THE CHINESE CONSOLIDATED BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION AND CHINA:1884-1922–A Selective Guide of Primary SourcesYing LiuSubject Liaison & Reference LibrarianMcPherson LibraryP.O. Box 1800 STN CSCVictoria, British Columbia, V8W 3H5CanadaEmail:[email protected]Tel: (250) 7218277Tina BebbingtonSubject Liaison & Reference LibrarianMcPherson LibraryP.O. Box 1800 STN CSCVictoria, British Columbia, V8W 3H5CanadaEmail:[email protected]Tel: (250) 7218252February 15, 2012
1AbstractThis paper identifies, assesses and places in historical context many of the primary sourcedocuments found in the University of Victoria’s Chinese Consolidated Benevolent AssociationFonds (1884-1979).These documents illuminate the lives and struggles of the ChineseCommunities in Victoria and throughout British Columbia, and document that communitiesstruggle to protect their interest in an often hostile Canadian society.IntroductionThe Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Society (CCBA) was founded in Victoria, BritishColumbia in 1884.It was the sole representative for the interests of Chinese in Canada until theChinese Consulate was established in Ottawa in 1908, and continues this work to present day.With assistance from Dr David Lai, Professor Emeritus, 7 linear metres of documents from theCCBA’s earliest years were deposited on indefinite loan to the University of Victoria Archives in1973.The material was to remain sealed, except with permission from the CCBA executive,who have continued this loan agreement over time. In 2008, they agreed to allow UVic Archivesto digitize some of the most interesting documents as part of the multi-institutional MulticulturalCanada Project.The collection contains documentation of the CCBA’s activities between 1884 and 1979, whichincluded such diverse things as protesting racial discrimination, supporting organizations inChina, mediating business deals and disputes, providing financial assistance to Chinese in China,Canada and Cuba, and establishing public services such as a hospitals and a school.In addition to the executive records of the organization, the fonds contains a variety of relatedmaterial, such as lists of Chinese deceased, donation and fundraising records, population data,and records of the Chinese Hospital (these records remain closed until 2040).The purpose of this paper is to bring to light this important collection, and highlight somesignificant English and Chinese primary sources to scholars who may be interested in the historyof early Chinese immigrants in Canada.We’ll introduce, review and assess some relevantdocuments, focusing on how the CCBA, a local community and charitable organization on thewest coast of Canada, maintained relations with the Chinese Government between its founding in1884 and 1922.These case studies will demonstrate the overseas Chinese community’sattitudes to China as they experienced discrimination and a lack of understanding from their hostgovernment and British Columbia Society.