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Chinese Diaspora Charity and the Cantonese Pacific, 1850-1949$
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John Fitzgerald and Hon-ming Yip

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528264

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528264.001.0001

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Practising Charity (Xingshan行善‎) across the Chinese Diaspora, 1850–1949

Practising Charity (Xingshan行善‎) across the Chinese Diaspora, 1850–1949

A Multidimensional Overview

(p.19) 1 Practising Charity (Xingshan 行善‎) across the Chinese Diaspora, 1850–1949
Chinese Diaspora Charity and the Cantonese Pacific, 1850-1949

Elizabeth Sinn

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter takes a long historical view to examine a variety of charitable works performed among Chinese migrants at different levels and in different directions for the century after 1850. It aims to foreground the spatial and temporal character of such activities as a way to gain new insights into the multifaceted, dynamic and elastic nature of the diaspora. Looking at how Chinese migrants around the world related to others – including different groups of Chinese and non-Chinese peoples – the chapter notes the mechanism of far-flung networks that covered large geographical areas to capture the sense of the multidirectionality of charitable activities. Questions about the feeling of obligation of charity-givers and other people’s expectations of them, obligations and expectations occurring on different levels and coming from many sides are raised. It is especially these multilevel and multidirectional obligations and expectations that, hopefully, will help us redraw the contours of the Chinese diaspora.

Keywords:   charity, migration, diaspora, Tung Wah Hospital, Chinese networks

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