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Conditions in China
Digital History ID 5


Date:

Annotation: This excerpt describes the difficulty and scarcity of living in China. Many Chinese immigrated to the United States because of poor living conditions in China and lack of opportunities.


Document: "There were four in our family, my mother, my father, my sister and me. We lived in a two room house. Our sleeping room and the other served as parlor, kitchen and dining room. We were not rich enough to keep pigs or fowls, otherwise, our small house would have been more than overcrowded.

How can we live on six baskets of rice which were paid twice a year for my father’s duty as a night watchman? Sometimes the peasants have a poor crop then we go hungry…. Sometimes we went hungry for days. My mother and me would go over the harvested rice fields of the peasants to pick the grains they dropped…. We had only salt and water to eat with the rice."

Source: Quoted in Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore (Boston, 1989), 33.

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