In Search for the Lost Chinese Canadian Story: A Review and Research Note for The Diary of Dukesang Wong

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.vi211.195486

Abstract

This review and research note for The Diary of Dukesang Wong highlights its value as one of the extremely rare first-person records of Chinese workers on the CPR, and especially, as a comprehensive account of Wong’s personal experience and reflections on both sides of the Pacific and between Chinese and Western cultures in 1867-1918. The book is an extraordinary addition to both popular and academic publications on the history of modern China and Chinese Canadian history, but it is still limited by its selected translations of the original diary and its insufficient and sometimes incorrect commentaries. Thus, in this article, textual analysis of relevant historical sources brings new lights on Wong’s personal backgrounds, and rectifies some major factual errors in the translations and commentaries on his diary. A further examination of Chinese community documents and newspaper reports about Wong also complements the book with new information about his political activities, especially his leadership in anti-racism in Canada and anti-warlord politics in early Republican China. In view of the irretrievable loss of Wong’s original Chinese diary, an extremely rare and valuable historical treasure, this review and research ends with a request for community efforts to advance Chinese Canadian history by Chinese community organizations themselves.

Author Biography

Zhongping Chen, University of Victoria

Department of History

Full professor

Published

2021-10-28

Issue

Section

Research Note