2/2/19

Violence by Whites Against Chinese As Retaliation

By the end of the 19th century, Western powers and Japan had forced China’s ruling Qing dynasty to accept wide foreign control over the country’s economic affairs leading to a "century of humiliation."
A Chinese secret group, the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists began carrying out regular attacks on foreigners and Chinese Christians. Members were skilled in martial arts that they believed would give them the ability to withstand bullets and other forms of attack. Westerners called their rituals "shadow boxing," leading to the Boxers nickname. Many whites in China were attacked by the Boxers with many casualties. The Boxer rebellion in 1899-1900 was an anti-imperialistic and anti-Christianity move aimed at driving the whites out of China, but the rebels no match against the weapons of the white soldiers. Negative Consequences for Chinese in the U.S. Moreover, the Boxer attacks against whites in China led to an outbreak in the U.S. with whites attacking Chinese in the U.S. in retaliation to the violence of the Boxers in China. In 1900, Chinese in Chicago were victims of violent attacks by whites in retaliation for the Chinese attacks on whites in China.

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Even rural areas with Chinese felt the retaliation of whites against Chinese uninvolved with the Boxer attacks in China against white Americans. In Mississippi, several white men assaulted a Chinese in Hollendale. Several Chinese merchants in Rosedale were threatened and given 5 days to move out of town. They appealed for a meeting with the Governor for protection. However, another Chinese in Rosedale reassured the Governor that the Chinese merchants in Rosedale were fine and facing no problems. Which account was more accurate? Was the denial of problems made out of fear of greater violence?



Earlier History of Anti-Chinese Violence

Violence toward Chinese in the U.S., and many other countries during these years, has a long history, reaching a peak in the late 19th century leading to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. There were heinous acts of physical violence by white mobs against Chinese on the west coast such as Eureka and Truckee in California and Tacoma, Washington as well as Denver and Rock Springs, Wyoming. In 1877, a white supremacist group, the Order of Caucasians, murdered four Chinese men in Chico, California who they blamed for taking away jobs from white workers. The men were tied up, doused with kerosene, and set on fire.
Current Resurgence of Anti-Chinese Sentiment
The current growing economic and political tensions between the U.S. and China seems to contribute to the increase in violence and hate crimes against Chinese Americans. One recent incident is the 2019 horrific killing of three Chinese restaurateurs with a hammer in Brooklyn, New York by a white man who felt Asian men mistreated Asian women in a movie he watched.

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