A communication from Tsung-li-Yamên (the foreign office) to the United States minister, Mr. Charles Denby.
Sir: We had the honor of addressing your excellency a note in the first month this year regarding the outrages committed upon the Chinese laborers in the United States, which we requested you to communicate to the Secretary of State, to the end that protection might be extended to them according to their rights as guarantied by the treaty stipulations. We received a reply from you, stating that you had communicated with the Secretary of State on the subject, and that you had heard of the strenuous efforts of your Government in protecting them.
Chinese laborers hitherto and now residing in the United States are entitled by treaty to go and come of their own free will and accord, and to protection, rights, privileges, immunities, and exemptions which are accorded to citizens or subjects of the most favored nation. That your Government issues certificates to those Chinese laborers who may leave the United States for their homes or other country, thereby enabling them to return to the United States, is an act in conformity with the treaty stipulations.
Recently outrages of a serious nature—such as driving the Chinese from their fields of labor and places of abode or trade, burning and murdering them—have been repeatedly committed. The local authorities had not extended to them timely protection, nor have they exerted themselves with zeal in bringing the perpetrators of the crimes to justice after their commission; consequently, though after such a long; delay, no justice has as yet been obtained in any of the cases, for which the sufferers feel bitterly grieved even in their very bones, and those who hear of it feel pained to their hearts.
While your Government in vain professes to guaranty protection to the Chinese laborers, they in reality do not derive any substantial protection as demanded by their rights. China treats the Americans strictly in conformity with the treaty stipulations, but the United States treat the Chinese in such a manner as if the treaties were made for no purpose.
Now China, of her own accord, proposes to establish a system of prohibition, that those laborers who have not been to the United States will be strictly prohibited from going thither, nor any Chinese laborer who has returned to China from the United States, where he has no property or family, will be allowed to go back thither to run the risk of treading on the ground of danger. With regard to the Chinese laborers now remaining in the United States and that class of Chinese entitled by treaty to come and go of their own free will and accord, it is hoped that they will forever be treated according to treaty stipulations. These are the outlines of the plan proposed for the prohibition of the Chinese laborers, but the detailed and minute provisions of the regulations relating to the same will be communicated to you for your information after they have been discussed and decided upon by the Chinese minister at present accredited to your Government.
It is necessary that the Chinese merchants going to the United States should bear a certificate by which to discriminate them from the laborers. Either the certificate should be issued and forwarded by the Chinese consul-general at San Francisco to the Chinese merchant, who shall get it visaed by both the Chinese and American consuls in Hong-Kong, [Page 363] or it should be issued by the Chinese consul in Hong Kong to the Chinese merchant. We hereby request that you will call the attention of your Government to the subject, in order that a certain course be immediately adopted for the guidance of the Chinese merchants who apply for the certificate above mentioned.
With regard to the Chinese who, while going from China to another foreign country or returning from the latter to China or from one foreign country to another, may require to pass through the United States in transitu, it is to be hoped that the United States will, as hitherto, permit their free transit without let or hindrance.
With a view of a strict enforcement of the prohibition of the Chinese laborers from going to the United States, we propose to write to His Excellency Walsham, the British minister at Peking, requesting him to communicate with his government on the subject, to the end that instructions may be given to the governor of Hong-Kong to assist in the said prohibition. And we therefore beg that your excellency will communicate the above to the consideration of the Secretary of State.