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Reasons for Migration
Digital History ID 4

Author:   Elizabeth Wong

Annotation: Violence, poverty, and hunger lay behind migration from China. These first-person accounts describe the forces that pushed mid-19th century Chinese immigrants out of their homeland.

Document: In a bloody feud between the Chang family and the Oo Shak village we lost our two steady workmen. Eighteen villagers were hired by Oo Shak to fight against the huge Chang family, and in the battle two men lost their lives protecting our pine forests. Our village, Wong Jook Long, had a few resident Changs. After the bloodshed, we were called for our men’s lives, and the greedy, impoverished villagers grabbed fields, forest, food and everything, including newborn pigs, for payment. We were left with nothing, and in disillusion we went to Hong Kong to sell ourselves as contract laborers.

Source: “Leaves from the Life History of a Chinese Immigrant,” Social Process in Hawaii, 2 (1936), 39-42.

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