts of Communist "infiltration" of the Chineseminority in Canada. 35Despite its strengths, for a number of reasons theKuomintang's objective to establish some kind of a politicalhegemony in Chinatown was hard to attain. First, the Kuomintang hadto contend with the exceptionally strong position of the ChineseFreemasons in British Columbia. Freemason orthodoxy to date upholdsthat their earlier members had completely devoted themselves to thecause of revolution championed by Sun Yat-sen, only to find, in theaftermath of the 1911 Revolution, that they were betrayed and •besieged by Kuomintang influence. For the Chinese Freemasons tosurvive such betrayal and maintain their local influence againstthe Kuomintang challenge, the revivalist Dart Coon Club was formedin the 1910s within the Freemasonry apparatus. 36Even though the Chinese Freemasons had no effective avenue to34^Ibid. April-August 1959.See Chinese Voice 25 July 1963 and Province 27 August1959 respectively.36^Harry Con, Zhongquo Hongmen zai Jianada (The ChineseFreemasons in Canada) (Vancouver: Chinese Freemasons CanadianHeadquarters, 1989), pp. 15-39.221participate in Chinese politics, they did maintain a politicalposition on China well into the post-war years. Indeed, for twentyyears after the Chinese Communist Party rose to power, the ChineseFreemasons continued to portray themselves as an equal partner withthe two contending Chinese regimes in any political discourse onChina. On various occasions, such as the Third All-America ChineseFreemasons Convention held in Vancouver in 1950 and another partyconvention in 1967, they issued lengthy political declarations tocondemn the Kuomintang and the Communist dictatorial governmentsand to reiterate the Freemasons' belief in democracy and peacefulcoexistence among the political contenders as the destiny forChina. 37Compared with the Chinese Freemasons, no less troublesome forthe Kuomintang were the small group of Communist sympathizers amongthe young new immigrants. Immediately after 1949, the Kuomintangcapitalized quite successfully on the general alienation of theChinese from the Communist regime and put itself in an advantageousposition in the traditional associations. However, young newcomerswho kept aloof from these organizations were beyond its reach.Though Canada was a professed anti-Communist country, it generatedno large-scale witch-hunt comparable to the United States in theMcCarthy era that the Kuomintang could tap for its own benefit.Much to the latter's annoyance, in the fifties the pro-Communist37 The Freemasonry political canons are reprinted in HarryCon, Zhonqquo Hongmen zai Jianada, pp. 50 - 53, 81-82.222Chinese Youth Association managed to persist and even develop intoa visible body.The Chinese Youth Association articulated its political stancemost effectively in the Da Zhong Bao (The Masses) which beganpublication in 1961. The editorial policy of this semi-monthly, andlater weekly, was decidedly pro-Communist China. It gave emphasisto all kinds of positive reports on the People's Republic: thecountry's economic transformation, advancement in technology andscientific knowledge (such as the successful explosion of China'sfirst hydrogen bomb headlined in red on June 17, 1967),achievements in sports and cultural performance, and improvement inforeign diplomacy (including, of course, its establishment ofdiplomatic relationship with Canada in October 1970). By contrast,the Kuomintang party regime in Taiwan was disparaged as aninternally corrupt and externally weak-kneed regime devoid ofChinese pride and dignity. In one of Da Zhong Bao's most favouriteterms, the Nationalist government and its overseas underlings werederided as "minzu bailei" (Scum of the [Chinese] race). 38With typical belligerence, the Da Zhonq Bao could be veryconfrontational. In January 1970, the newspaper was the first toreport on the Nationalist Chinese Consul-General's clandestine38 Examples are just too many to cite here. Take the HongKong riots in 1967, during which Taiwan was severely criticized forits endorsement of the British colonial government's policy ofsuppression. Addressing the Nationalist government, one essay wasentitled "Bushi minzu bailei shi shenme?" (What are they, if notthe scum of the [Chinese] race?) Da Zhong Bao 15 September 1967.223selling of the official residence in Shaughnessy and his abscondingwith the proceeds to Seattle. It then accused the local Kuomintangleaders of covering up the scandal and criticized the other Chinesenewspapers for their lassitude in the expose: 9 Later in the year,the Da Zhong Bao got into another acrimonious dispute with theChinese Times that lasted for five months. The bone of contentionwas the Chinese Freemasons' professed neutrality in the prolongedconflict between the two Chinese regimes. But according to the DaZhonq Bao, what really triggered the debate in May 1970 was therefusal of the Chinese Freemasons to acknowledge "objectively" theprofound achievements of the Communist government since 1949. TheFreemasons were castigated for their "jia zhongli" (phoneyneutrality); were called "jia aiguo" (pseudo-patriotic) and"fangong, fanhua, fan renmin" (anti-Communist, anti-China, anti-people); and charged with having no "minzu zunyan" (ethnic pride)and accused of being potentially another group of "minzu bailei."00By associating support for the People's of Republic of China soabsolutely with the content of Chinese identity, the Da Zhong Baowas basically playing the same game of defining "Chineseness" interms of political allegiance to a Chinese regime as the Kuomintanghad done for decades. In response, the Chinese Times reasserted itshistorical right of expressing non-Communist and non-KuomintangSee particularly the issues of 31 January, 7 February,and 14 February 1970.40^Da Zhonq Bao various issues from May to October 1970.224opinions. The Da Zhonq Bao, as the Freemasons rebuked, was simplya victim of Maoist radicalism.'"Finally, a discomforting situation for all three politicalinterest groups -- the Kuomintang, the Chinese Freemasons, and theChinese Youth Association -- was the growing apathy towards Chinesepolitics among the Vancouver Chinese. With some exceptions, thishappened generally among the local-born Chinese. They might stillhave some thoughts on the Communist and Nationalist regimes,especially when they were approached by non-Chinese for a "Chinese"opinion. But they did not feel that Chinese politics per se wasimportant or relevant to their lives in Canada. The "tusheng"organizations discussed in Chapter Three were all indifferent toold-world politics. Equally amazing was the categorical refusal ofmany immigrant youth organizations such as the Hai Fung Club to getentangled in Chinese political debates. According to the Club'sconstitution and to the interpretations of former members, thesubject was too controversial and had nothing to do with being"Chinese. ”412Even among the elderly immigrants, such political apathy wasconceivable. They were initially antagonistic towards the ChineseCommunists. But steadily over the post-war years, they becamedisillusioned with the Nationalist regime as well. They blamed the41 Various issues of Chinese Times May-October 1970,especially 3 June and 23 October.42 Haifenghui liniankan (Hai Fung Club: A SouvenirPublication) (1968), pp. 3-4. See my discussion in Chapter Two.225Kuomintang for giving the Communists a chance in the first place byits misgovernment. With the passage of each year after 1949,Taiwan's anti-Communist rhetoric and its promise to retake MainlandChina sounded increasingly hollow and incredible. The outcome wasa common resignation of the older settlers over the course ofpolitical changes in China. 43 Before long, some Chinese began toconsider Chinese politics not a banner to be upheld at all timesbut a potential nuisance to stay away from if possible. Theclearest example of this attitude was the backlash in August 1959against the Chinese Consul-General's anti-Communist propaganda.After another round of exposes to the Canadian media aboutCommunist "infiltration" in Chinatown, some Chinese organizationsled by the Chinese Trade Workers Association and the ChineseFreemasons criticized the Consul-General publicly for his remarks.Behind their reaction was growing Chinese apprehension of possiblecrackdown on illegal immigration by the Canadian government, afearful and dreadful event which actually took place less than ayear later."43^See, for example, the New Year messages in the non-partisan Chinese Voice in the last day of publication every yearduring the 1950s.44^As expected, only the New Republic came to the Consul-General's defense, whereas the opinions expressed in both theChinese Voice and the Chinese Times were very critical. See theirvarious issues during August-September 1959. Drawing on theopinions of the Consul-General's critics, a post-mortem on thegovernment investigation of illegal immigration furnished by theChinese Canadian Citizens Association also implicated him inarousing the Canadians' distrust of the Chinese. Chinese Voice 27December 1962.226The China-orientation of the Vancouver Chinese was thereforea multi-layered phenomenon. Its political dimension was inperceptible decline in the post-war period, but its importance tocertain political interest groups should not be underestimated. Thesupport for Chinese culture also had its local champions. Yetanother underlying dimension was the strong attachment to nativeplace and a determined effort to contribute to its progress. Theenthusiasm for rebuilding the home districts was clearly evident inthe second half of the 1940s. After 1949 it was redirected towardsHong Kong. Hong Kong, of course, was more than a surrogate nativeplace as the colonial society began to produce its own attractivecultural models and "Hong Kong-filtered" Chinese immigrants in thepost-war years.Unlike the China-orientation that was manifested principallyamong Chinese immigrants, an orientation towards the host countryand local society was more commonly shared among Chinese.Regardless of one's status, whether as an immigrant or as a local-born, a Chinese person had to come to terms in some way with therealities of Canadian life. Moreover, the decline of racialbarriers and the increasing openness of Canadian society to membersof the minorities in the post-war period encouraged Chinese toarticulate their interest and sense of belonging to Canada. Thefollowing discussion will focus on the Chinese engagement with theCanadian political process and look at how Chinese people attempted227to overcome some of the major disabilities they faced as an ethnicminority, to improve their collective standing and bargainingposition as Canadian citizens, and to defend their right as localresidents against state encroachment.This approach differs from most studies of acculturation orethnic change which tend to assemble information on linguisticusage, residential preference, intermarriage pattern, occupationalchange, and associational life. These variables are considered asocial index showing "objectively" the ethnocultural trajectory ofthe group under observation. 45 This study, by contrast, aims toelucidate Chinese discourse on their own ethnic experience. Thesubjects chosen for discussion are therefore those that havewitnessed active and conscious Chinese involvement and haveelicited the most comment from the Chinese themselves.The Fight for Fairer Immigration LawThe Toronto-based campaign to repeal the Chinese ImmigrationAct of 1923 relied upon non-Chinese leadership and support, andproved victorious in 1947. These facts are well-established in theliterature." More obscure is the persistent attempt of the Chinese45 A recent example from the American ethnic studiesliterature is A. Portes & R.G. Rambaut, Immigrant America: APortrait (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).46 See the succinct discussion in Edgar Wickberg, "ChineseOrganizations and the Canadian Political Process: Two CaseStudies," in J. Dahlie and T. Fernando eds., Ethnicity, Power andPolitics in Canada (Toronto: Methuen, 1981), pp. 172-76.228to redress the residual injustice in the immigration legislationafter that historic victory. This second phase of the campaign wasbased in Vancouver and was led by the CBA, or more exactly, by FoonSien Wong who took the task upon himself as his personal crusade.This effort centred on Foon Sien's annual trips to Ottawa tolobby the federal government between 1950 and 1959. Each time, hepresented a brief that contained very specific requests. Their mainthrust was to expand the range of admissible categories ofrelatives of the Chinese in Canada. 47 Though every trip did notbear fruit immediately, some concrete results were achieved. Basedapparently on the requests, the government allowed the admissibleage of immigrant children to be extended from eighteen to twenty-one in 1950. In the following year, it was agreed that childrenbetween twenty-one and twenty-five would be considered temporarilyon compassionate grounds. When this privilege was withdrawn in1955, Chinese parents above certain age limits were added to theadmissible categories. Another widely publicized example of Foon47 Chinese synopses of these documents were usuallyavailable in the Chinese language press. My search into variousarchival collections has uncovered three pieces of originaldocuments: "A Brief Concerning Immigration Laws Submitted to theCabinet by the Chinese Benevolent Association, March 24, 1950",PAC, RG 76, Vol. 122, File 23635; "A Brief Concerning ImmigrationLaws (and Citizenship Act) for Presentation to the Honourable J.W.Pickersgill, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Ottawa,Ontario, Canada by the Chinese Benevolent Association, March 1957",in CCRC, Box 12, File 2; and "A Brief Concerning Immigration Laws(and Citizenship Act) for Presentation to the Honourable Ellen L.Fairclough, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration by the ChineseBenevolent Association, June 24, 1959" in PAC, H.W. HerridgePapers, MG 32 C13, Vol. 40, File 5.229Sien's success, and of the government's humanity, was the cabinet'sapproval in 1956 of a special scheme for bridal sponsorship. 48This ongoing battle to fight for the right of immigration wasindicative of the changing Chinese relationship with Canada andwith its government in particular. The redresses initiated by FoonSien's lobbying in Ottawa were significant in themselves, as theyafforded at least some opportunities for the Chinese to pursue thehope of settling down with their families in Canada. But of greaterimportance were the messages conveyed by the dramatic annual replayof this crusade. For the first time in the history of the Chinesein this country, the Canadian state appeared to be veryapproachable and sympathetic to the Chinese on a critical issue,not just once but over a period of many years. Moreover, the modus operandi seemed to hinge upon the right person who had the skillsand the necessary contacts to communicate the viewpoints of theChinese effectively to the federal government.Both in and outside the minority, public recognition of FoonSien as the linchpin was indisputable. Foon Sien had the diplomaticskills and also the necessary connections with the government inpower because of his Liberal Party membership. Particularly withinthe ethnic group, there was a general consensus regarding the48 See Foon Sien's personal appraisal in Chinatown News 3May 1956. Some secondary accounts of these changes in governmentpolicy are less than reliable. For example, compare the above withthe information given in David Lee, Jianada Huagiao shi, pp. 365 -66, and Kay Anderson, Vancouver's Chinatown: Racial Discourse inCanada, 1875-1980 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's UniversityPress, 1991), pp. 179-186.230desirability of speaking with one voice on the important subject ofimmigration legislation. Each of Foon Sien's journeys to Ottawa wasfunded by money raised mainly among the Vancouver Chinese. TheChinese press followed closely his itinerary and reported on hispersonal diplomacy. Enjoying overwhelming support, Foon Sien's roleas a power broker in the CBA campaign was one of the best examplesof the Chinese approach to the Canadian government.Foon Sien was hardly the first or the last person who servedas spokesman of the Chinese in Canada. But in retrospect, his mostactive years in the CBA and his high-profile and flamboyantrepresentation of Chinese interests to the Canadian state andsociety in the 1950s did mark the golden age of brokerage politicsfor the Canadian Chinese. No individual leader has ever commandeda level of recognition among Chinese and non-Chinese on any singleissue as Foon Sien did in the matter of Chinese immigration.Brokerage has always been an important mechanism for the Chinese tonegotiate with the larger society. Yet after the 1950s, the CBA-style brokerage was no longer the only way, or for that matter thebest one, to articulate Chinese interests in the Canadian politicalprocess.In the late 1950s, Foon Sien finally reached the personallimits of his campaign for the right of immigration. His privilegedconnection with the federal government came to an end in June 1957when the Progressive Conservatives replaced the Liberals as theruling party. For a short while, he tried to work through Douglas231Jung, a Conservative from Vancouver Centre and also the firstCanadian Member of Parliament of Chinese background. However,according to Foon Sien himself, the effort was fruitless because ofofficial intransigence. The CBA subsequently resolved in March 1960not to send any further delegation to Ottawa." As it turned out,three months later Foon Sien had to journey to the capital again asthe leading delegate of Chinese representatives from across thecountry in the aftermath of the infamous RCMP nationwide operationagainst Chinese illegal immigration. Later in 1961 he wascompletely silenced on the issue after a related police raid on hisKitsilano residence."For the rest of the 1960s, Vancouver Chinese made nosignificant effort to advance their right in sponsoringimmigration. It was too sensitive an issue, and they were cautious.When an amnesty programme for illegal Chinese immigrants wasimplemented, and the Canadian immigration legislation wasliberalized, in 1962 and again in 1967, the official initiativeswere not based on any Chinese agitation or prior consultation withthe ethnic group. In the meantime, the Chinese seemed to haveventured into two other processes in their encounter with theCanadian state.49^Chinese Voice 2 April 1960, 6 December 1962.50^Vancouver Sun 15 July 1961.232Participation in Canadian Electoral Politics In contrast to the prolonged battle for a more openimmigration policy, the Chinese struggle for enfranchisement wasfully accomplished by 1949. With the "tusheng" Chinese CanadianAssociation and later, the Chinese Veterans organization leadingthe agitation, Chinese with Canadian citizenship by birth or bynaturalization gained their federal and provincial ballots in 1947,and got their municipal franchise in 1949. 51 With the Canadian-bornChinese and their organizations playing a visible role in theseevents, it is indeed surprising to see how little organized effortthey made regarding the exercise of these rights in the succeedingyears.Within the ethnic group, the CBA was again the principalwatchdog. Its task was less to prevent abuses against the right ofthe Chinese to vote than to encourage them to make use of theirfranchise. Throughout the fifties, the standard message of theAssociation, publicized before every election day, reminded theChinese of their former disenfranchisement as once a stigma oftheir second class status in Canada and the great pains taken toremove such disability. Accordingly, the Chinese were urged not totreat their ballots lightly. In addition, the Association regularly51 For a rather general discussion on the enfranchisement ofthe Chinese at the federal and provincial levels, see Carol F. Lee,"The Road to Enfranchisement: Chinese and Japanese in BritishColumbia," BC Studies no.30 (Summer 1976), pp.44-76. Foon Sien hasfurnished his personal reminiscences on many occasions. See, forexample, his article "Past Achievements, Future Aspirations," inChinatown News 3 January 1956.233dispensed information about registration to get onto the voters'list and the way to cast a ballot. A more partial action was toendorse the candidacy of certain individuals who were known fortheir "friendly" attitude towards the Chinese. 52 After 1953, thenewly established Vancouver chapter of the Toronto-based ChineseCanadian Citizens Association took on similar functions. Itconsisted of more or less the same group of people who were activein the CBA, though it tended to specialize in the promotion ofChinese participation in Canadian affairs. 53Initially, this method of encouraging political participationevoked limited Chinese response. In early 1950, Vancouver CityCouncil decided to close its ad hoc facility in Chinatown for theregistration of Chinese voters. Reportedly, the result of returning186 Chinese registrants out of an estimated 1,600 qualified votersin the neighbourhood was deemed to be too low to justify theexpense. 54 Robin Sharp, who undertook a study of Chinese electoralbehaviour in the same area in a series of provincial elections anda by-election between 1949 and 1956, discovered that the degree of52 The first public notice, that I am aware of, by the CBAasking qualified Chinese to register as voters appeared in ChineseTimes 19 April 1948. For reports on the CBA's promotion of Chineseelectoral participation in 1952 and 1953, see ibid. 18 August and9 December 1952, and 8 August and 8 December 1953 respectively. Seealso Figure 5.1 for a leaflet distributed by the CBA endorsingcandidates in a federal election.53 For a brief early history including its foundingexecutive and mandate, see Chinese Voice 1-4 August 1955.54^Chinese Times 23 February 1950.234Figure 5.1A Leaflet Showing the Endorsement of Candidates by the ChineseBenevolent Association in the Federal Election, 195341A.4-41111 terreasizabw.a.14141A-Klif • .00:(r<ar$g= ow 1)^• +VriiiSMINNEtWil • g$4:1,1:: gligErvica** • m,LEg$21MISA11-0**04441HWIMMg-EVV.ZOION•34171#87*11/-‹ i;ardittlA•E-^%AM; •-400401(NIM • 4 -41ra IM • 1•Ct!IPEC.Cr • .142111M414qlf•N Mis)*<%--K*Iiit3714. $4043.-Irrt.-*;^E - 14-4ME -Etk.*IC . 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F. pan=rtm414.73-#inSource: Foon Sien Wong Papers, Box 3.235Chinese involvement in this Canadian political exercise increasedonly modestly over the years. Whereas ten percent of the Chinesepopulation in 1949 were registered voters, the proportion increasedto twenty percent in 1952-53 and to 25 percent in 1956. It isfurther unclear whether or not this trend reflected a growth inChinese interest, because it may simply have been the result ofmore local-born Chinese reaching the age of eligible voters and anincrease in the number of naturalized Chinese."However, Sharp did highlight an important new factor in theprovincial by-election held in Vancouver Centre in early 1956. Forthe first time in Canadian history, an ethnic Chinese was runningfor public office. Douglas Jung, a second generation local-bornChinese originally from Victoria, and a lawyer by profession, wasnominated by the Progressive Conservatives as a by-electioncandidate for the B.C. legislature. The Chinese were reasonablyexcited. It is true that Jung had not been active previously inChinatown politics and organizations. For Chinese who showed someinterest in Canadian politics, the majority were Liberal supportersbecause that party had implemented the post-war amendments to thediscriminatory immigration legislation and had made a concertedeffort to recruit Chinese members. Nevertheless, Jung seems to havemade good use of his ethnic background in the campaign to drum up55 Robin Sharp, "A Study in the Voting Behaviour of theChinese in Vancouver Centre," B.A. essay in Political Science,University of British Columbia, 1956, pp. 23-42. Extant informationon the naturalization of immigrant Chinese is available in theCanadian Citizenship Statistics 1952-1980.236a semblance of widespread Chinese support. For example, manytraditional organizations and their leaders were formally on hiscampaign committee. In his reply to a report in the Vancouver Sunwhich surmised that Jung would face great difficulties in gettingChinese votes because of the entrenched Liberal influence among theChinatown elite, Foon Sien went as far as saying that the Chinesewere fully behind Jung."Regardless of the amount of support Jung received from theChinese, which is hard to determine, he was not elected. But as itturned out, his subsequent political career provided a cruciallandmark in the evolving Canadian orientation of the Chinese. InJune 1957 Jung became the first ethnic Chinese M.P. in the CanadianParliament when he defeated, quite unexpectedly, the incumbentDefense Minister Ralph Campney. In another election the followingMarch, Jung was able to widen his margin over his Liberal opponentby almost 10,000 votes. 57 Particularly in the latter election,Chinese support for Jung appeared to be solid and clear, and therewas virtually no dissenting view in the ethnic press. Theprevailing Chinese opinion was to endorse Jung's candidacy becausehe would be a valuable spokesman for the ethnic group at the apexof the Canadian polity."56 Vancouver Sun 29 December 1955; Chinese Voice 5 and 7January 1956.5 7 Chinese Voice 17 June 1957, 1 April 1958.58 See the March 1958 issues of the Chinese Times andChinese Voice.the Vancouver Sun237For the Chinese in Canada in general, Douglas Jung'sparliamentarian status (1957-62) served as a most concrete symbolof the country's openness and their full acceptance and integrationinto its political system. That Jung was from Vancouver of coursegenerated additional meaning for the Chinese there. The remotenessof Canadian politics was dramatically reduced and Jung presented achannel for Chinese to influence Ottawa. Vancouver Chinatownsuddenly lost all of its ghetto characteristics, and became part ofthe larger Canadian political landscape. Jung was not the firstCanadian politician to campaign in Chinatown, but from his time onaddressing a Chinese crowd in Vancouver's Chinatown becamefashionable for politicians running in Canadian elections. In 1962described this Chinatown as "aparadise" for Canada's political leaders. 59 Withinitself, Jung soon created his own network of patronagehis disadvantageous party affiliation. 60 When thespeaker'sChinatownto remedyLiberalsrebounded a few years later, a contest for local support ensued.The lively campaigns between the Conservative Jung and the LiberalJack Nicholson in Vancouver Centre during the parliamentaryelections of 1962 and 1963 was totally unprecedented in Chinatown59^15 June 1962.60 Chinese Voice 17 May 1958 on the Conservatives'membership drive in Chinatown. My understanding of Jung'srelationships with Chinese organizations and leaders in the late1950s and early 1960s benefitted considerably from talking to JackEng, Jung's right-hand man in Chinatown. Jung's correspondence withanother Chinatown-based supporter, Thomas Moore Whaum, also shedslight on this issue. In Thomas Moore Whaun Papers, Box 1, File 4.238history.Jung was defeated on both occasions. His credibility as afaithful spokesman for the Chinese was seriously damaged by hisassociation with the federal Conservatives, which during its rulehad adopted a tough immigration policy and had launched aninvestigation into illegal Chinese immigration. Thus the perceivedinterest of the ethnic group led many Chinese to choose Jung'sLiberal opponent. 61Notwithstanding Jung's failure to stage a comeback since 1962,the legacy of his political venture was immediately recognizable.Chinese confidence in their ability to participate in Canadianpolitics rose to a higher level. Chinese candidates became less andless a novelty in political elections. Campaigning at the same timeas Jung did in the federal election of 1963 was Gladys Chong, whohad run unsuccessfully in the civic election of the previous year.Three Chinese candidates were nominated in the municipal electionsof both 1968 and 1970. 62 By then, even the tone of editorialmessages that exhorted the Chinese to use their vote had changedfrom being retrospective and bitter over the past experience ofrejection and exclusion. This change is suggested in the followingarticle entitled "Ethnic Chinese Citizens should be Concerned aboutVancouver's Civic Elections," which appeared in the Chinese Voice 61^See the May-June 1962 and March-April 1963 issues of theChinese Times and Chinese Voice. Vancouver Sun 16 July 1962.62 Province 23 November 1962; Chinese Voice 27 February1963, 6 December 1968, and 28 November 1970.239on December 9, 1970:We must realize that the City of Vancouver belongs to allof us citizens. Some of us are locals, others are fromHong Kong or elsewhere; but now we all share the city'shonour and disgrace. Hence we should support our city andensure that it has a bright future. We should use ourballots to elect the most representative people to be themayor, aldermen, and board members. This is the best wayto show our affection for Vancouver and to make it intoa better place.The claim to be Vancouverites, to be members of the larger Canadiansociety could not be more explicit.To Defend the Neighbourhood: The Politics of Urban Renewal Besides developing an interest in Canadian politics, animportant segment of the Vancouver Chinese population was driveninto a prolonged confrontation with the city government over theissue of urban redevelopment. Harassment of various kinds by themunicipal authority was certainly not new in the history ofVancouver's Chinatown. In December 1955, after a long period ofneglect, officials in the Health Department suddenly convened aseries of meetings with the traditional associations, during whichthey bombarded the Chinese delegates with ideas about public healthdecency. They accused Chinatown as a potential health and firehazard to the city and demanded that renovation be undertaken by240the Chinese. The episode was reminiscent of similar incidentsearlier this century when Chinatown was caricatured as the"Celestial Cesspool" and a "Vice-town" by non-Chinese. 63 Thedifference was the more conscientious official effort at publicinformation and consultation in the later period. This decline inofficial arbitrariness was to offer the Chinese incentive and spacefor collective bargaining and peaceful resistance, as the followingaccount will show.In many North American cities, the post-war period saw anupsurge of interest in slum clearance, transport development, andurban renewal among municipal officials and planners. MostChinatowns happened to be close to downtown, occupying valuablelands in the eyes of the authorities. The popular association ofChinatowns with unsanitary conditions and run-down buildingsfurther justified draconian measures to eradicate these "plightareas" and restore them to the proper use in public interest." InVancouver, while the Chinese organizations proceeded with therenovation of their buildings located mainly in the commercial partof Chinatown, little did they know that the adjacent Strathconaresidential district would soon be engulfed by a gigantic63^See the December 1955, February and April 1956 issues ofthe Chinese Voice. For examples of the city's definition ofChinatown as public nuisance in the early period, see Anderson,Vancouver's Chinatown, Chapter Three.64 The general literature on urban redevelopment in NorthAmerica during this period is substantial. As far as CanadianChinatowns are concerned, see, for example, the discussion aboutToronto and Montreal by David Lai, Chinatowns pp. 146-54.241redevelopment effort. In 1957, senior officials in the City'sTechnical Planning Board released a document that envisioned atwenty-year urban renewal scheme, in which Strathcona wasdesignated as the primary target. 65Known to many people as the "China Valley," Strathcona hadwitnessed a steady influx of Chinese residents since the inter-warperiod because of its affordable accommodation and the proximity toChinatown. In 1947 more than a quarter of its inhabitants wereethnic Chinese, and the proportion steadily increased to about one-half in the late 1950s, and to some three quarters in the 1970s.Thus, even though the Chinese population in Vancouver continued todisperse, leaving about one-third residing in Strathcona around1960, the district remained as the most concentrated Chineseneighbourhood in this city. 66In early 1958, City Council endorsed the programme of itsplanners. The prospect of dislocation and future uncertainty caused65 City of Vancouver, Planning Department for the HousingResearch Committee, Vancouver Redevelopment Study (1957). An earlydocument that set the tone of redevelopment thinking for almost twodecades in Vancouver with particular reference to Strathcona was byLeonard Marsh, Rebuilding a Neighbourhood: Report on a Demonstration Slum-Clearance and Urban Rehabilitation Project in a Key Central Area in Vancouver (Vancouver: Research PublicationsNo.1, University of British Columbia, 1950).66 "History of Strathcona," a manuscript by Hayne Y. Wai,n.d., in City of Vancouver Archives, SPOTA Files, Add. Mss. 734,Vol. 16, File 2. Systematic information on Chinese residentialpatterns in Vancouver is not available, except the limited analysisby George Cho and Roger Leigh, "Patterns of Residence of theChinese in Vancouver," in J. Minghi ed., Peoples of a Living Land(Vancouver: B.C. Geographical Series no. 15, Tantalus, 1972), pp.67-84.242an uproar in Chinatown, even though the details of the proposalwere at first not widely known. The CBA called a meeting of therepresentatives from the traditional organizations and concernedChinese property owners in the area. A Chinatown Property OwnersAssociation, or the CPOA, was formed at that meeting to organizeChinese resistance to the scheme. 67 From then until 1962, the CBA-CPOA leaders attended public hearings and met with City officialsover the project. On four different occasions, they presentedbriefs to outline the adverse effects of redevelopment on theChinese. 68 The Chinese residents were afraid, they repeatedlyargued, that their livelihood was in jeopardy. Many of them wereeither seniors or new immigrants who lacked English languagefacility and resided in the ethnic neighbourhood for culturalcomfort and mutual care, or for accessibility to jobs in nearbyChinatown. Their suffering upon dispersal from Strathcona would beimmense. The CBA-CPOA delegates also insisted that resettlement inapartment buildings would be socially demeaning for Chinese who67^Chinese Voice 17, 19, 28, and 30 April 1958.68^The CPOA presented its first brief to the City Council inJune 1958. The second one was submitted first to the same authorityin October 1960 and re-submitted to the B.C. Royal Commission onExpropriation Laws and Procedures in July 1961. The last writtenpresentation to the City was made in October 1962. Chinesetranslation of the first two briefs was printed in the Chinese Voice 24-27 May 1958, and 5-8 August 1961. An original copy of thesecond document is also available in CCRC, Box 2, CPOA file. Anannotated version of the last brief was enclosed as Appendix IV-Cin the City of Vancouver, Technical Planning Board, Redevelopment Project No. 2 (July 1963). My following discussion of the Chineseperspectives is based on these documents and other Chinesenewspaper reports on the subject during this period.243were originally property owners. Intermingling with other ethnicgroups in such residential context would not be conducive to aharmonious relationship because the Chinese desired their owncontiguous social and cultural space.In their presentations, the CBA-CPOA leaders further laid outthe deleterious ramifications of the project for their "community."It would hurt Chinatown businesses by depriving them of Chinesecustomers and a good supply of labour. It would also be difficultfor scattered members to attend functions in the organizations.Enrolment at Chinese language schools would drop as children andtheir families would be dispersed. Later on, some Chinesecriticized the freeze of land values, which rendered properties inthe area unsaleable; the stoppage of all public works maintenance;the refusal to grant permits for private development andrenovation; and the allegedly unfair monetary offer made by thegovernment in its acquisition and expropriation of properties,beginning in 1961.When successive petitions by the CBA-CPOA failed to stop thebulldozers from coming to Strathcona, there was a general feelingof a community under siege. (Bear in mind the RCMP operationagainst illegal Chinese immigration that began in May 1960). InFebruary 1961 Foon Sien attended the first meetings of the Mayor'sRedevelopment Consultative Committee and returned bitterly to theCBA saying that "the municipal authority is determined to level our244Chinese neighbourhood." 69 A few months later, the first stage ofthe redevelopment project officially started, and no sooner had itbegun than a second stage was proposed. In October 1962 thesubmissions of nineteen Chinese organizations under the leadershipof the CBA-CPOA to oppose the proposal were again of no avail. 70By then the determination and intransigence of the city politiciansand planners had apparently exhausted the resolve of the Chinese.After the City Council approved in February 1963 the proposal forPhase Two, local Chinese seem to have resigned in despair and madeno effort to resist the machine of redevelopment until 1967.One outcome of the above development was the discrediting ofthe traditional CBA-style brokerage that had served the Chinese intheir negotiation with the larger society. The protests of the CBA-CPOA were loud and clear, but they were piecemeal and reactive. Thetraditional Chinatown leaders were galvanized into action only byan impending crisis, such as when another threatening proposal cameup for deliberation in City Council, or when municipal officialswere out to acquire and expropriate properties. Popularmobilization was weak except during the early stage when the CBA-CPOA organized a signature campaign. Otherwise, several members ofthe Chinatown elite virtually monopolized the brokerage.A turning point in Vancouver's urban redevelopment came in69^Chinese Voice 14-18 February 1961.70 City^of^Vancouver,^Technical^Planning^Board,Redevelopment Project No.2 (July 1963).2451967 when a group of concerned professionals spearheaded a dramaticresistance to the freeway proposals of the municipal government.The unpopularity of pro-development city planning and publicindignation caused by the mayor's dictatorial way of handling thisissue benefitted the Chinese. 71 Accordingly, the CBA managed tosalvage some of its prestige by fighting against City Council'sproposal to run a freeway through Chinatown along Carrall Street. 72The campaign was a success, but the role of leadership to furtherChinese resistance against redevelopment soon passed into the handsof an unconventional organization.By 1968, the first two phases of the renewal project had beencompleted, clearing altogether fifteen blocks of territory anddisplacing some 3,300 people, many of whom were Chinese. InDecember, Phase Three was about to start for the remaining half ofStrathcona. At that point, encouraged by some non-Chinese socialworkers and young professionals to defend their neighbourhood, agroup of local residents established the Strathcona Property Ownersand Tenants Association, or SPOTA, an organization which was novel71^Background information on changing city-wide opinion inVancouver regarding urban planning strategies is available in SettyPendakur, Cities, Citizens and Freeways (Vancouver, S. Pendakur,1972), especially chapter 4. A good recent discussion is providedby a group of local scholars, some of them participants in theseevents, in Graeme Wynn and Timothy Oke eds., Vancouver and Its Region (Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 1992), pp.200-66.72 See the June 1967 - January 1968 issues of the ChineseVoice. Anderson has also offered a careful account of the incidentin Vancouver's Chinatown, pp. 200-6.246in many ways. 73First of all, SPOTA was a neighbourhood organization ratherthan an ethnic institution per se. Since over ninety percent of itsseveral hundred members and two dozen executives were Chinese,SPOTA did appeal to the ethnic group and the traditional Chinatownorganizations for support. Yet, its leaders seemed to be veryconscious that SPOTA was more than a Chinese organization. All ofSPOTA's internal documents and records were bi-lingual tofacilitate the involvement of local residents of diverse culturalbackgrounds. In public presentation, SPOTA always portrayedStrathcona as consisting of an important segment of Vancouver'sChinese population and as a neighbourhood community whose residentswere entitled to contribute to public policy formulation andimplementation in their own area. 74The composition of SPOTA's leadership was unique when comparedwith the existing Chinese organizations. Besides some non-Chinese,there were Chinese immigrants and "tusheng" of differentgenerations. A few Chinatown businessmen and leaders of old-styleorganizations were present, but they were complemented andoutnumbered by housewives, college students, social workers, andmany local residents who were willing to participate in the73^Chinese Voice 17, 27-30 December 1968.74^Good examples are the two early public documentspresented to the city government. "A Brief to the Vancouver CityCouncil by the SPOTA, January 27, 1969" in the SPOTA Files, Add.Mss. 734, Vol. 6, File 9; and "A Brief to the Vancouver CityCouncil by the SPOTA, May 16, 1969" in ibid., Vol. 1, File 2.247performance of a multitude of leadership roles. Jointly, they wereinvolved in an exceptionally high intensity of organizationalactivity.Six weeks after its founding, SPOTA presented to the CityCouncil a statement of its mandate, endorsed by the signatures oftwo hundred Strathcona residents. The brief urged the municipalauthority to respect the residents' desire for rehabilitationinstead of following its own blueprint for urban renewal. Thesignatories further "requested the Vancouver City Council and theprovincial and federal governments to recognize SPOTA as anofficial body for negotiation on these and other matters [regardingtheir neighbourhood]." "We citizens," as the brief continued, "whoare most affected by urban renewal want to be more involved inplanning and have the right to full participation. This Association[SPOTA] will do all in its power to involve a cross section oflocal residents and to encourage positive development of thisarea." 75 In the following months SPOTA carried out a general surveyin Strathcona and presented its findings to City Council in May1969. They showed solid opposition to redevelopment. 76SPOTA's campaign benefitted not only from the growingsentiments against redevelopment in Vancouver society, but alsom "A Brief to the Vancouver City Council by the SPOTA,January 27, 1969".76 Shidakongna Qu Yezhu Zhuke Xiehui sannian gongzuo baogao(SPOTA Triennial Report) (November 1971). Available in CCRC, Box 3,SPOTA file.248from a new federal government which was wary of the financial andsocial cost of any urban renewal project. The leaders of SPOTA,particularly Harry Con who was a Liberal Party broker in Chinatown,successfully cultivated the support of several key officials incharge of federal housing policy while vigorous lobbying wasunderway simultaneously at the provincial and municipal levels. Inaddition, SPOTA was very strong in domestic mobilization to keepits grass-roots supporters informed as well as committed. From thevery beginning it adopted a system of block captains for internalcommunication. General meetings were held almost once a month inits first year to assure the members of an accountable leadershipand to impress the government with its own credibility as aspokesman.”SPOTA's struggle made history in less than a year. In October1969 Vancouver's City Council, under pressure from the federalgovernment, agreed to form a Strathcona Working Committee in whichSPOTA participated as an equal partner with representatives fromall three levels of government in Canada. It was further agreedthat rehabilitation, which the residents desired, would be the77 Shirley Y. Chan, "An Overview of the StrathconaExperience with Urban Renewal by a Participant," (March 1971)offers a candid assessment of its strategies by a SPOTA activist.In SPOTA Files, Add. Mss. 734, Vol. 13, File 2. Two social analystswho were employed from outside, in December 1972, to furnish anevaluation of SPOTA's early organization were equally amazed by theintensity of its internal mobilization as a voluntary organization.See the Chislett-Robinson Report 1968-1971 in ibid., Vol. 8, File5. Also the report to the SPOTA by John Chislett, "Conclusions ofthe Self-Evaluation Study," in ibid., Vol. 11, File 3.249general goal and no large-scale acquisition and demolition ofproperties would be undertaken in the neighbourhood under urbanrenewal legislation. It took another year to reach a finalagreement on a government-funded Strathcona Rehabilitation Projectto be monitored jointly by official agents and SPOTA. 78Thus SPOTA's triumph became a landmark in the struggle ofVancouver Chinese for political empowerment against a background ofrelative impotency. Its demonstration of admirable skills inmanoeuvring among politicians and bureaucrats from the federal,provincial, and municipal governments was a clear testimony of thegrowing maturity of the Chinese minority in the Canadian politicalcontext. Among the ethnic Chinese, the SPOTA experience bequeathedimportant legacies in terms of its leadership, popularmobilization, and a confidence to challenge unpopular bureaucraticdecisions, all of which were to develop more fully in thesucceeding decade.In retrospect, Vancouver Chinese had made some major progressin their evolving identification with Canadian society and the hostcountry in the post-war period. The agitation for more liberalimmigration measures, the emergent interest in Canadian electoral78 See the minutes of an organizing meeting for theStrathcona Working Committee, 1 October 1969, in ibid., Vol. 7,File 8. Also Larry I. Bell and Richard Moore, The StrathconaRehabilitation Project: Documentation and Analysis  (Vancouver:Social Policy and Research, United Way of Greater Vancouver, 1975),pp. 10-13.250politics, and the experience of grass-roots mobilization to defendneighbourhood interests were three of the important landmarks inthis process. These events were concrete expressions of a claimthat Chinese were fellow Canadians and Vancouver residents.Interestingly, such a Canadian orientation was growing amongChinese in Vancouver at the same time when there was still strongevidence of a China-orientation in this minority. No unilinealcultural re-orientation from China to Canada had taken place. Norhad it simply been a case of ethnic resilience. Instead, Chineseresponded actively to the changing historical environment andcontinued to construct their ethnic identity during the post-waryears in relation to both China and Canada. They were indeed livingbetween two worlds.In the 1970s the internal discourse on Chinese identity tookan interesting turn. For the first time the two fundamentallydifferent cultural orientations -- one towards the native countryand the other towards the host country -- were reconciled in someimportant ways. This development afforded Chinese people in Canadanew cultural options in their ethnic construction. It is to thisfascinating phenomenon that the discussion will now turn.251Chapter Six: Towards a "Chinese Canadian" Identity,1971-1980By the beginning of the 1970s, a lively discourse on ethnicidentity and community had been unfolding among the VancouverChinese for a quarter century. Three major groups of Chinese wereengaged in a cultural argument in which they sought to define anddefend their versions of Chineseness and community. Thisdevelopment resulted in part from the demographic changes withinthe ethnic group, as the generation of pre-exclusion arrivals wasjoined and later outnumbered by their local-born descendants andthe new Chinese immigrants since the end of World War II.The diversified cultural expressions of the ethnic Chinesealso reflected the evolving historical circumstances. The formerlyencompassing influence of China on the cultural and political lifeof the Vancouver Chinese was generally receding after 1945, thoughthere was continuity in some respects. Particularly among theimmigrant Chinese, the interest in home country politics, the carefor one's remaining family members in the native place and in HongKong, and the desire to perpetuate, or to advance, some forms ofChinese culture overseas lingered on. Totally unprecedented, bycontrast, was the degree of acceptance the host society granted tothe ethnic Chinese in the post-war period. Economic and culturalopportunities in the larger Canadian society were becoming moreavailable than previously to the members of this minority group. In252tandem with the progress in acculturation, some Chinesedemonstrated skills, ambitions, and local consciousness within theCanadian political process.Other things being equal, one would expect the variety ofarticulated cultural positions to increase in the 1970s, whenanother very different generation of Chinese immigrants and asucceeding group of local-born youth arrived on the scene. However,other things were not equal, and what appears to have developed wasa paradox of convergence and divergence in this discourse.To describe the situation very briefly, a "Chinese Canadian"category emerged in this period as the prevailing mode ofidentification. This new formulation advanced the claim of theethnic Chinese to be fully Canadian and at the same time embeddedthe Chinese cultural component as a defining and enrichingcharacteristic. It thus reconciled the difference between theChinese and Canadian orientations. It also ushered in a realignmentof cultural positions among the various groups of Chinese andfostered some degree of consensus. Unity, however, was limited andthe saliency of internal differences remained. Despite the popularsubscription to a "Chinese Canadian" identity, subtle variations inemphasis and continuous conflicts over the power of representationpersisted. In this sense, the Chinese debate on ethnic identity andthe contest for community continued, albeit under a new overarchingparadigm.My discussion in this chapter will first correlate the rise of253a "Chinese Canadian" identity in the 1970s with the enshrinement ofthe mosaic ideology by the Canadian state, the growth of socialconsciousness in the Chinatown neighbourhood, and the burgeoningcultural pride across a broad spectrum of the local Chinesepopulation. The following analysis will then focus on severaldevelopments within the ethnic group to discern how this identitywas articulated and contested by its members. They include thepopular movement to build a Chinese Cultural Centre, the endeavourof local-born youth of the 1970s to sharply define "ChineseCanadian" identity, and finally, the search of the new generationof Chinese immigrants for its own cultural space within thisexpanding minority group.The Genesis of a Cultural Category: Multiculturalism, Local Activism, and Rising Ethnic Pride In its early days the Chinatown News sometimes referred toChinese residents in Canada as "Chinese Canadians." 1 On occasion,the term was used specifically to mean local-born in order todistinguish them from those of immigrant background. 2 In eithercase, the usage put emphasis on the professed identification withCanada on the part of the ethnic Chinese. The Chinatown News alwaysinsisted on proclaiming the upward mobility and acculturation of1 Examples are available in the following issues: 3 Apriland 18 June 1954, 3 June 1955, and 18 March 1956.2^For example, 3 February 1954 and 18 March 1956.254the native-born Chinese. Interestingly, the other half of the label-- the Chinese ethnic component -- was seldom articulated, letalone celebrated. An attempt to reconcile the difference betweenbeing "Canadian" and being "Chinese" was not inconceivable in thefifties and early sixties, but it was rare. 3 Reconciliation becamemore feasible, and later popular, when the Canadian state andsociety entertained the multicultural ideal in earnest.Although Canadian intellectuals started to flirt with the ideaof Canada as a mosaic as early as the 1920s, the assumption ofAnglo-Canadian supremacy had continued to dominate in governmentpolicy and public life for the next forty years. 4 Eventually, thissparked off the vociferous protest of the disenchanted FrenchCanadians over their truncated cultural rights, which led to theformation of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalismin 1963. These events, in turn, plunged the political elite and the3 The position of Dick Se Lee mentioned at the beginning ofChapter Five is one exceptional example.4 For a penetrating discussion of the mosaic metaphor inCanadian intellectual life, see Allan Smith, "Metaphor andNationality in North America," Canadian Historical Review Vol. 51(1970), pp. 247-75. Despite the intellectual tenacity of themetaphor, its limited impact on public policy and attitudes beforethe 1970s is widely recognized. See, for example, Howard Palmer,"Reluctant Hosts: Anglo-Canadian Views of Multiculturalism in theTwentieth Century," in Douglas Francis and Donald Smith eds.,Readings in Canadian History: Post-Confederation (Toronto: Holt,Rinehart and Winston, second edition, 1986), pp. 185-201; PeterWard, "Class and Race in the Social Structure of British Columbia,1870-1939," BC Studies No. 45 (Spring 1980), pp. 17-35; and EvelynKallen, "Multiculturalism: Ideology, Policy and Reality," Journal of Canadian Studies Vol. 17, no. 1 (1982), pp. 51-63. Also relevantis the influential work of John Porter, The Vertical Mosaic (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965).255concerned public into a vigorous and protracted discussion onCanadian identity and related national policy. 5Compared to some European immigrant groups such as theUkrainians, the Chinese participated in the debate rather modestly.In the ethnic Chinese press in Vancouver, the Chinatown News alonereported on the nation-wide discussion and expressed an editorialstance on the subject. The unique attention of the local-bornChinese to mainstream Canadian issues is not surprising, but theirresponse to this nation-wide debate is worth exploring because itshows the causal relationship between their incipient belief inCanadian pluralism and the re-formulation of a "Chinese Canadian"identity.A sure sign of change was the appearance of mosaic rhetoric inthe Chinatown News from the early 1960s. This seems to have begunwith an editorial in June 1962 when the magazine statedcategorically that the "strength and virility of our Canadianculture lies in our recognition of the need to foster [a] properclimate for the nurturing and growth of a multi-culture [sic]nation." 6 Before long, the loss of Chinese cultural "heritage"among the younger generation came to be viewed as "a tragedy."' In5 Robert Harney has furnished a succinct discussion of thisdebate in a broad historical context in "'So Great a Heritage asOurs': Immigration and the Survival of the Canadian Polity,"Daedalus Vol. 117, no. 4 (1988), pp. 51-97.6^Chinatown News 15 June 1962.7 For example, see the article by William Wong in ibid. 18March 1964.256the magazine's exclusive coverage on a meeting in June 1965 ofthree Chinese representatives (among whom was Roy Mah, its editor)with the Royal Commission in Vancouver's Chinatown, the reporternoted approvingly their appeal for recognition of the cultural andlinguistic rights of the ethnic group. 8The best evidence of a refurbished "Chinese Canadian" identityis an article of February 18, 1964, written by Reverend Andrew Lamin the Chinatown News. Entitled "Assimilation or Integration," itis quoted in its entirety:The current interest in bilingualism andbiculturalism has brought out to the open expressionsfrom various ethnic groups concerning their viewpoints onthe question. Such groups as the Ukrainian, Jewish andIndian segments of the population have statedunequivocally their intentions of retaining and promotingtheir language and cultural heritage, and for recognitionof their respective language and culture as integralparts of Canadian life. All this has made me think againof the situation of the Chinese population in Canada. Wehave, in general, been participating as Canadiancitizens, to a greater or less degree more and more inthe life of Canadian society. On the other hand, there isthe question raised as to how far this participationwould go, and whether it would lead eventually toparticipation in full measure.The answer to this question has to be considered inthe light of the fact that Canada is not a melting pot ofpeople but rather a mosaic composed of many ethnicorigins [sic], who will, within the foreseeable future,continue to retain their respective racial and cultural8 Ibid. 3 June 1965. The Commission had also written abrief report on this meeting. In PAC, RG 33, Series 80, RoyalCommission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, Vol. 120, File 634E.257identities. Such ethnic groups as the French-Canadiansand Ukrainians do not want to become assimilated into atype that is identifiable only as Canadian -- if we canimagine Canadian nationality as such -- and it seemsimpossible that assimilation is the answer.As far as the Chinese is concerned, unless there isa wholesale movement towards inter-racial marriagecontinuing for several generations, it would be difficultfor them to lose their distinctive physicalcharacteristics regardless of how assimilable they may beotherwise.As things look now, the road ahead seems to lie inthe direction of integration rather than assimilation. Inother words, let us participate wholeheartedly asCanadian citizens in the life of Canada -- as fully asopportunity is given us. At the same time, let us beproud of our ethnic origin and identity.There is no particular merit or gain in thinkingless or forgetting entirely our ethnic origin oridentity. In fact, there is no need for so doing. Aboveall, it is not a realistic approach. Each ethnic groupinherits and shares with others a way of life thatcontributes to the enrichment of Canadian life. It isgood for the ethnic groups and Canada as well that it ispossible for this enriching process to continue.To be proud of our origin and to appreciate it fullyis an attitude of mind that is not inconsistent with goodcitizenship or loyalty to Canada. I suggest that weshould do our best to instil in our young this pride andappreciation and to teach them the language of theirforbears and the culture of their father land -- but witha realistic approach to the association. 9 [emphasesadded]By reflecting on the fallacy of assimilation and the merits ofintegration and cultural retention, Reverend Lam was in effect9^18 February 1964.258offering the first concise exposition of a "Chinese Canadian"identity. In writing directly to the Royal Commission a year later,Lam further asked that an "assurance of full acceptance" be givento the ethnic Chinese, "so that their individual contributions intheir daily endeavours and the richness of their cultural heritagemay add to [the] fullness and strength of Canadian life.Whether the enunciation of a new official policy ofmulticulturalism in 1971 constituted an adequate form of assurancein the eyes of Reverend Lam is simply not known. Nevertheless, theChinatown News did applaud when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeauannounced his government's endorsement of "multiculturalism withina bilingual framework" in his parliamentary speech on October 8,1971. 11 Canadian scholars have made many discerning remarks on theintent and content of this controversial policy. 12 A few have drawnperceptive and theoretical insights from this remarkable example ofstate intervention to restructure the cultural and symbolic orderto^Letter from Andrew Lam to Paul Lacoste, co-secretary,Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, June 21, 1965.In RG 33, Series 80, Vol. 121, File 679E.11^Chinatown News 18 October 1971.12^Studies of this kind are too many to be cited. Thefollowing are some good examples: Jean Burnet, "The Policy ofMulticulturalism within a Bilingual Framework: A Stock-taking,"Canadian Ethnic Studies Vol. 10, no. 2 (1978), pp. 107-13; KarlPeter, "The Myth of Multiculturalism and Other Political Fables,"in J. Dahlie and T. Fernando eds., Ethnicity, Power and Politics inCanada (Toronto: Methuen, 1981), pp 56-67; Kogila Moodley,"Canadian Multiculturalism as Ideology," Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 3, no. 3 (1983), pp. 320-31; and Kallen, "Multiculturalism."259of Canadian society.'' However, little has been done to reappraiseofficial multiculturalism in the context of ongoing culturaldialogue and negotiation within a single ethnic group. This studyof the Vancouver Chinese may go some way to balance the scholarlyassessment.As a public policy and a state ideology after 1971, Canadianmulticulturalism was pivotal in the development of a "ChineseCanadian" category. At least at the state level, cultural pluralismwas now acknowledged as a reality of Canadian life, and being"Chinese" was no longer considered antithetical but complementaryto being "Canadian." This cultural rearrangement not only met theabove aspiration for integration spearheaded by the local-bornChinese, it enveloped the entire ethnic group in a socio-culturalcontext very different from the past. For one thing, officialmulticulturalism enhanced the attractiveness and accessibility ofa Canadian form of identity to the ethnic Chinese. It encouragedthem to think of Canada as their country, regardless of theirforeign origin or minority status. For another, the multiculturalpolicy awarded unprecedented legitimacy, status, and financialsupport to the maintenance and expression of ethnic Chinese cultureis The most powerful analysis is furnished by RaymondBreton, "The Production and Allocation of Symbolic Resources: AnAnalysis of the Linguistic and Ethriocultural Fields in Canada,"Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 21, no. 2(1984), pp. 123-44. Another interesting piece focusing on theeffect of state action on ethnic politics is Daiva Stasiulis, "ThePolitical Structuring of Ethnic Community Action: A Reformulation,"Canadian Ethnic Studies Vol. 12, no. 3 (1980), pp. 19-44.260and group interests. It thus afforded a premium for the Chinese todisplay and celebrate their ethnic sentiments and cultural ties. 14It is not difficult to see that multiculturalism appealed tothe Chinese in general, but the new environment it ushered in didprivilege one particular group, the local-born Chinese. Comparedwith the immigrant Chinese, they had more sensitivity to, andexperience in dealing with, Canadian issues. In the previousintramural debate on cultural identity, the emphasis had been onChineseness and the native-born had often been disadvantaged bytheir lack of first hand experience with China and relatively weakcommand of Chinese cultural skills. Under multiculturalism, thebalance tilted towards Canadianess and the local-born Chinese hadthe cutting edge. Their energetic participation in the discourse on"Chinese Canadian" identity will be shown later in several casestudies.14 Some critics of official multiculturalism have accusedthe policy of legislating "otherness." Kay Anderson has endorsedthis view in her study of western perceptions of Vancouver'sChinatown, arguing that under multiculturalism the Canadian statecontinued to define the "Chinese" as "outsiders," though in a morepositive and benign fashion than overt discrimination of the past.Vancouver's Chinatown: Racial Discourse in Canada, 1875-1980 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991), pp.211-44. While that may have been the case, it was not how theChinese perceived the issue and took advantage of it as of the1970s. That kind of criticism of multiculturalism surfaced amongthe Chinese only in more recent years. See, for example, Karin Lee,"Chinese -- Chinese-Canadian -- Canadian," in Henry Tsang ed., Self Not Whole: Cultural Identity and Chinese-Canadian Artists in Vancouver (Vancouver: Chinese Cultural Centre, 1991), pp. 24-29,which calls the policy a "lightly disguised racial and culturalapartheid," p. 28.261While official multiculturalism was crucial to theconstruction of a "Chinese Canadian" identity, at least two othersets of events contributed to that effect in different ways. Thefirst was the sudden swelling of social consciousness andneighbourhood activities in the Strathcona area, as demonstratedearlier in the grass-roots resistance led by SPOTA against urbanredevelopment starting in late 1968. SPOTA's initial campaign hadbeen part of a larger protest movement staged by a concernedsegment of the Vancouver population against the pro-developmentplanning strategy of city officials, against the allegeddestruction of neighbourhoods, and against the lack of public inputin the management of civic affairs. In the following years, SPOTAremained the core of an expanding effort at neighbourhood defenseand enhancement in Strathcona. For many Chinese participants andobservers, the Strathcona struggle for empowerment was a mostconcrete expression of "community" and an assertion of localidentity. 15In the early 1970s, SPOTA was in the forefront of severalprotest movements against a number of public projects conceived bythe Vancouver municipal government. The official initiativesincluded new proposals to run freeway traffic through Chinatown andto build a firehall on the western edge of Strathcona between3.5 See, for instance, a highly reflective essay by HayneWai, "Strathcona - Chinatown...Twenty Years Ago," in ChineseCommunity Library Services Association Twentieth AnniversaryCommemorative Special Publication 1972-1992  (1992), pp. 13-15.262Pender and Keefer Streets. The threat to the well-being ofChinatown looked real and imminent, for it was believed that anyone of these projects would have dissected the neighbourhood andcaused traffic hazards and other inconvenience to its inhabitants.Seeing itself as an advocate of the interest of the residents,SPOTA engaged in a vigorous and successful opposition to all threeschemes. In the case of its objection in early 1970 to theconversion of Union and Prior Streets into a one-way couplet, iteven threatened to resign from the Strathcona Working Committee andthereby put the prospective rehabilitation scheme in jeopardy.This was obviously a way of pitting the municipal officials againstthe federal authorities, which had developed a vested interest inthe housing project. 16 Two years later, SPOTA joined hands withthree other Chinatown organizations in making strongrepresentations to City Council against the idea of widening theKeefer-Pender diversion as a freeway connector.''The most dramatic Chinatown protest of this era broke out overthe firehall controversy. After repeated failures in lobbying theCity Council, SPOTA turned to popular mobilization as the lastresort. In November 1972 it initiated a coalition of progressiveChinatown leaders and young activists in the "Committee to Fight16 Letter from SPOTA to the Vancouver City Council, February10, 1970, appended in Shirley Chan, "An Overview of the StrathconaExperience with Urban Renewal by a Participant," March 1971, inSPOTA Files, Add. Mss. 734, Vol. 13, File 2.17^Chinatown News 18 June 1973. Da Zhonq Bao 16 June 1973.263the Firehall Site in Chinatown. un The public statement of the adhoc committee was loud and clear: the location of "this firehall,with its administrative office, a multi-storey training centre andfire-fighting equipment for the entire downtown station...amid abeehive of activities -- schools, YWCA, churches, high densitysenior citizens residence and family dwellings...(was) totallyunacceptable to the community." 19 At a mass rally on December 10,almost a thousand people showed up, making the protest the largestof its kind in Chinatown's history. The demonstrators paradedthrough Pender Street before they proceeded to the StrathconaSchool auditorium where twenty-three aldermanic candidates for theupcoming civic election were asked to take a stand on the issue.Besides political skills, the occasion was a powerful display ofChinatown's community sentiments and its resolve to confront theauthorities. The firehall plan was soundly defeated. 2°In addition to defensive protests, initiatives atneighbourhood improvement also flourished in the Chinatown area inthe 1970s. These efforts at self-help were in line with publicsentiments in Vancouver, which were increasingly in favour ofcommunity renewal through resident participation. They alsobenefitted directly from the relatively liberal social policy of18^Chinatown News 18 April and 18 October 1972. Also SPOTAAnnual Report December 1971 - December 1972, in SPOTA Files, Add.Mss. 734, Vol. 1, File 3.19^Chinatown New 3 December 1972.20^Chinatown News 18 December 1972.264the Trudeau government and its support for grass-roots democracy.In July 1972, for instance, SPOTA received its first major grantfrom Ottawa of almost $50,000 for institutional enhancement. 2 'Awarded minor start-up grants at the same time were two relatedlesser projects -- the Strathcona Renovation and Design Service andthe Chinese Community Reading Room. Undertaken by Chineseuniversity students both from Strathcona and elsewhere, they weregeared towards specific areas of neglected social service. Theformer was to provide timely architectural advice to localresidents in the recently commenced rehabilitation scheme. Thelatter began as a storefront library making available Chinese-language reading materials and translation and referral services toa neighbourhood with many non-English speakers. Getting publicfunding in the following years, this facility expanded into theChinese Community Library Services Association, which stillexists. 22As for SPOTA itself, its original mandate was to oversee theimplementation of a state-sponsored rehabilitation programme. Soonafter this was started in 1972, SPOTA ventured into co-operativehousing on a volunteer basis. By the end of the decade, four phasesof what was called "infill housing" had been built on a total offorty-four vacant lots leased from the provincial government and on21^SPOTA Annual Report December 1971 - December 1972.22^Chinatown News 18 June and 3 July 1972, and 18 September1979. Chinese Community Library Services Association TwentiethAnniversary, especially pp. 9-12.265mortgages negotiated by SPOTA. 23 Meanwhile, SPOTA was involved inother neighbourhood development initiatives such as the StrathconaCommunity Centre opened in 1972 and the Chinatown Historic AreaPlanning Committee set up by the City Council in 1975 to channelpublic input into a local beautification project. 24In light of this outburst of local activities in the Chinatownarea in the 1970s, it is apparent that the emergent "ChineseCanadian" identity was more than a sanctified outcome of Ottawa'smulticultural policy. It signified as well a local commitment,articulated by some Vancouver Chinese from both Canadian-born andimmigrant backgrounds, to defend and advance their collectiveinterests.Finally, the rise of "Chinese Canadian" consciousness in theseventies cannot be fully comprehended without looking at theupsurge of ethnic sentiments among the local Chinese. In the23 On SPOTA's input into the operation of the rehabilitationprogramme, see SPOTA Files, Add. Mss. 734, Vols. 22 and 23. Itsreports submitted to its major federal funding agent, the CentralMortgage and Housing Corporation, are in Vol. 4, Files 12 and 13.Documents on co-operative housing are available in Vols. 25 and 28.See also a useful summary by Hayne Wai in The Strathcona Story, abooklet published by SPOTA in 1976.24 SPOTA's own newsletters (including a tabloid called theMirror published between June 1977 and July 1978) are informed onthese activities of the organization. On the Chinatown HistoricArea Planning Committee, it should be noted that the leading rolewas played by the Chinatown Property Owners and MerchantsAssociation formed in 1973. See Chinatown Planning Newsletter,published by the City Planning Department, November 1976 and thematerials in the SPOTA Files, Add. Mss. 734, Vol. 13.266previous decades since 1947, young new immigrants had alreadydemonstrated an interest in Chinese cultural expression. One oftheir youth groups, the leftist Chinese Youth Association, hadattempted to equate Chinese self-esteem, or minzu zunyan, with azealous identification with Communist China and its allegedachievements as a modern nation. After 1971, officialmulticulturalism afforded ethnic Chinese culture legitimacy andspace within the Canadian mosaic. In the meantime, new developmentsin Sino-Canadian diplomatic relations, the improving internationalprofile of Communist China in the western world, and the influenceof the Asian American movement in the United States all encouragedthe growth of Chinese pride.For some twenty years after the establishment of the People'sRepublic of China (PRC), most western countries under theleadership of the United States had treated Communist China withsuspicion and hostility. Like its allies, Canada also withhelddiplomatic recognition from the PRC and treated the defeatedNationalist regime in Taiwan as official China. 25 Nonetheless,25 This is not the place to pursue a detailed study of Sino-Canadian diplomatic relations and the changes since 1970. My briefaccount here is drawn mainly from Canadian perspectives aselucidated in the recent conference volume by Paul Evans andMichael Frolic eds., Reluctant Adversaries: Canada and the People's Republic of China, 1949-1970 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1991). Also useful are Evans and Daphne Taras, "Canadian PublicOpinion on Relations with China: An Analysis of Existing SurveyResearch," (Toronto: Joint Centre on Modern East Asia, WorkingPaper No. 33, March 1985); and idem., "Looking (Far) East:Parliament and Canada-China Relations, 1949-1982," in David Tarased., Parliament and Canadian Foreign Policy (Toronto: CanadianInstitute of International Affairs, 1988), pp. 66-100; an earliertreatment by Maureen Appel Molot, "Canada's Relations with China267people no less influential than Lester Pearson (who later becamethe prime minister, 1963-1968) and Chester Ronning in theDepartment of External Affairs were groping for change. Thebeginning of wheat sales to Mainland China in 1960 further sowedthe seeds of good faith and cordiality between the two countries.When Trudeau launched his diplomatic effort towards normalizationin 1968, Parliament and Canadian public opinion supported it.Whereas the establishment of diplomatic ties between Canadaand the PRC in October 1970 brought to a close Canada's search foran autonomous China policy, the event was a landmark in theemerging profile of Communist China in the international arena. Theyear after, in 1971, the PRC was admitted into the United Nations;its open rapprochement with the Western world through the statevisit of President Nixon in 1972, and through Trudeau's trip toMainland China in 1973 boosted its international status. CommunistChina had always had its foreign admirers, 26 but their once-lonelyvoices were now superseded by a euphoria. The new respect for ChinaSince 1968," in Norman Hillmer and Garth Stevenson eds., A ForemostNation: Canadian Foreign Policy and A Changing World (Toronto:McClelland and Stewart, 1976), pp. 230-67; and Frolic, "Canada andThe People's Republic of China: Twenty Years of a BilateralRelationship, 1970-1990," in Frank Langdon ed., Canada and the Growing Presence of Asia (Vancouver: University of BritishColumbia, Institute of Asian Research, Occasional Paper No. 9,1990), pp. 41-62. Until research materials on the China side aremore accessible than is currently the case, our understanding ofthis subject will remain necessarily incomplete.26 For the most controversial Canadian example, see StephenEndicott, James G. Endicott: Rebel Out of China (Toronto:University of Toronto Press, 1980).268as a potential superpower and its apparent approachability fosteredan almost global interest in the country as a modern nation and anhistorical civilization.Janet Lum has recently observed that most Chinese in Torontodid not consider the issue of recognition of the PRC to be of anyimportance or relevance to their lives in Canada. 27 A generalindifference to Chinese politics was also discernible in Vancouver.Yet, in both cases a small number of supporters of the twocontending Chinese regimes acted otherwise. In Vancouver, theKuomintang adherents voiced objection to Canada's diplomaticoverture and warned about the communist infiltration ofChinatown. 28 The recognition emboldened their local opponents, theChinese Youth Association and other sympathizers of Beijing mainlyamong the post-1947 immigrants. Eleven days after recognition wasannounced, the Hon Hsing Athletic Society paraded the first PRCflag in Vancouver's Chinatown to celebrate its own thirtiethanniversary. 29 Three months later, in preparing to welcome the PRC27 Janet Lum, "Recognition and the Toronto ChineseCommunity," in Evans and Frolic eds., Reluctant Adversaries, pp.217-40.28^See the initial reaction of Lam Fong, the chiefKuomintang spokesman in Vancouver, as reported in Chinatown News 18October 1970. Later, in September 1971, Lam again charged the PRCsupporters with harassing the local Chinese residents. Province 11September 1971 and Vancouver Sun 13 September 1971, as quoted in DaZhong Bao 18 September 1971 and Chinatown News 18 September 1971.The centre of the Kuomintang's anti-recognition activity was inToronto, as Lum has shown in "Recognition and the Toronto ChineseCommunity."29 Da Zhong Bao 31 October 1970.269ambassador to Canada, and Vancouver, the elated Chinese YouthAssociation convened its first public meeting of Chinatownorganizations. Though less than two dozen associationsparticipated, a number of major district and surname organizationssuch as the two Wong clan associations, Cheng Wing Yeong Tong, YueSan Association, and Yin Ping District Association supported theevent. The influential Chinese Freemasons were also represented atthe meeting by their Athletic Society. 3° Not surprisingly, therecognition had encouraged some former silent sympathizers of thePRC to come out. It may even have changed the basic attitude ofsome Chinese towards the regime.For the Chinese Youth Association, the rising internationalprofile of the PRC and the burgeoning zhonqquo ye (China euphoria)in the West were the best vindication of its stance over the years."New China," as the out-spoken Da Zhonq Bao always insisted, wouldbe the foundation of a modern Chinese pride. fl For others, theearly 1970s may well have been the first time in the last quartercentury, or in their lives, when they could come to think of Chinaso positively and exuberantly. Consider, for example, the drasticchange in the Chinatown News' reportage on Mainland China.Previously, this local-born Chinese publication had beenreluctant to cover any China-related issues. Occasions such as the30^Da Zhonq Bao 9 January 1971.31 Da Zhonq Bao 8 September 1973. See also my discussion ofthe Chinese Youth Association and its tabloid in Chapters Two andFive.270recognition were used to drive home the point that the Chinese inC