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Racism and Prejudice Against Chinese People

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In 1776 Australia was colonised by British citizens who set out to find new land. Despite this action, there were many humans that had inhabited the Australian land long before it was colonised. These people were aboriginal beings that had been on Australian soil 60,000 years prior to colonisation. The aborigines land was taken from them by the Europeans through a process known as terra nullius. Terra meaning land and nullius meaning nothing. The justification of this action towards the aboriginal people was simply because the land had no houses, no crops, no land development, no fences, no borders and no government.

In 1830 the first Chinese came to Australia because China at the time had a lot of political instability and the environment in China was making it had to live a safe and comfortable life. By 1854 gold was discovered by Edward Hargraves in New South Wales. Edward came from the American goldfields in California, but he left because nobody had any luck finding gold on American turf. He had chosen to come to Australia because it had a very similar terrain to America. Due to the discovery of gold, there was a heavy number of immigrations to the area of New South Wales as well as this migration to Australia became highly popular. Rewards were sent by the Victorian government for the person who could find gold anywhere between 200 miles from Melbourne. Migration started to become an issue as 300,000 estimated people had come to Australia, 42,000 of the migrants being Chinese.

The colonial governments in Melbourne and Sydney forced a licence expense to burrow for gold. This permit gave the digger the privilege to peg out a little ‘claim’ of eight feet square (2.4m). Licenses helped the administration monitor the huge number of individuals moving to the goldfields. They were additionally fund-raised to pay for streets, organisation and police. The licence cost 30 shillings every month for both the Europeans and the Chinese. From the beginning, diggers complained that the licence was costly and unreasonable since they were required to pay whether they discovered gold or not. Gold officials, helped by police, directed normal ‘permit chases’, regularly treating diggers with no respect and hatred. On 30 November 1854 diggers in Ballarat met again and chose Peter Lalor as their leader. They vowed to battle together against the police and military. Utilising timber from close by mining shafts, they created a stockade and arranged to guard it. On 3 December just about 300 mounted and foot troopers and police raged the stockade. The diggers were overwhelmed very quickly. Somewhere in between 22 diggers and six fighters were murdered. The police captured and kept 113 of the diggers. Thirteen were taken to Melbourne to stand preliminary. Be that as it may, numerous individuals in Victoria contradicted what the administration had done in Ballarat and individually the 13 heads of the uprising were attempted by jury and absolved.

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The Chinese people from 1854 onward were recognised as a very different type of human. The racism they faced was degrading and highly discriminative. They were discriminated for the way they tied up their hair, the clothes they wore, the hats they wore, the houses they built and the way they occupied their time to achieve a higher outcome in finding gold. Chinese diggers were bothered by components of the European people group. Brutality, tormenting, bashings, ridiculing and savage practical jokes were normal. The Europeans commonly took over the Chinese gold mining spots and forced them out. Institutional racism took the structure a progression of reformatory assesses on entering Victoria and afterwards on taking up living arrangement, while prohibitive lawful prerequisites overcame where Chinese could remain. From 1855 the Chinese were saddled a ten-pound charge to land in Victoria by send, and from 1857 extra yearly occupants’ expenses of somewhere in the range of 4 and 6 pounds were forced on Chinese over the survey charge. This was a highly unnecessary implication as only the Chinese people had to pay the extra expenses and the Europeans got away with entering. These expenses were overwhelming, especially when we consider the 1854 Eureka insubordination occurred over the expense of a month to month 1 pound 10 shillings charge which was then viewed as extravagant. As well as this the Chinese were hated as they worked on the tailings in groups of 20-30 people making the situations on and off the goldfields a lot easier. The European miners receieved non of these attacks or deprivations only the chinese did. As mentioned earlier the Chinese had an extra poll tax to enter Victoria so decided to land in Robe and walk to Victoria. They were charged £20 per head to land in Victoria, however, this was highly unfair because Europeans had no such tax when landing in Victoria. Regarding these riots and attacks to the Chinese, trhe Europeans didnt receive any of this treatment in return. Therefore the racism introduced tot he Chinese was unnecessary and highly unfair.

Chinese propaganda poster, published in Sydney and put together by The Bulletin Magazine on August 21, 1886, – ‘The Mongolian Octopus – His Grip on Australia’ animation was distinctly utilized as a type of purposeful publicity against Mongolian and Chinese migration. The animation captures an octopus with a human head and eight outstretched arms. On every one of these arms is an alternate term, for example, typhoid or unethical behavior. These terms, alongside the octopus itself, all depicted one-eyed perspectives on Chinese and Mongolian peoples. The leader of the octopus is the main striking point of interest. The restricted eyes, huge temple, and buck-teeth are for the most part negative common assumptions of Chinese culture. The way that the human head is joined to an octopus’ body is another racist correlation with the settlers taking after creatures. On the arms of the octopus are eight violations that these migrants were thought to bring into Australia. These violations were ‘Fan Tan’ and ‘Pak-Ah-Pu’, which were betting games, ‘Customs Robbery’, ‘Renumeration’, ‘Cheap Labor’, ‘Corruption’, ‘Typhoid’, ‘Little Pox’ and ‘Opium’. Each of the violations recorded were different racial generalisations, for example, Chinese illness, cheap labour, and betting addictions. Huge numbers of these violations were incredibly unwarranted, and were just circled because of expanded covetousness during the Australian Gold Rush.

To conclude, the Chinese experienced racism due to prejudice that was institutionalised by the Australian government. The Europeans experienced non of this behaivour towards eachother because they were considered to be ‘normal’. The irony of this situation is that the Irish, Scottish and Americans didn’t receive any racism or prejudice only the Chinese did because they were more efficient, and they had a very different culture.

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Racism and Prejudice Against Chinese People. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 21, 2023, from
“Racism and Prejudice Against Chinese People.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
Racism and Prejudice Against Chinese People. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Sept. 2023].
Racism and Prejudice Against Chinese People [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Sept 21]. Available from:
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