4. The “Old” Chinese Migration to USA


If not to count the ancestors of the Amerindians,the Chinese were the first Asians immigrants to enter the United States. The first groups of Chinese immigrants, who were wealthy successful merchants, skilled artisans, fishermen, hotel managers and restaurant owners, were greatly welcomed by either American public or government officials on a large scale. However, in the mid 1800’s, American became negative and hostile towards unskilled Chinese migrants who left China for America during the period of “Gold Rush”. As the expansion of unskilled Chinese migrants in America under “Gold Rush”, the first Chinatown in San Francisco was formed. Therefore, Chinatown had been the place where Chinese Americans worked and socialized.

As time passed, violence and resentment against the Chinese immigrants continued to grow in America. 88 Chinese migrants were reported murdered in the year of 1862. What were worse, much legislation such as the Naturalization Act of 1870 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 were legalized by American government to restrict immigration of Chinese immigrants into the U.S.

After the Chinese immigrants’ population reached its peak in 1890 with 107,488 people, the Chinese population declined steadily. On one hand, the dropping numbers of Chinese immigrants were influenced by the legislation of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. On the other hand, many Chinese immigrants returned back to China because of imbalanced sex ratio and supportive money for their families in China. In fact, many of the Chinese immigrants who migrated to the United States had no intention of permanent residency in the country at this moment.

As decades passed, the situation between the Chinese immigrants and the American public as well as government improved. Chinatowns became tourist attractions and allies with the U.S. during World War II. Many Chinese children were accepted by American public schools and highly paid jobs were offered to Chinese skilled workers. Such kinds of events were positively paving the way for abolishing of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Finally, a lot of Chinese female immigrants backed to America and many couples were reunited after decades apart.

Is this helpful to expand your knowledge about China Immigration to USA?

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6 Responses to 4. The “Old” Chinese Migration to USA

  1. chang says:

    I am a Chinese , i think it is true that there are some violence and resentment against the Chinese in America, not in the past , but now they still have.However, when American went to China, we treat them very friendly. American always like to talk about human rights to Chinese, but i think they need to learn what the real human right is about.

    • Mimi mwenyewe says:

      I agree with you! Americans always want to dictate what other should do. They have the highest percentage in criminality and they still peform death penalty, yet they see themselves as the perfect ones. SHAME!

  2. Ikibibi says:

    Yeah it is promising to hear that their relationship got better. As the comment before mention even in the current there are still some violence going on. But since China is economically growing I think Americans will respect the American Chinese, because they know that’s the only way through building a great business relationship with China.

    • lipingblog says:

      i do agree with you. The United States and China are the two most powerful and influential countries in the world in the 21st century.
      Relations in all four areas are extensive and growing. For example, China pollution problems, Chinese economic growth, climate change , energy security , USA immigration problems, USA terrorism …all of these threats or opportunities couldnt be handled just by one country alone but will need the cooperation of the U.S. and China.

  3. Katka says:

    I never knew the whole history behind the Chinese migration to the U.S and I think it is very interesting to know. On one hand I understand the Americans being resistant towards migration considering that the number of immigrants is increasing year by year, on the other hand I don’t think they have treated Chinese migrants badly, not in the recent years at least 🙂 Anyways, good to know how and why all of the migration began in the first place 🙂

  4. Maria says:

    Thanks for the information. As an non-Chinese I used to lack this background information on the migration of Chinese people to the United States. I favor the opinion that America should be open to skilled Chinese individuals but with moderation. What you mention about Chinatowns being major attracts in America proves that it is possible for both cultures to co-exist peacefully and with mutual interest.

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