Exhibition Display: The Early Chinese Canadian Christian History

Date(s) - November 11, 2013 - November 15, 2013
8:00 am - 9:00 pm

Carey Centre

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Much has been written on Chinese-Canadian history, particularly on the topic of the Gold Rush, Chinese labourers and the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, head tax and voting issues, racial discrimination, Chinatowns and Chinese “social evils.”  While Jiwu Wang wrote an excellent historical survey titled, “His Dominion” and the “Yellow Peril”: Protestant Missions to Chinese Immigrants in Canada, 1859-1967, which added a significant contribution to a neglected area of history affecting the life of Chinese Canadians, more Chinese Canadian Christian stories need to be recovered in order to illustrate the social dynamic of religious life affecting Chinese Canadians in the early days.

The Christian Church, a primarily “white” institution during those days, went against the predominant social ethos and touched thousands of lives of Chinese immigrants and their children, primarily through education.  The aspirations of the Christian Church was to integrate rather than segregate the “Orientals” into the Canadian society, to make them good citizens of the kingdom in heaven and on earth, and to “civilize” them through the ethics of the Western Church.  As a result, many Chinese immigrants and their children who had been denied of their rights to be educated and to practice as professionals, received opportunities to break through the stereotypic fate as labourers and advance in their educational and career paths through their relationship with the Christian Church.

The church continued to play an important role in the lives of the Canadian-born generation, making it possible for bright Chinese women to enter university and professions. (“Family, Work and Survival: Chinese Women in Ontario,” Polyphony (2000), p. 39)

This project explores stories of such transformation – how Christian beliefs and ministry of the Christian church to the Chinese immigrants and their children influenced immigrant lives and opened up vast opportunities for them to receive quality education, to gain an access to Western cultural life, to move beyond their social confinement and integrate and succeed in the Canadian society.  Majority of the content covers the pre-1940 era.  Among this group of Chinese-Canadian Christians, we witness the birth of pioneer Chinese-Canadian pastors, doctors, nurses, military leaders, University professors, scientists, politicians and beyond.

CHINESEBook Launch & Opening
Date: October 17, 2013
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost: FREE
Location: Carey Centre (5920 Iona Drive, UBC Campus)
Exhibition Display & Venue
Date (s): October 17 – November 15, 2013
Time: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (daily)
Location: Carey Centre (5920 Iona Drive, UBC Campus)
* Exhibition Viewers will receive one hour free parking upon checking in at the reception


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