How American Chinese Are Discovering Their Roots

I’d like to share this very interesting story found in today’s South China Morning Post, Chinese Americans Find Roots in Emotional Journeys to Guangdong

In an aside to this story, many people do not realize, much less recognize, the great contribution thousands of immigrant Chinese had to building American infrastructure during the 1800’s, specifically the US railways. (Some of my husband’s ancestors included).

The Chinese were actually singled out for the most precarious of jobs – suspension hundreds of feet in the air in small baskets, to place TNT sticks to blow away rock – because of their small stature. Many, many lost their lives in this manner. Here’s an illustration circa 1950, by artist Jake Lee, that depicting this practice.

Additionally, quite a number of these so called “immigrants” were in fact kidnapped on the streets of Guongdong, (otherwise known as Canton), then shipped as cargo to the US for cheap labour.

Indeed, many did leave China by their own means, in search of a better life. However, it is important to know the whole story.

You can learn more about the history of Chinese Immigrants in the United States in the links below, and in many great novels, including those by authors such as Amy Tan and Lisa See, famous for works of fiction based on historical fact.

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