Chinese immigration Geoffrey Blainey attacks Asian emigration 1984. Chinese seen as harbinger of invasion - in fact Chinese immigration was a portent of things to come - dilemmas over policy, over the nature of the state and its immigrants, about Australia’s place in Asia. Emigration influenced by economic and social disruption in China - men came especially from the south. Importance of keeping lineage intact. Many – but not all - came as indentured labourers. Fears about Chinese on the goldfields Majority were men (so where most white miners) Perception that they had no right to the resources of the country. Easily identifiable group because of cultural unity. By 1855, 17000 on the goldfields - rose to about 40 000. Fluctuating populations as a result of legislation restricting immigration. 1855 Victorian legislation restricts immigration. Violence on the goldfields General prompted by miners rather than by officials. Chinese had protection under the law. Lambing Flat riots 1861. Martial law declared. Popular resentment led to Bill to Restrict Chinese Immigration being passed in NSW 1861. In the aftermath a drop in anti-Chinese sentiment - tended to fluctuate according to economic circumstances and numbers of Chinese in Australia. The 1861 Act repealed, 1867. Life in the cities By 1878 about a 1000 Chinese in Sydney. 1891 Royal Commission into ‘Alleged Chinese Gambling and Immorality’ exonerated them. Debates over emigration the result of several fears - unionisation and the protection of white labour, sexual fears about immorality - sex and drugs, fears of disease. Elaine Thompson, Fair Enough (1994) - an egalitarianism of sameness. By 1888 all colonies had exclusion legislation. Themes in European Anxiety about Chinese. The focus for concerns about sexuality, debauchery and drug-taking that were largely groundless. Questions of the nation – who should be let in and kept out – how should that be administered. How should egalitarianism be defined – the tension between egalitarian and ideas of race. If white Australia was the precondition around which the nation was founded – this ‘whiteness’ was unfounded. Around 33 000 Chinese in 1901.
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