Mauritius Tour 12/8/2012 Talk: China Town, Mauritius Prof. Chan Low Laval Jocelyn Faculty of Social Studies & Humanities Prepared by W.K. Lau Prof. Chan Low Laval Jocelyn China Town, Mauritius Among the neighbouring countries, (Madagascar, Seychelles, Maldives), only Mauritius has a “China Town”. China Town, Mauritius China Town, Mauritius China Town, Mauritius 仁和會館 How Chinese came to Mauritius 1664 – four Chinese convicts 1721 – French brought in Chinese as ship carpenters 19th Century – Small China Town is formed (as Artisans, furniture makers) British abolish slavery, sugar evolution (plantation economy) 1829 – Chinese came as sugarcane labourers However, as some Chinese robbed banks, the immigration of Chinese was stopped for some time Chinese came to Mauritius as Traders Three Ethnic Groups 1. Fukienese 2. Cantonese 3. Hakka Develop China Town, brought in relatives (mainly young males) from China, get jobs in shops Chinese are self regulated (newcomers are not burden to the country), compared with the Indians (they came to Mauritius as citizens of the British Empire) Hakka people From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakka_people The Hakka (Hakka language: Hak-kâ; Chinese: 客家), sometimes Hakka Han,are Han Chinese who speak Hakka Chinese and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China. The Chinese characters for Hakka (客家) literally means "guest families". The Hakka's ancestors were often said to have arrived from what is today's central China centuries ago and north China thousand years ago. In a series of migrations, the Hakkas moved, settled in their present locations in southern China, and then often migrated overseas to various countries throughout the world. The worldwide population of Hakkas is about 80 million, though the number of Hakka-language speakers is fewer. Hakka people have had a significant influence on the course of Chinese and world history: in particular, they have been a source of many revolutionary, government, and military leaders. Development Dispersed to villages, Chinese shops in different villages Built Kwan Tei Temple (關帝廟), took turns to serve as Chairperson. Conflicts among the Hakka and Cantonese, many Cantonese went to Madagascar Christianization (the owner of the sugar plantation became godfather of the Chinese workers) Story of Prof. Chan grandfather Work in shop Sleep with revolver Learn the Indian language Original Plan of Chinese immigrants Plan to return to China Made profit, return to China to build houses Established Chinese school (maintain the Chinese Culture) Decided to Stay After 1949, many decided to stay Implications: Less Chinese Schools Learn local languages Besides being traders, became manufacturers and professionals Dispersed out from China Town Mauritian Riot (1999) Compiled by Trinicenter News Riots broke out on Monday February 22, 1999 following the death of a musician Berger Agathe who was protesting the death in police custody of the African community's favourite singer, Kaya. Kaya was arrested after smoking marijuana at a rally to promote the legalisation of the drug. An inquest found that Kaya had been grabbed by his dreadlocks and his head smashed against a wall. Berger - a well-known local guitarist - was at the front of an angry and upset crowd, demonstrating the death of Kaya. Berger was shot dead by a police who was a HinduMauritian. Supporters of the musicians accused the police of brutality against the island's Black community (Creoles). In the slum African neighbourhood where the two musicians lived - Roche Bois - Blacks poured out into the tin-shack alleyways and faced the Hindudominated police. Mauritius had a race riot. As rioting rampaged through the capital Port Louis for the third day, President Cassam Uteem promised that there would be a judicial inquiry into the death of the singer. At least four died in clashes with police, which were described as the worst the island has seen for 30 years. Thirty police officers were reported to have been injured, as rioters hurled firebombs at police stations. Demonstrators blocked main roads and witnesses described the burning of dozens of cars. Many of the protestors who went on the rampage were young Blacks - a community descended from African slaves that makes up about 30% of the population in Mauritius. They came from the poorer parts of the capital and other towns and are underprivileged. Chinese in Mauritius is a success Example: Rioters did not break into Chinese shops during the 1999 riot in Mauritius…… Investments from Hong Kong (before 1997) Investments from China (present) Problems Younger generation want to immigrate to North America and Europe (UK, France) Lost of Chinese identity China Town declining Q&A Q: Are Chinese in Mauritius interested in politics? A: They are not interested…… Q: Can the Chinese mingle well with the other communities (Indians)? A: They go to the same public school, they understand each other (Population: 70% Indians, 28% Black, 2% Chinese)…… Q&A Q:What is the language policy ? A: English is the official language, other languages include French and Creole. More people are leaning Chinese (Putonghua) to have trade with China…… Q: Why French remains as the local language? A: The British were just interested in the sugar plantation….. Q&A Q: What is the average income of the people? A: 15,000 Rupee for the average family. A welfare system, school is free…… Q: What is the economy of Mauritius based on? A: Formerly, based on the sugarcane plantation (60% of the land), now based on foreign investments and tourism…... Other relating references: Chinese Heritage Centre, Mauritius (China Town) http://www.chineseheritagemauritius.org/index.php?option=com_co ntent&view=section&layout=blog&id=7&Itemid=13 The Mauritius Chinese Museum, Port Lewis, was developed by the “Chinese Heritage Centre Ltd” founded by Henry LOO who is architect by profession. Other relating references: The Chinese in twentieth century Mauritius http://www.defimedia.info/news-sunday/society/item/27692-the-chi nesein-twentieth-century-mauritius.html The Chinese in Mauritius today post certain top intellectuals, industrialists and professionals. This is due to their intelligence, hard work and dedication. There is no amateurism in their functioning. Other relating references: Ethnic Chinese in Mauritius http://forums.yellowworld.org/showthread.php?t=35199 Mauritius' largest population groups are Indians (68%) and Creole people (27%, mostly descendants of slaves from Madagascar and Mozambique), but the last census found 26,537 people who declared that at least one of their forefathers had a Chinese language as the mother tongue, which makes them about 2% of the population. Most are descended from Hakka speakers. Many have re-emigrated to Canada, Australia, and France. Other relating references: Chinese Immigration http://www.defimedia.info/news-sunday/society/item/4825-chineseimmigration.html Very few Chinese emigrated to Mauritius when compared to Indian emigration. It would however be difficult to conceive Indian Emigration without its Chinese counterpart. Chinese labourers, merchants, artisans and traders moved to the colonies or countries where Indians had moved to. Other relating references: The Chinese Chamber of Commerce http://www.cccmauritius.org/history,32.html The Chinese Chamber of Commerce was founded on 8th December 1908. It is the second oldest overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The first overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce was set up in Singapore in 1906.