During the 1850s, there were wars happening in China, and the people lived poor lives. The Chinese people then got so mad at their government, so rebellions happened at the same time. Some Chinese people were forced to leave their homes and live somewhere else.
Those people were mostly from Southern parts of China, which included people near or from Guangzhou and Hong Kong. In 1858, the Chinese people migrated to San Francisco and became gold prospectors in Fraser River Valley. But then, the people there thought the Chinese migrants took away their jobs from working for a long time even though they get really low wages. So, the Chinese people had to go somewhere else. They chose to move to Canada at last, and they stayed in Vancouver. In 1886, about 90 Chinese immigrants arrived Vancouver, including Yip Sang. During the 1890s, Yip Sang brought more than 6,000 Chinese workers to Vancouver.
They built the Canadian Pacific Railway. This railway was really important to them, because only the Chinese people with jobs that required to work with Canadians could leave, which means, most of the Chinese people were not allowed to leave Chinatown. But this railway helped them import and export things. Then, they built their first bank in Chinatown. That was also really important to them. Since most of them could not leave Chinatown, that bank was the only way that the Chinese immigrants could send money back to China, to their own families, in order to support their living expenses. The Chinese immigrants had to pay a 50 dollar head tax in order to enter Canada, which was a lot of money back then. Then the head tax increased to 100 dollars.
During that time, in British Columbia, Asians had to pay a 500 dollar head tax in order to stay in Canada. Most of the Chinese immigrants could not be with their families because the head taxes were too heavy, and they could not afford the money to take their families with them. There were also times when the Canadian government banned the Chinese immigrants’ families from entering Canada with them.
So most of the Chinese immigrants had to be alone. During the start of the 20th century, about 16,000 Chinese immigrants stayed in Vancouver, but that led to discrimination. On 7th September, 1907, members of the Asiatic Exclusion League beat up a lot of Chinese people.
They wanted to destroy Chinatown, so they wrecked the stores there, and smashed windows. A lot of things got damaged and people got hurt, but that did not stop the growth of Chinese population. After that incident, Chinese people still continued immigrating to Canada, and the population of Chinese immigrants increased, and by 1931, the Chinese population increased to about 46,000 in Vancouver. Chinese people kept immigrating to Canada, so some of the members from the government discouraged Chinese people from entering Canada, so they suggested the Chinese Immigration Act to be passed. On 1st July, 1923,