Asian Studies Program

Chinese Australia

Digital Documents Record

1241 Mei Quong Tart petitions the Viceroy of Canton and Pekin Government in Hong Kong

Full Document Caption:
This article reports on Mei Quong Tart’s visit to Hong Kong to inform the Viceroy of Canton and the Peking government of the views of the Chinese in Australia on the agitation against Chinese immigration. Mei Quong Tart took with him letters of introduction from the New South Wales Premier, Sir Henry Parkes. In the meeting he argued against the method of restricting immigration through a poll tax and suggested that it would be better to reduce the number of Chinese allowed to arrive on each ship. He also sought abolition of laws restricting Chinese, whether naturalised or not, from travelling between the Colonies in Australia. It is noted that in many ways his views did not differ from those of the Australian governments.

Source: ‘A Chinese merchant on the Chinese question in Australia’, The Times, 23 February 1889

Region: Date From: 1889 To: 1889
Hong Kong
New South Wales - Sydney

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A CHINESE MERCHANT ON THE CHINESE QUESTION IN AUSTRALIA. - Mr. Quong Tart, a well-known Chinese merchant of Sydney, has arrived in Hongkong, on a semi-official visit to the Viceroy of Canton and the Pekin Government, to put them in possession of the views of the Chinese in Australia on the agitation against Chinese immigration. He holds that the objection to this latter in Australia is not due to race antipathy but is made solely in the interests of labour. There is, he, thinks, a danger that Australia will be swamped by Chinese; but the device of preventing immigration by levying a poll-tax is a bad one, and he. would prefer restricting the number that a steamer might carry, Above all, be thinks that England. and China should leave Australia to settle this matter for herself, And then neither side would have much to complain of, because the recent exclusion policy was the result of a panic which is passing away, and he believes that the new laws will be amended before long. He complains bitterly about the laws which prevent Chinese, whether naturalized or not, from crossing from one colony to another on business or pleasure, and he regards this law as a disgrace to civilization. Be thinks, too, that if laws similar to the Lodging House Act of New South Wales were enforced, the cost of living would be so high for the Chinese that they would have to demand the same wages as whites. It is curious to notice that Mr. Quong Tart is the bearer of letters of introduction from Sir Henry Parkes, and that his views are very favourable to the policy of the Australian Governments. The only part of the Australian laws to which he seriously objects is that restricting free inter-colonial travel for Chinese, which naturally presses hardly on himself and his fellow-countrymen resident in the colonies, Mr. Quong Tart went to Sydney when nine years of age, and has lived there for about 30 years. He has had an English education, and is a member of the Church of England. In 1882 he had become rich enough to visit his native home, and on his return established in Sydney a tea and silk business which is now one of considerable magnitude.