L'émigration chinoise vers l'Europe, sources chinoises et sources européennes - article ; n°2 ; vol.12, pg 275-296

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Revue européenne de migrations internationales - Année 1996 - Volume 12 - Numéro 2 - Pages 275-296
La emigración china hacia Europa. Combinando fuentes chinas y europeas
Mette Thunø
Desde tiempo, la investigación sobre la historia de la inmigración china en Europa ha sido llevada estado por estado, limitandose por lo tanto a las fuentes nacionales. Sin embargo para entender las primeras fases de esta inmigración, un enfoque mas ancho es necesario, con el aporte de fuentes chinas y una cooperación mas desarrollada entre investigadores occidentales y chinos.
Las investigaciones en los diferentes países europeos confirman que la mayoría de los primeros inmigrantes chinos en Europa proviení an de un pequeño numero de areas de la provincia del Zhejiang, al sur de Shanghai. Pero no podemos dar una respuesta a las interrogaciones sobre el cuando, el porqué y el como del inicio de esta migración, ni sobre su importancia.
Para clarificar a estos temas, el recurso a las fuentes locales chinas representa un aporte significativo de informaciones. Este articulo contiene la traducción de un capitulo de la Qingtian County Gazetteer, traducción destinada a dar ejemplos de las informaciones sobre la emigración que se pueden encontrar es las fuentes locales. Estas informaciones están analizadas, y a pesar de algunos problemas qie conciernen su origen y su fiabilidad, demuestran el interés de las fuentes chinas para el mejor conocimiento del fenómeno Qingtian en las migraciones hacia Europa.
L'émigration chinoise vers l'Europe, sources chinoises et sources européennes
Mette Thunø
La recherche sur l'histoire de l'immigration chinoise en Europe a longtemps été menée Etat par Etat, et donc limitée aux sources nationales. Pourtant, pour comprendre les premières phases de cette immigration, une approche plus large est nécessaire, avec l'apport de sources chinoises et une coopération plus développée entre chercheurs occidentaux et chinois.
La recherche dans différents pays européens confirme que la majorité des premiers immigrants chinois en Europe sont originaires d'un petit nombre de cantons de la province du Zhejiang, au sud de Shanghaï. Mais les interrogations portant sur le quand, le pourquoi et le comment du déclenchement de l'immigration et sur son ampleur demeurent sans réponse.
Dans le but de clarifier ces thèmes, le recours aux sources locales chinoises représente un apport significatif d'informations. Cet article contient la traduction d'un chapitre de la Qingtian County Gazetteer, afin de donner un exemple des informations concernant l'émigration qui peuvent être trouvées dans ce type de source locale chinoise. Ces informations sont analysées, et malgré quelques problèmes concernant leur origine et leur fiabilité, elles démontrent l'intérêt des sources locales chinoises pour la connaissance du phénomène Qingtian dans les migrations en Europe.
Chinese Emigration to Europe : Combining European and Chinese Sources
Mette Thunø
Research into the history of Chinese immigration to Europe has so far basically been conducted on a country-by-country basis and normally restricted to national sources. In order to comprehend early Chinese immigration to Europe, however, a wider approach is necessary with the inclusion of Chinese sources and closer co-operation between Western and Chinese scholars.
Research in different European countries confirms that the majority of the early Chinese migrants to Europe originated from a few counties in Zhejiang province south of Shanghai. But when, why, and how immigration was initiated and what was its extent, still remain practically unanswered questions.
For the purpose of clarifying these topics, Chinese local sources contain valuable information. This article contains a translation of a chapter in the Qingtian County Gazetteer as an example of the information on immigration that can be found in this kind of Chinese local sources. Finally, the information is discussed and, despite some problems concerning the origin and reliability ofthe Chinese sources, they are still found to provide European researchers with valuable historical information on the Qingtian phenomenon in European immigration history.
22 pages
Source : Persée ; Ministère de la jeunesse, de l’éducation nationale et de la recherche, Direction de l’enseignement supérieur, Sous-direction des bibliothèques et de la documentation.

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Mette Thunø
L'émigration chinoise vers l'Europe, sources chinoises et
sources européennes
In: Revue européenne de migrations internationales. Vol. 12 N°2. 10ème anniversaire. pp. 275-296.
Citer ce document / Cite this document :
Thunø Mette. L'émigration chinoise vers l'Europe, sources chinoises et sources européennes. In: Revue européenne de
migrations internationales. Vol. 12 N°2. 10ème anniversaire. pp. 275-296.
doi : 10.3406/remi.1996.1077
http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/remi_0765-0752_1996_num_12_2_1077Resumen
La emigración china hacia Europa. Combinando fuentes chinas y europeas
Mette Thunø
Desde tiempo, la investigación sobre la historia de la inmigración china en Europa ha sido llevada
estado por estado, limitandose por lo tanto a las fuentes nacionales. Sin embargo para entender las
primeras fases de esta inmigración, un enfoque mas ancho es necesario, con el aporte de fuentes
chinas y una cooperación mas desarrollada entre investigadores occidentales y chinos.
Las investigaciones en los diferentes países europeos confirman que la mayoría de los primeros
inmigrantes chinos en Europa proviení an de un pequeño numero de areas de la provincia del Zhejiang,
al sur de Shanghai. Pero no podemos dar una respuesta a las interrogaciones sobre el "cuando", el
"porqué" y el "como" del inicio de esta migración, ni sobre su importancia.
Para clarificar a estos temas, el recurso a las fuentes locales chinas representa un aporte significativo
de informaciones. Este articulo contiene la traducción de un capitulo de la Qingtian County Gazetteer,
traducción destinada a dar ejemplos de las informaciones sobre la emigración que se pueden encontrar
es las fuentes locales. Estas informaciones están analizadas, y a pesar de algunos problemas qie
conciernen su origen y su fiabilidad, demuestran el interés de las fuentes chinas para el mejor
conocimiento del fenómeno Qingtian en las migraciones hacia Europa.
Résumé
L'émigration chinoise vers l'Europe, sources chinoises et sources européennes
Mette Thunø
La recherche sur l'histoire de l'immigration chinoise en Europe a longtemps été menée Etat par Etat, et
donc limitée aux sources nationales. Pourtant, pour comprendre les premières phases de cette
immigration, une approche plus large est nécessaire, avec l'apport de sources chinoises et une
coopération plus développée entre chercheurs occidentaux et chinois.
La recherche dans différents pays européens confirme que la majorité des premiers immigrants chinois
en Europe sont originaires d'un petit nombre de cantons de la province du Zhejiang, au sud de
Shanghaï. Mais les interrogations portant sur le "quand", le "pourquoi" et le "comment" du
déclenchement de l'immigration et sur son ampleur demeurent sans réponse.
Dans le but de clarifier ces thèmes, le recours aux sources locales chinoises représente un apport
significatif d'informations. Cet article contient la traduction d'un chapitre de la Qingtian County
Gazetteer, afin de donner un exemple des informations concernant l'émigration qui peuvent être
trouvées dans ce type de source locale chinoise. Ces informations sont analysées, et malgré quelques
problèmes concernant leur origine et leur fiabilité, elles démontrent l'intérêt des sources locales
chinoises pour la connaissance du phénomène Qingtian dans les migrations en Europe.
Abstract
Chinese Emigration to Europe : Combining European and Chinese Sources
Mette Thunø
Research into the history of Chinese immigration to Europe has so far basically been conducted on a
country-by-country basis and normally restricted to national sources. In order to comprehend early
Chinese immigration to Europe, however, a wider approach is necessary with the inclusion of Chinese
sources and closer co-operation between Western and Chinese scholars.
Research in different European countries confirms that the majority of the early Chinese migrants to
Europe originated from a few counties in Zhejiang province south of Shanghai. But "when", "why", and
"how" immigration was initiated and what was its extent, still remain practically unanswered questions.
For the purpose of clarifying these topics, Chinese local sources contain valuable information. This
article contains a translation of a chapter in the Qingtian County Gazetteer as an example of the
information on immigration that can be found in this kind of Chinese local sources. Finally, the is discussed and, despite some problems concerning the origin and reliability ofthe Chinese
sources, they are still found to provide European researchers with valuable historical information on the
Qingtian phenomenon in European immigration history.1996 (12) 2 pp. 275-296 275
Chinese Emigration to Europe:
Combining European and Chinese Sources
Mette THUN0
A journalist of a short article in a Chinese magazine was surprised to
find that in the thirteen European countries she visited in the autumn of 1992 a
predominant number of the Chinese immigrants came from the Wenzhou area in
province.1 Indeed, the administrative regions of city and Zhejiang
neighbouring Lishui district, the latter comprising among others Qingtian county,
constitute the ancestral home of a large proportion of Chinese immigrants now living
on the European continent. Probably, the reason why the journalist became so
astonished by this fact finding was because Zhejiang province on the south-eastern
coast of China is usually not considered to be a typical emigration province. Most
Chinese immigrants in Southeast Asian countries, North America and Australia
originate from the provinces south of Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong, but the
situation is different in Europe. Despite the fact that Chinese immigration to Europe is
distinct from other continents and thus possibly implying other patterns,
research on Chinese immigration to Europe is limited and primarily focusing on recent
conditions. History writing concerning Chinese immigration from these regions has
been largely neglected, which is probably due to a lack of readily available sources. In
this article, it will be argued that in order to alleviate the inadequate historical
emphasis in research on Chinese immigration to Europe, it is necessary to employ both
European and Chinese sources. In this paper the arguement will be stated by
presenting a translation of a chapter from the Qingtian County Gazetteer concerned
with emigration and subsequently discuss the use of the information will be discussed.
There is a rich tradition for emigration from Zhejiang, as well as Guangdong
and Fujian, but emigration from all these provinces has been restricted to a limited
number of districts.2 Emigrants from Zhejiang thus trace back their ancestry primarily
to the port city of Wenzhou (approximately 400 km. south of Shanghai) and villages in
Qingtian county especially (located in the mountains west of Wenzhou). Although
* Chercheur, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Leifsgade 33, Copenhagen, Danemark.
** Unfortunately simplified (Chinese) characters were not available to the editor of the review.
As the result, it was decided to use classical characters. This choice is the sole responsibility
of the editor, and not the author's choice. 276 Mette THUN0
Qingtian county especially (located in the mountains west of Wenzhou). Although consists of more than 95% and hills, the majority of the
population has been and still is engaged in farming in the river valleys. In 1941, 86%
of the labouring population were peasants,3 this proportion decreasing slowly with time
to 62% in 1982.4 Merchants are of particular interest in this case since Chinese
emigrants relied on trading as they entered Europe. However, this group constituted
only an insignificant proportion of 5,7% in 1941 and 5,2% in 1982. Moreover, this
county is notorious for its low level of education with a 57% illiteracy rate in 1942,
decreasing to 35% illiterate/semi-illiterate among the population over 12 years of age
in 1982.5
The above geographic and demographic information explains some of the
reasons why Qingtian county with its mountains and no direct access to the ocean has
developed a more recent and in scope more restricted history of emigration compared
to certain districts in Fujian and Guangdong, where contiguity to the sea and Southeast
Asian countries have instigated overseas maritime trading for centuries.6 The diverse
emigration histories and reasons for emigration have meant that the immigration
experience in Europe has been significantly different from that on other continents.
Consequently, immigration history and local factors shaping the Chinese in Europe need to be studied as a separate topic of general Chinese
immigration studies.
In publications by scholars researching Chinese immigration to Europe the
history and present situation of the Qingtian Chinese today has been documented,7 but
these studies have basically been conducted from the viewpoint of the European
countries, thus frequently leaving out the origin of the Chinese immigrants8 On the
other hand, due to obvious geographical reasons, focusing on emigrant counties has
prevailed in Chinese emigration research, but only sporadically have Chinese scholars
concentrated on the Chinese as immigrants in Europe.9 Both the dominant Western
and Chinese research approach of studying Chinese migration internally is reflected in
the choice of sources being most readily available: national sources in the respective
countries. However, analysis based entirely on material can in both the
Chinese and the European cases create serious flaws in the final research results.
In the case of the Chinese scholar using solely Chinese sources, he or she is
frequently limited to conducting research only on Chinese nationals living abroad, thus
excluding all ethnic Chinese in the analysis. Similarly, European scholars exclusively
employing national sources will most probably fail to answer adequately fundamental
questions regarding the historical emigration process from China to Europe.
Addressing issues such as the early Chinese immigrants' social background and
reasons for emigration by way of European sources is almost impossible. Furthermore,
a general lack of Western sources on the early development of Chinese immigration
has caused scholars to fall back on citing only one European secondary source: Charles
Archaimbault.10 Archaimbault was a French academic who visited the Chinese
quarters of Paris in 1952 and wrote extensively on the origin of the Chinese, and the
history of their settlement in France.11 However, as he himself acknowledged, he was
not in the possession of any documents or communications stating the earliest arrival
or existence of Chinese in France. Furthermore, he could only hesitantly conclude that
the initial immigration from Qingtian and Wenzhou was connected to Chinese contract
labourers being recruited in World War I.12 Actually, he found that almost all Qingtian
Chinese present in France in 1952 had arrived between 1926 and 1937.13
REMI 1996 (12) 2 pp. 275-296 Chinese Emigration to Europe : Combining European and Chinese Sources 277
The lack of sources in Europe on this important initial group of Chinese is not
at least determined by the fact that these Chinese were illiterate peddlers and vendors,
often arriving as illegal immigrants who left no accounts behind them. Nor did the
Chinese officials pay any attention to them, judging from the lack of official records.
Thus even basic questions concerning the Qingtian Chinese's immigration to Europe
remain unresolved. Hence, in order to refine future research a combination of European
and Chinese sources and co-operation among scholars is necessary, thus basing
analysis on complementary sources instead of insular material.
The present article is an attempt to remedy the situation for the scholar based
in Europe by introducing a translation and discussion of a single important Chinese
source. Obviously, one Chinese secondary source on Chinese emigration to Europe will
not alleviate problems concerning, for instance, dating the arrival and origin of the
earliest Chinese in Europe. Still, comparing this Chinese source with the results of say
Charles Archaimbault might prove rewarding.
Fairly good secondary sources on local conditions is today available in the
local gazetteers (difang zhiitfcfrîë) lately being published in China by provinces,
district-level municipalities, special economic zones and counties.14 In the case of
Qingtian county, a committee was established in 1984 to compile a new Qingtian
county gazetteer (WfflUûÉO and local historians started to collect relevant material. The
gazetteer was finally published in 1990 and includes information on governmental
administration, natural environment, population, agriculture, forestry, industry,
Qingtian stone carving, emigration, transport, commerce, finance, mass associations,
legal affairs, civil administration, education, religion, dialect, local customs, etc.15
Below follows an abridged translation of the chapter on overseas Chinese16 as it
appeared in the Qingtian County Gazetteer. Prior to the publication of the gazetteer,
the chapter on the overseas Chinese history was published by Chen Guoji in
Gazetteers.11 Chen Guoji's version and the chapter the provincial publication, Zhejiang
in the official gazetteer are practically identical, except for a few omissions and
numbers, which in my translation has been added in parentheses. Explanations and
usage of Chinese terminology have also in
Qingtian emigration history goes back more than 300 years. Initially the
emigrants carried Qingtian stone carvings with them and went via Siberia to Europe or
boarded ships out of Shanghai. Initially, they sold Qingtian stone carvings, but later
they developed from being peddlers into managing restaurants, making leather
products or clothing, and opening stores and other enterprises; some became engaged
in research and teaching, and a few managed to enter politics. In 1987, there were
20,000 overseas Chinese (huaqiao ^#) from Qingtian in 46 countries on all five
continents, the majority being in Europe, followed by America and Asia. [Chen Guoji:
By 1986, the overseas Chinese (huaqiao ig#) of Qingtian amounted to more than
16,000 people living in 46 different countries, the majority being in Europe and
constituting 88,4% of the total number of overseas Chinese, followed by America and
Asia].
REMI 1996 (12) 2 pp. 275-296 278 Mette THUN0
Chapter 1 - The history of emigration
Part 1 - Origin and development
Already by the beginning of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) people from Qingtian
county started emigrating. [Chen Guoji: Already by the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
and beginning of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) people from Qingtian county started
emigrating]. The English edition of the Chinese Yearbook [Zhongguo nianjian
^Hi^Jllfrom 1935 stated, "In the seventeenth and eighteenth century there was a small
number of men from this country (Chinese) who travelled over land through Siberia to
Europe as merchants. The initial group to proceed in this manner consisted primarily
of people from Qingtian county, Zhejiang province, who sold products made from the
Qingtian stone".
After the Opium War, the Qing government gradually lifted the ban on
maritime trade and intercourse with foreign countries causing an increasing amount of
people to leave the country to trade abroad. In the late years of Dao Guang (àft^fe, reign
period: 1821-1850), people from Qingtian county went to St. Petersburg and Minsk, as
well as other large cities to sell their stone carvings.
According to the Overseas Chinese Economic Yearbook (Huaqiao jingji
nianjian ¥#&&¥*): "During the years of Guang Xu (3folt, reign period: 1875-1908)
in the Qing dynasty, the first to settle in Italy were people from Tianmen (Hf^), Hubei
province, and Qingtian, Zhejiang province. The former group sold paper flowers and
the latter Qingtian stones" ... "Our people started emigrating to central Europe already
in the late Qing dynasty when craftsmen from Qingtian county, Zhejiang province and
from Shandong province went across Siberia to Moscow and eventually reached
Berlin".
During the years of Guangxu (1875-1908), 76 people from Kuiyan village
(M%) m Fangshan township cfrilj) left China primarily for Japan and a minor part for
Europe. Those who went to Japan initially sold stones for a living, but later many
changed to do manual work, for instance as coal porters. In 1888, the stone carver Lin
Maoxiang (fàfêffî) from Shankou (ljU n) went to the San Francisco area to sell stones.
On his gravestone the epitaph reads: Mr. Lin Maoxiang ... was a grown up man when
he had the great aspiration of going abroad to sell his work of art, ... in the fourteenth
year of Guangxu (1888) he went as far away as America and met in San Francisco the
honourable Chinese envoy Mr. Fu Yunlong (-fHHf!), ... after a few years, he and his two
good sons over time went to all five continents and all his plans were fulfilled".
In the same year Zhan Ayou (MM% ) from Kuishi village (Mftift) went to
France to trade. In 1890, Zhou Liuxian 0U@f£) from Gangtou (MM) eventually
reached South America to make a living after having visited many places and
countries. In 1892, the merchant Ji Zhaojun (^%W) from Shankou went to Southeast
Asia and India together with six other people to sell carved stones. In 1897, Liu
Ganmu ( iW/fc) from Nan Mudang village ($i^.fé), Xiaoling township (/Jv§-) went to
England and Holland to trade. In 1898, Ji Fudian ($HH) from Fangshan, Qiushan
village (Stii) went to Russia to sell carved stones. In 1900, the stone carver named Zhu
(&) from Shankou was employed by English merchants and afterwards he was able to
open a Chinese handicraft shop in London. In the last year of the reign of Guangxu,
Chen Yuanfeng (W^M) from Qingtian county sold stones in Putuo (^PtO, Zhejiang
province. He learned that Western Europeans highly cherished the Qingtian stone
REMI 1996 (12) 2 pp. 275-296 Chinese Emigration to Europe : Combining European and Chinese Sources 279
carvings making him venture to France, where he profited well from selling his stone
carvings. Upon learning about his success, many relatives and friends followed him to
France.
From the early years of the Republic until the beginning of the War of
Resistance against Japan, Qingtian stone carvings became very popular. In 1915 at the
exhibition "Panama Pacific Ocean Trade Fair" in San Francisco, stone carvers from
Qingtian participated and earned a silver medal and attracted the interest of the
Americans. Consequently, several people from Qingtian were able to establish rather
flourishing shops with Qingtian stone carvings.
In 1917 there were more than 100 people from Qingtian in Moscow and St.
Petersburg earning their living by selling small size Qingtian stone carvings as flower
vases. Later, due to transportation difficulties of the stones, the merchants
started selling leather objects (small skin wallets).
In 1918, Wang Zhinan (i^^f) from Huangshan (Hilj), Wuan township (^),
went from France to Holland and in co-operation with a Cantonese named Jian Tan
(fêîjÇ) he established a hotel for sailors and recruited Chinese seamen for the Dutch
steamship companies. Soon many fellow countrymen and relatives from China and
abroad joined them in Holland.
In 1917, the Nationalist government in Peking announced their participation
in World War I. Subsequently, England, France and other countries enlisted a great
number of Chinese workers to go to Europe to serve in the war. In the winter of 1917,
the Qingtian county government started to recruit workers. All the applicants were
recruited, a total of more than 2,000. After the war, the majority settled in Europe,
primarily France where 1000 persons stayed behind. On the 27th of December 1918,
the French President issued the Chinese French national certificates entitling them to
the same civil rights as the French nationals. Chen Shaochu (Wf®%}) from Shanshu
yuantou (WfàMM), Shankou township, even obtained a medal from the French
government
The peddlers selling Qingtian stone carvings reaching Europe via Siberia
plus the Chinese workers who stayed after having participated in World War I came to
constitute the backbone of the Qingtian overseas Chinese. This initial group of Chinese
in Europe assisted and supported relatives and friends from the county in going to
Europe and establishing themselves there. Especially the 1920s and 1930s became a
period with strong emigration from the county. Alone in Western Europe, the Chinese
from Qingtian and their descendants make up almost 10,000 persons, with 3,000
distributed in France, more than 1,000 each in Holland, Austria and Italy, 300 each in
Belgium and Spain, and more than 200 in Portugal.
In the period from 1919 to 1928, 427 persons from Qingtian went to Japan
primarily as manual workers and only a minority sold Qingtian stones as a living.
From 1901 to 1937, 120 persons from Qingtian were attracted by South
America, primarily Brazil, but also Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador.
According to an inquiry made in 1982 among 1816 returned overseas
Chinese from the most important townships with emigrant traditions ($$$) in Qingtian
county (Fangshan, Youzhu (tÊfj), Fushan (J|luj), and 12 other townships) (excluding
Shankou). 61 persons had left in the late Qing period (1888-1911), 130 persons in the
REMI 1996 (12) 2 pp. 275-296 280 Mette THUN0
early years of the Republic (1912-1918), and 1568 persons in the period after World
War I and before the War of Resistance against Japan constituting 86,3% of the total.
From 1937 to 1949, only 57 persons left the county for foreign countries
Year of emigration for returned overseas Chinese
Persons Year Persons Year Persons Year Persons Year
1888 1 1906-1910 25 1931-1935 222 Total 1816
1890 1 1911-1915 77 1936-1940 54 Illustration non autorisée à la diffusion
1897 1 1916-1920 240 1941-1945 16
1 1921-1925 547 1946 3 1900
1 621 1901-1905 1926-1930 1948 3
After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the approval and
formalities for leaving the country became extremely strict making the number of
emigrants increase very slowly. From 1950-1959, 152 persons received admission to
leave the country; from 1960 to 1965, 124 persons; from 1966 to 1976, 91 persons.
After the Cultural Revolution, the "left" orientation in affairs concerning nationals
living abroad was slowly corrected and due to the politics of openness the number of
people leaving the country increased quickly. From 1979 to 1986, 10,948 persons
obtained passports and in 1987 alone it was 3,128 persons. Since 1979, 70% of the
persons having received a passport have already crossed the border.
Persons permitted passports for going abroad, 1979-1986
1981 1983 1985 District/year 1979 1980 1982 1984 1986 Total
345 138 158 330 628 1,257 942 4,000 Shankou dist. 202
42 49 124 211 526 Chengjiao dist. 83 109 350 1,494
Wenxi dist. 65 105 23 62 87 201 414 263 1,220 ■>M*ig re"
Beishan dist. 32 28 17 6 48 39 68 58 296
Wanshan dist. 3 7 2 4 1 7 13 17 54 Illustration non autorisée à la diffusion
Chuanliao dist. 5 8 1 10 12 8 40 36 120
Zhangcun dist. 12 5 0 0 0 2 13 4 36
161 224 122 168 319 584 1,041 848 3,467 Hecheng town
mmm
Wenxi town 10 18 19 11 28 43 69 63 261
Total per year 573 852 364 468 946 1,723 3,441 2,581 10,948
REMI 1996 (12) 2 pp. 275-296 Emigration to Europe : Combining European and Chinese Sources 28 1 Chinese
Part 2: Land and sea routes
Europe
Land route
In the early years most county people went from Shanghai by boat to the northern ports
of Port Arthur (Liishun 36Ji) or Yingkou (>§■□) (both in southern Liaoning province),
thereafter taking the trans-Siberian railway overland, crossing the border into
Manchuria and Siberia in the direction of Moscow. In Moscow, they would continue
onto different European countries. Going to Europe by train, they did not need any
passports. At that time when Russia and England were establishing the railroad
connection, they set up an advertisement reading: "For the Eastern traveller, a trip by
the trans-Siberian railway to England is an immensely interesting route. This northern
course from the East to Moscow and England is very cheap. It is not necessary to
present or get your passport examined. If you are not delayed by a health inspection in
Port Arthur, you can reach London in 25 days!"
In the last years of the Qing dynasty, Shankou township and surrounding
area were hit by an "emigration fever". In 1907, Ji Meikai (^Jtfê) sold his land to be
able to go abroad and took along two boxes of carved Qingtian stones. With two fellow
county men, he went from Shanghai to Port Arthur, a train brought them through
Russia and in 21 days they arrived in Moscow. Hawking their stones, the Russians
would decline their offers: "Those things were sold here a long time ago". So they rode
the train to Berlin. When the stones were sold out, they twice had new stone objects
sent from China.
Sea route
During the years of the Republic (191 1-1949) the majority of people from the
county went to Europe by ship either as stowaways or as regular passengers with
passports. Stowaways did not have to apply for a passport or go through the formalities
to get a permit to leave the country. All they did was to pay 200 silver dollar coins (at
that time three silver coins equalled one dan (approx. 150 pounds of millet). In
Shanghai, secret organisations in some hotels had contacts to sailors in charge on
ocean-going freighters. Those who wanted to go abroad waited for a chance to board a
ship disguised as real sailors and hid in the dormitories in the engine room or storage
rooms. After arriving at their destination port, they took advantage of the night and
were led ashore to the inns run by people from Qingtian.
Another way of leaving the country was to apply for a passport. In Shanghai
county people had established banking houses such as Gonghechang (£•-£* H), Gongdali
(-2HÊ5&I) and Tongchang (R]g), offering passport application services for a fee of 300
silver coins. If the emigrants had insufficient living and travelling capital, they could
also borrow money there. The banking houses also offered postal services for the
overseas Chinese. After the emigrant had received his passport, a steamship brought
him from Shanghai to Hong Kong or Singapore and then through the Strait of Malacca
and round the Cape of Good Hope to Europe. After the opening of the Suez Canal the
REMI 1996 (12) 2 pp. 275-296