Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, by Gregor Benton

By Gregor Benton

The transnational and diasporic dimensions of early chinese language migrant politics opened within the overdue 19th century whilst chinese language radical teams bent on overthrowing the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) vied with each other to win chinese language in a foreign country to their modernizing initiatives, and immigrants who had suffered discrimination welcomed their proposals. The radicals’ focus on chinese language groups in a foreign country as outposts of chinese language politics and tradition reinforced the stereotype of chinese language as clannish, unassimilable, xenophobic, and deeply introverted.

This publication argues that this kind of view has its roots much less in ancient fact than in political and ideological prejudice and obscures a wealthy vein of internationalist perform in chinese language migrant or diasporic background, which the research goals to revive to visibility. occasionally, internationalist alliances sprang from the spontaneous belief via chinese language and different non-Chinese migrants or neighborhood employees of shared difficulties and customary ideas in daily life and paintings. At different instances, they emerged from lower than the umbrella of transnationalism, while chinese language nationalist and anti-imperialist activists in a foreign country got help for his or her campaigns from neighborhood internationalists; or the alliances have been the made of nurturing via chinese language or non-Chinese political organizers, together with anarchists, communists, and participants of internationalist cultural hobbies like Esperantism.

Based on assets in a dozen languages, and telling hitherto mostly unknown or forgotten tales of chinese language migrant reviews in Russia, Germany, Cuba, Spain and Australia, this examine will attract scholars and students of chinese language heritage, labour reports and ethnic/migration reports alike.

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Additional info for Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917-1945 (Chinese Worlds)

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44 In the late 1920s and the early 1930s, their traditional niche disintegrated and they were drawn, like the rest of the population, into ‘building socialism’. Although life was hard under the Soviet regime, workers in heavy industry were in some respects a ‘labour aristocracy’ and enjoyed privileges. They are said to have included some Chinese. 46 In the mid-1930s, many Chinese were subjected to ethnic cleansing as a xenophobic wave swept the Soviet Union. The purge centred on diasporic minorities such as Chinese, Poles, Germans, Finns, and Koreans, labelled enemy nations, whereas native minorities were left relatively untouched.

92 Political influences from China and Russia have fed this prejudice. For many years, Chinese nationalists saw Chinese overseas as compatriots and played down their external affiliations. The crisis in Sino-Soviet relations starting in the late 1950s envenomed Chinese attitudes towards those with a Russian connection. Chinese historians denigrated the Comintern’s role in China, stressed self-reliance and Soviet betrayal, and showed little interest in Chinese internationalism overseas. In such a climate, foreign ties could be fatal.

A small number of seafarers and a handful of the volunteers were from the Americas or elsewhere abroad, while some Australian Chinese activists were born in Australia. These distinctions are not quibbles, for to confuse ethnic Chinese (migrant or otherwise) with migrants from China is to deny their nationality and a form of racial stereotyping. In the title, I considered using the term ‘diasporic Chinese’ to cover the different groups for, in recent years, the diaspora concept has lost in precision and become more elastic.

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