Chinese Migration Reconsidered: The Case of Nicaragua, 1880-1980
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Room 1103 (Chia-Wei WOO Academic Concourse)


After the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) in the United States, a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment swept across the Americas. The Chinese diaspora coped with this challenging phenomenon in different ways. Some communities suffered a substantial loss of material wealth and legal rights. Extreme cases in the United States, Peru, and Mexico involved massacres of the Chinese, which made international headlines. However, some navigated the difficult times with much more success. One was the Chinese in Nicaragua, who took advantage of domestic and foreign assistance and successfully pushed the Nationalist Government in Nanjing to fight for their well-being on the other side of the world. Based on archival documents found in Managua and Taipei, this presentation will trace the origins, negotiations, and final agreements between China and Nicaragua that provided protection for the Chinese in Nicaragua in 1931, at a time when their compatriots elsewhere in Latin America experienced much more restrictive policies. The remarkable economic prosperity and political influence that the Chinese Nicaraguans enjoyed until 1979 suggest an alternative narrative to the story of global Chinese migration. The Nicaraguan case might also give us insights into how a combination of Chinese initiatives and international forces could challenge a pervasively hostile environment.


Rudolph Ng is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Global History at the University of Portsmouth. His research interests revolve around global migration in the nineteenth century and its relations to concepts of humanitarianism and labor rights. Currently, he is preparing a book manuscript on the history of Chinese migration to Cuba, Peru, and Chile during the nineteenth century, when the Chinese laborers essentially replaced the dwindling population of African slaves post-abolitionist movement. He has taught various courses in Asian and Latin American history. Prior to assuming the lectureship at Portsmouth, he was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and Lecturer in Modern Chinese History at Birkbeck, University of London.

Room 1103 (Chia-Wei WOO Academic Concourse)
Speakers / Performers:
Prof. Rudolph Ng
University of Portsmouth
Speakers / Performers:
Moderator: Prof. Steven MILES
Division of Humanities, HKUST
Global China Center