Chinese Immigration Act, 1923

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The Chinese Immigration Act, 1923, known in the Chinese-Canadian community as the Chinese Exclusion Act, was an act passed by the federal government of Canada, banning most forms of Chinese immigration to Canada. Some people feel that racialist immigration policies are discriminatory while the subject remains controversial.

Prior to 1923, Chinese immigration was already heavily controlled by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885, which imposed a hefty head tax on all immigrants from China.

After various members of the federal and some provincial governments (especially British Columbia) put pressure on the federal government to discourage Chinese immigration, the Chinese Immigration Act was passed. It went into effect on July 1, 1923. The act banned Chinese immigrants from entering Canada except those under the following titles:

It should be noted that this act did not apply only to Chinese from China: ethnic Chinese with British nationality were banned from entering Canada as well.

Since Dominion Day coincided with the enforcement of the Chinese Immigration Act, Chinese-Canadians at the time referred to Canada's birthday as "Humiliation Day" and refused to take any part in the celebration.

Due to both a feeling of horror after Nazi race-oriented deathcamps were discovered and the contribution of Chinese communities in Canada during World War II, the Canadian government repealed the act on May 14, 1947 (necessary with the enactment of the Canadian Citizenship Act 1946 on July 1, 1947). However, independent Chinese immigration to Canada came only after the liberalization of Canadian immigration policy in 1967.

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[edit] Compensation

Descendants and surviving head-tax payers have continued to demand from the federal government an apology and compensation for payment of the fee. Pressure was put on British Columbia Member of Parliament and Liberal cabinet minister Raymond Chan during the 2006 general elections. The petitioners are seeking the same outcome as Japanese-Canadians received in the late 1980s.

On June 22, 2006, the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper delivered a message of redress [1] for a head tax once applied to Chinese immigrants. Chinese-Canadian groups expect the government will also offer a multi-million-dollar compensation package to survivors who paid it, widows and their children.

[edit] See also

Chinese Immigration Act, 1923

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