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The Chinese in Cuba, 1847-Now (review)

The Chinese in Cuba, 1847-Now (review) Reviews 171 ontheexhibitheldatUniversityofCalifornia­Berkeleyin2002.Theexhibit displayedthevastcollectiononChineseAmericansfoundinthefivelibrariesof theuniversity.Asrichastheuniversity'scollectionmaybe,thelibrariesstillface manyproblemsincludingthelackoffundingtomaintain,preserve,andexpand thecollection. Onecannotunderscoreenoughtheimportanceofthisbook.Thedifferent essaysprovidehelpfulinformationandresearchideasforeveryoneinterestedin thestudyoftheChinesediaspora.Ialsohighlyrecommenditfortheusein courses--whetherundergraduateorgraduate--ontheChinesediaspora.Finally, I echotheopinionoftheeditorsthatscholarsandlibrarians--and,ifImayadd, privateindividualsandnonacademicians--shouldallcontinuesupportingand collaboratingwithoneanotherindevelopingthefield. RichardT.Chu Richard T. Chu is a five-college associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He specializes in the history of the Chinese diaspora in the Philippines and on broader questions of ethnicity, colonialism, and nationalism. NOTEs 1. DifferenttermshavebeenusedtorefertotheChinesebeyondmainlandChinaand Taiwan--"Chineseoverseas,""OverseasChinese,""huaren,"etc.Forthepurposeofthisreview, theterm"diasporicChinese"or"Chinesediaspora"willbeused. 2. AnexampleofsuchworkisJosephineM.T.Khu,ed.,Cultural Curiosity: Thirteen Stories about the Search for Chinese Roots(Berkeley:UniversityofCaliforniaPress,2010).Inthisedited volume,thirteensecond-orthird-generationdiasporicChinesecontributedhighlypersonal essaysoftheirexperiencesvisitingChinaintheiradulthoodandhowthosevisitschangedtheir perspectivesoftheirownethnicidentities.OtherexamplesincludethenovelswrittenbyChinese AmericansAmyTanandMaxineHongKingston. 3. See,forexample,RichardT.Chu,Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture 1860s­1930s(LeidenandBoston:E.J.Brill,2010). MauroGarcíaTrianaandPedroEngHerrera.Editedandtranslatedby GregorBenton.The Chinese in Cuba, 1847­Now.Lanham,MD:Lexington Books,2009.233pp.Hardcover$75.00,isbn0-7391-3343-8. © 2011 by University of Hawai`i Press The Chinese in Cuba, 1847­NowisanEnglishtranslationofthreepreviously unpublishedessaysbyMauroGarcíaTrianaandPedroEngHerrera.Theessaysare followedbyappendixesthatincludeeditedexcerptsfromthreekeytextsbyand 172 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.17,No.1,2010 aboutChineseandChineseCubans.TheprefaceisbyAbelFung,aChinese-born residentofHavana'sChinatownwhohaslivedinCubaforoverfiftyyears.After introductionsbytheeditorandthecoauthors,thefifty-four-page-longfirstchapter,"TheChineseinCuba'sWarofIndependence,"alsoincludesanappendixtitled "CubansinaJapaneseInternmentCampinHongKong."Chapter2,"Chinese BusinessinCubaintheTwentiethCentury,"hastwentypages.Thethird,"Chinese inCubanCulturalLife,"issixty-sixpageslong.Priortotheindexarethreeadditionalappendixes:"ChineseEmigration,theCubaCommission,Report of the Commission Sent by China to Ascertain the Condition of Chinese Coolies in Cuba (1877)";"GonzalodeQuesada,The Chinese and Cuban Independence(1892)";and "DuvonCloughCorbitt,CoolieLifeinCuba(1971)". AccordingtoAbelFung'spreface,"Thisbookrevealsthepartplayedby ChineseandtheirdescendantsinCubansocietyandhistory,aroleunmatchedin extentanddepthinanyotherWesterncountry"(p.ix).Similartoothertexts,this bookbasesChineseclaimstothenationalcommunityontheChinesemilitary participationinthewarsofindependenceand,later,intheCubanRevolution.In hisintroduction,theeditorandtranslator,GregorBenton,analyzesdifferent factorsintheprocessofintegrationoftheChinesecommunitytotheCuban nation.Includedamongthesefactorsaretheconceptsofa"racelessnation,"the ChineseroleintheliberationstrugglesandtheCubanRevolution,theanti-ChineseracismbroughtbytheU.S.occupationofCubain1899,andCubansinophobiaandorientalism.Bentonwiselyarguesthat,afterthecollapseoftheSoviet Union,theChineselineoftheCubanfamilyacquirednewvisibilitythankstothe newgeo oliticalandeconomicpowerofthePeople'sRepublicofChina.The p revivalofanethnicChinesecultureresults,inpart,fromthecreationofthe HavanaChinatownPromotionGroupandtheopeningoftheChungWahCasino's membershiptodescendantsofChinese,includingmestizos. Theintroductionexplainsthateverychapterandappendixinthebookisa tributetotheChineseandtheirdescendantsinCubainthe160thanniversaryof theinceptionofChineseemigrationtotheisland.Afterabriefexplanationofthe reasonsbehindtheChineseemigrationandoftheprogressivereductionoftheir community,theylistChineseregionalandclanassociations,politicalorganizations,corporativebodies,sportingsocieties,andperiodicals.Chapter1explores theimportantroleoftheChineseinCuba'sthreewarsofindependence.The Chinesefoundtheirmotivationin"theexploitationandmaltreatmentbythe landownersandthecolonialists"(p.1)andthe"resentmentagainstforeigncolonialistsandtheOpiumWarsandthetraditionoftheTaipingRebellionandthe struggleagainstfeudalexploitation"(p.24).Thesignificanceoftheirparticipation isprovenbythefactthatcolonialauthoritiesdecidedtostoptheimportofa Chineselaborthatwasdetrimentaltothepacificationoftheisland.Curiously, someofthesourcesprovidedcontradictthegeneralpremiseofthechapter--that ChineseparticipationinthewarswasamatterofCubanpatriotism.Thus,aBritish Reviews 173 consulstatesthatthecolonialgovernment'shabitofforcingtheChinesetorenew theircontractswas"themaincause...ifnottheonlyone,ofChinesepresencein therebelranks"(p.3).Whileadmittingthatthiswaspartiallytrue,GarcíaTriana andEngHerreraclaimthatmanyhadalreadyjoinedtherebelsbeforethis1871 imposition.Thechapterincludesdetailedaccountsofthemainbattles,suchasLas Guásimas;adiscussionofthenumberofChinesesoldiers;andthenamesof numerousChineseparticipants,includingColonelJoséBuTack,CaptainsJosé TolónandTancredo,LieutenantCarolsAchong,thephysicianLiborioWong,and JuanAnalay.Regardlessofthenumbers,accordingtotheauthors,Chineseparticipationinthewarswasimportantbecauseof"theexampletheysettoCubanwhites andblacks"(p.23). TrianaandHerreraalsodismissthedepositionsmadebysomeChinese cooliesinthe Cuba Commission Reportwhoclaimedthattheyhadbeenforced to jointherebelforcesandthatsomehadescapedafterbeingrecruitedbythe mambises.Intheauthor'sview,thosedepositionsreflectthebiasedstanceofChin Lan-pin,theimperialcommissionerwholedtheinvestigation:"Governments nearlyalwaysadviseémigréstorespectthelawsoftheircountriesorresidence, andanofficialreportwouldbeunlikelytostrikeanattitudeofhostilitytoward Spain,ontheeveofnegotiatinganagreement"(p.25).Thefirstchapteralso devotessectionstothefirstChineseMarxistsinCubaduringthe1920sand1930s aswellastoSino-CubanmembersoftheArmedForcesinthetwentiethcentury, includingthethreegeneralsinterviewedinOur History Is Still Being Written (2005). Whilethesechaptersrepresentaninterestingresourceforresearchers,the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

The Chinese in Cuba, 1847-Now (review)

China Review International , Volume 17 (1) – Mar 1, 2010

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Abstract

Reviews 171 ontheexhibitheldatUniversityofCalifornia­Berkeleyin2002.Theexhibit displayedthevastcollectiononChineseAmericansfoundinthefivelibrariesof theuniversity.Asrichastheuniversity'scollectionmaybe,thelibrariesstillface manyproblemsincludingthelackoffundingtomaintain,preserve,andexpand thecollection. Onecannotunderscoreenoughtheimportanceofthisbook.Thedifferent essaysprovidehelpfulinformationandresearchideasforeveryoneinterestedin thestudyoftheChinesediaspora.Ialsohighlyrecommenditfortheusein courses--whetherundergraduateorgraduate--ontheChinesediaspora.Finally, I echotheopinionoftheeditorsthatscholarsandlibrarians--and,ifImayadd, privateindividualsandnonacademicians--shouldallcontinuesupportingand collaboratingwithoneanotherindevelopingthefield. RichardT.Chu Richard T. Chu is a five-college associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He specializes in the history of the Chinese diaspora in the Philippines and on broader questions of ethnicity, colonialism, and nationalism. NOTEs 1. DifferenttermshavebeenusedtorefertotheChinesebeyondmainlandChinaand Taiwan--"Chineseoverseas,""OverseasChinese,""huaren,"etc.Forthepurposeofthisreview, theterm"diasporicChinese"or"Chinesediaspora"willbeused. 2. AnexampleofsuchworkisJosephineM.T.Khu,ed.,Cultural Curiosity: Thirteen Stories about the Search for Chinese Roots(Berkeley:UniversityofCaliforniaPress,2010).Inthisedited volume,thirteensecond-orthird-generationdiasporicChinesecontributedhighlypersonal essaysoftheirexperiencesvisitingChinaintheiradulthoodandhowthosevisitschangedtheir perspectivesoftheirownethnicidentities.OtherexamplesincludethenovelswrittenbyChinese AmericansAmyTanandMaxineHongKingston. 3. See,forexample,RichardT.Chu,Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture 1860s­1930s(LeidenandBoston:E.J.Brill,2010). MauroGarcíaTrianaandPedroEngHerrera.Editedandtranslatedby GregorBenton.The Chinese in Cuba, 1847­Now.Lanham,MD:Lexington Books,2009.233pp.Hardcover$75.00,isbn0-7391-3343-8. © 2011 by University of Hawai`i Press The Chinese in Cuba, 1847­NowisanEnglishtranslationofthreepreviously unpublishedessaysbyMauroGarcíaTrianaandPedroEngHerrera.Theessaysare followedbyappendixesthatincludeeditedexcerptsfromthreekeytextsbyand 172 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.17,No.1,2010 aboutChineseandChineseCubans.TheprefaceisbyAbelFung,aChinese-born residentofHavana'sChinatownwhohaslivedinCubaforoverfiftyyears.After introductionsbytheeditorandthecoauthors,thefifty-four-page-longfirstchapter,"TheChineseinCuba'sWarofIndependence,"alsoincludesanappendixtitled "CubansinaJapaneseInternmentCampinHongKong."Chapter2,"Chinese BusinessinCubaintheTwentiethCentury,"hastwentypages.Thethird,"Chinese inCubanCulturalLife,"issixty-sixpageslong.Priortotheindexarethreeadditionalappendixes:"ChineseEmigration,theCubaCommission,Report of the Commission Sent by China to Ascertain the Condition of Chinese Coolies in Cuba (1877)";"GonzalodeQuesada,The Chinese and Cuban Independence(1892)";and "DuvonCloughCorbitt,CoolieLifeinCuba(1971)". AccordingtoAbelFung'spreface,"Thisbookrevealsthepartplayedby ChineseandtheirdescendantsinCubansocietyandhistory,aroleunmatchedin extentanddepthinanyotherWesterncountry"(p.ix).Similartoothertexts,this bookbasesChineseclaimstothenationalcommunityontheChinesemilitary participationinthewarsofindependenceand,later,intheCubanRevolution.In hisintroduction,theeditorandtranslator,GregorBenton,analyzesdifferent factorsintheprocessofintegrationoftheChinesecommunitytotheCuban nation.Includedamongthesefactorsaretheconceptsofa"racelessnation,"the ChineseroleintheliberationstrugglesandtheCubanRevolution,theanti-ChineseracismbroughtbytheU.S.occupationofCubain1899,andCubansinophobiaandorientalism.Bentonwiselyarguesthat,afterthecollapseoftheSoviet Union,theChineselineoftheCubanfamilyacquirednewvisibilitythankstothe newgeo oliticalandeconomicpowerofthePeople'sRepublicofChina.The p revivalofanethnicChinesecultureresults,inpart,fromthecreationofthe HavanaChinatownPromotionGroupandtheopeningoftheChungWahCasino's membershiptodescendantsofChinese,includingmestizos. Theintroductionexplainsthateverychapterandappendixinthebookisa tributetotheChineseandtheirdescendantsinCubainthe160thanniversaryof theinceptionofChineseemigrationtotheisland.Afterabriefexplanationofthe reasonsbehindtheChineseemigrationandoftheprogressivereductionoftheir community,theylistChineseregionalandclanassociations,politicalorganizations,corporativebodies,sportingsocieties,andperiodicals.Chapter1explores theimportantroleoftheChineseinCuba'sthreewarsofindependence.The Chinesefoundtheirmotivationin"theexploitationandmaltreatmentbythe landownersandthecolonialists"(p.1)andthe"resentmentagainstforeigncolonialistsandtheOpiumWarsandthetraditionoftheTaipingRebellionandthe struggleagainstfeudalexploitation"(p.24).Thesignificanceoftheirparticipation isprovenbythefactthatcolonialauthoritiesdecidedtostoptheimportofa Chineselaborthatwasdetrimentaltothepacificationoftheisland.Curiously, someofthesourcesprovidedcontradictthegeneralpremiseofthechapter--that ChineseparticipationinthewarswasamatterofCubanpatriotism.Thus,aBritish Reviews 173 consulstatesthatthecolonialgovernment'shabitofforcingtheChinesetorenew theircontractswas"themaincause...ifnottheonlyone,ofChinesepresencein therebelranks"(p.3).Whileadmittingthatthiswaspartiallytrue,GarcíaTriana andEngHerreraclaimthatmanyhadalreadyjoinedtherebelsbeforethis1871 imposition.Thechapterincludesdetailedaccountsofthemainbattles,suchasLas Guásimas;adiscussionofthenumberofChinesesoldiers;andthenamesof numerousChineseparticipants,includingColonelJoséBuTack,CaptainsJosé TolónandTancredo,LieutenantCarolsAchong,thephysicianLiborioWong,and JuanAnalay.Regardlessofthenumbers,accordingtotheauthors,Chineseparticipationinthewarswasimportantbecauseof"theexampletheysettoCubanwhites andblacks"(p.23). TrianaandHerreraalsodismissthedepositionsmadebysomeChinese cooliesinthe Cuba Commission Reportwhoclaimedthattheyhadbeenforced to jointherebelforcesandthatsomehadescapedafterbeingrecruitedbythe mambises.Intheauthor'sview,thosedepositionsreflectthebiasedstanceofChin Lan-pin,theimperialcommissionerwholedtheinvestigation:"Governments nearlyalwaysadviseémigréstorespectthelawsoftheircountriesorresidence, andanofficialreportwouldbeunlikelytostrikeanattitudeofhostilitytoward Spain,ontheeveofnegotiatinganagreement"(p.25).Thefirstchapteralso devotessectionstothefirstChineseMarxistsinCubaduringthe1920sand1930s aswellastoSino-CubanmembersoftheArmedForcesinthetwentiethcentury, includingthethreegeneralsinterviewedinOur History Is Still Being Written (2005). Whilethesechaptersrepresentaninterestingresourceforresearchers,the

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2010

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