negotiations for the protection of
the chinese in the united states.
[Left at the Department by the Chinese minister March 18, 1887.]
By article 3 of the treaty of 1880, which reads as follows: “If Chinese laborers, or Chinese of any other class, now either permanently or temporarily residing in the territory of the United States, meet with ill treatment at the hands of any other persons, the Government of the United States will exert all its powers to devise measures for their protection, and to secure to them the same rights, privileges, immunities, and exceptions as may be enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of the most favored nations, and to which they are entitled by treaty,” the Chinese in the United States are entitled to enjoy completely the rights and privileges of protection; but in September of the year 1885 there occurred a case in Bock Springs, Wyoming Territory, where the Chinese were murdered and burned to death by a mob of laborers, and immediately after the wicked class of people in the Western Territories in various ways followed this bad example; consequently, there have been numberless cases in which the Chinese were outrageously treated. Thanks to the United States Government for having sent its troops for the suppression of the riots, by which kind act not a few lives of the Chinese were preserved. The President of the United States having been fully informed of the sad sufferings of the innocent Chinese in the Rock Springs case, and being prompted by a sense of justice, recommended to Congress the necessity of awarding indemnification for the losses and damages sustained by the suffering Chinese. An indemnity bill has been passed accordingly, granting the full amounts claimed. Nevertheless no justice or redress has as yet been done or given on account of the Chinese who were murdered. The acts of expulsion of the Chinese did not die away even until last fall.
The treaty stipulations require that the United States Government shall exert all its power to devise measures for the protection of the Chinese in the United States in case they should meet with ill treatment at the hands of any other persons, but the population in the Western Territories have made the ill treatment of the Chinese a constant practice, and have looked upon the acts of expelling and burning out the Chinese as sources of pleasure. Consequently, no sooner had the perpetrators in the cases of outrage in Rock Springs and Seattle been arrested than they were released, which could by no means strike terror to the hearts of the evil-doers. The Chinese Government, having the interests of its subjects at heart, being unable to bear any longer with the ill manners with which they are treated in the foreign country, and with a view of averting any possible cause of disturbance and ill feelings between the people of the United States and China which might jeopardize the friendly relations of the two Governments, did, on the 4th day of the seventh month last year (3d August, 1886), write to Mr. Denby, the United States minister at Peking, through the foreign office (Tsung-li Yamên), on the subject of China’s purpose of her own accord to prohibit its subjects of the laboring class from emigrating to the United States. There are three important things which China proposes to do in this respect: (1) Those Chinese laborers who have not been to the United States will be strictly prohibited from going thither. (2) Those Chinese laborers who have returned to China from the United [Page 367] States, where they have no wife or family or relations, money, or property, will not be allowed to go back thither. (3) The Chinese who are now resident in the United States should be entitled to proper protection in conformity with the treaty stipulations. The detailed and minute provisions of the regulation relating to the above are to be discussed and decided upon by me (the Chinese minister) and the honorable Secretary of State. The British minister in Peking has also been communicated with on the subject by the foreign office, with a request that his Government may be informed thereof, to the end that the governor of Hong-Kong may be instructed to assist the Chinese Government in strictly carrying out these regulations to their fullest extent, a copy of which was some time since sent over to your Department.
In your note of the 12th January last an inhibition was proposed of the immigration of Chinese laborers into the United States for a term of years, and a discussion together of measures for carrying out the same was suggested, so that when agreed to they might be communicated to the Senate for consideration. And in reply of the 15th January last I said I had also several things to propose for your excellency’s consideration.
Now, I have, in conformity with the instructions from the foreign office, carefully drawn out in detail certain provisions in connection with the proposed prohibition and restriction of the coming of the Chinese laborers into the United States, and the proper protection of the Chinese that are now in the United States, which I send herewith to your excellency, so that we may together discuss the same, in the hope that, when they are agreed upon, you may communicate the same to the Senate and I to the foreign office, for their respective consideration; and upon their approval by the latter the decree of my sovereign will be asked for the permission to have them supplemented to the treaty of November 17, 1880, in order that they may be faithfully carried out by both Governments.
The proposed provisions are as follows:
- China, having of her own accord prohibited the immigration of its subjects into the United States, will do so from time to time in such manner as may be required by circumstances, there being no necessity for fixing a certain period for that purpose.
- No Chinese laborer who has never been to the United States shall be permitted to go thither. Any such laborer who shall be detected in attempting to go to the United States by fraudulently making use of a return ticket and by personating the name of the person mentioned therein will be visited with a heavy fine.
- Any Chinese laborer who has returned to China from the United States can not go thither again unless he really has there his family or relations, money, or property, or accounts contracted through him pending settlement. But before he embarks for the United States he must furnish to the consul-general at San Francisco, for his examination, a full statement setting forth the names of the members of his family or relations, the locality where he has his money or property, and the names of the parties connected with the pending accounts.
- Any Chinese laborer who, returning to China from other countries, may desire to pass in transitu through the United States should be permitted to do so as hitherto without let or hindrance.
- From henceforth any Chinese laborer who desires to leave the United States for China shall, before his departure, report to the consul-general at the port of San Francisco whether or not he has in the United States a family or relations, money or property, or any accounts [Page 368] pending settlement, in order that the above may be inserted in the certificate for the purpose of examination and investigation.
- The exempt class of Chinese subjects, whether proceeding to the United States as teachers, students, merchants, or from curiosity, if possessed with certificates or documents of proof of other description, shall be at once permitted to land without any detention under any pretense.
- In the two annual messages of 1885 and 1886 of the President of the United States to congress, his excellency expressed his anxiety for the maintenance of harmony and friendship between the two countries, for the extension of protection over the Chinese subjects in conformity with the treaty stipulations, for the strictly warning of American subjects against ill-treating the Chinese subjects, and that no oppression of individuals of a special race should be tolerated. This gave evidence of the desire of the President to strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries, which is fully appreciated, by both the Chinese Government and its subjects. It is now desirable that the President should be respectfully requested to proclaim to the public that, with a view of preventing its subjects from suffering ill-treatment in the foreign distant land, the Chinese Government has, of its own accord, prohibited the coming of Chinese laborers into the United States; that this measure will ensure the reduction of the number of the Chinese laborers in the United States; that the Chinese subjects, American citizens as well as aliens, shall live peaceably together without any prejudice against each other; that it is provided by article 4 of the treaty of 28th July, 1868, that Chinese subjects in the United States shall enjoy entire liberty of conscience, and shall be exempt from all disability or persecution on account of their religious faith or worship in the United States, and that any person who may hereafter commit acts of murder, arson, and robbery, similar to those in the past, against the Chinese shall be severely punished without the least leniency.
- It is desired that a United States marshal or other officer should be appointed, and have his office in San Francisco, whose duty it should be to especially attend to those cases wherein Chinese and Americans may be concerned that may have occurred in all the States or Territories of the United States of America. It is necessary that many United States officers should be employed in the places where the Chinese are settled, for the purpose of making inquiries from time to time. If they should hear of any wicked band planning to do injuries or violence against the Chinese they should report the same by telegraph to the United States marshal or other officer thus appointed, to the end that efforts may be made for their protection, and for the arrest and punishment of the wicked band.
- It is desired that instructions should be given to the military and civil local authorities of all the States and Territories to take, from time to time, active measures for watching the circumstances attending the doings of the respective laboring classes of China, America, and other countries, and that if they should find any feeling of discord amongst them they should make preparations for any emergency of disorder that may arise, either by employing extra number of police officers or enlisting militia for the purpose of suppressing any riot that may break out, and for patrolling the streets, to the end that dangers may be averted by the adoption of precautionary measures. It is further desirable that in case of any outrage, such as arson or expulsion, being committed against the Chinese by lawless bands in any State or Territory, or if [Page 369] under contemplation, the local authorities on learning of the same may be permitted, as they deem proper, to summon by telegraph the assistance of troops from the vicinity for the suppression of the same, and the officer commanding the same shall at once proceed thither with his troops. There are precedents for this in the treatment and protection of American merchants and missionaries in China by the Chinese Government.
- It is to be hoped that hereafter if any persons, acting in concert, are guilty of assailing and killing the Chinese with fire-arms they will be punished by hanging, as a warning to others. Those who aid and abet in the assault, armed, should be severely dealt with, and not be permitted to escape punishment. I don’t allude now to ordinary and isolated cases of assault between individuals.
- Simple expulsion by force of the Chinese by lawless persons, though unaccompanied by arson, murder, or robbery, or bodily injury, is still a violation of the treaty stipulations, and a deliberate purpose to create disorders, and the perpetrators should be punished according to their relative guilt as leaders or followers. The foregoing provisions, Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11, will show what measures I think desirable to have adopted to secure the protection of Chinese subjects in this country in conformity with the treaty stipulations. It is the Government of the United States, and not the State nor local governments, which guarantied to exert all its power to devise measures for the protection of Chinese subjects in the United States, and for this reason I have made the foregoing suggestions. They may not be altogether in conformity to the usual practice in the United States, but they are very much like what the United States ministers and consuls have asked my Government to do, and which it has done for Americans in China. If I correctly understand what has been decided, only a few days ago, by the Supreme Court in this capital, there is no law of the Congress of the United States to punish wicked men for conspiring to injure or intimidate Chinese subjects, or thereby murdering, wounding, assaulting, or robbing them. But the court says that the Congress has the power to pass such laws, and to have them enforced by the Government officers and in its courts, and that it may pass such laws as are necessary to carry out treaty stipulations. If, then, in my foregoing suggestions, I have not conformed in all respects to the practice of your country, I think this very respectable court has sanctioned the spirit of my suggestions, and your excellency’s great wisdom in the practice and duty of your Government will enable you to accept in some amended form the propositions I have made, and we may thus be able to agree upon measures to carry out the guaranties of the treaty which have up to this time been so often violated with impunity.
- With regard to the losses and damages sustained by the Chinese in all the cases of cruel outrage against them in past years, it is requested that the United States Government should do justice and award indemnities in every case. It is suggested that this can be done by following the precedent in the claims convention of November 8, 1858, by paying to the Chinese Government a sum sufficient to cover all losses, and this sum to be distributed by China, or by agreeing upon a claims commission to estimate and award the losses.
- Chinese merchants who belong to the exempt class mentioned in the treaty, on their landing at the port of San Francisco, have been often subjected to inconveniences and troubles by being compelled to appear in court, through the acts of the local authorities at that port, in investigating and discriminating the cases of returning Chinese la [Page 370] borers thereto in past years. Hereafter they should be permitted to land upon the presentation of their certificates or production of evidence or bond of security, without the necessity of going into court for examination.
- By article 18 of the treaty of 1858, there is a provision relating to extradition. It would be well to make a treaty agreement, so that hereafter, if any criminals who are Chinese subjects should take refuge in the United States, they may be delivered up to the Chinese consuls in order to be returned to China for trial and punishment.
- In former years a duty at the rate of 10 per cent, on its cost value was levied on imported rice from China to American ports; at a later date it was raised to $1 for each 100 pounds; and, in 1864, on account of the civil war, it was increased to $2.50 per 100 pounds, just about equal to the cost value of the rice in China. In 1883 it was reduced to $2.25. Now you are enjoying peace and prosperity and your treasury is overflowing, can not you afford to reduce the duty? The Chinese subsist upon rice as your people do upon wheat. It’s high price is a grievous burden upon the poor class of Chinese in this country; it is right, therefore, to ask your Government to take the subject into its kind consideration to the end that the duty may be reduced to $1 per 100 pounds, for which the Chinese will feel very grateful. Of course I can not expect that your Government will take off the entire duty as you have from tea and Chinese starch.