Community

No


A scene from the film From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration, in which film participants Yenen Wong (left) and Terrance Wong hold a flag made out of head-tax documents. One of those documents belonged to Yenen’s father.

SFU premieres Chinese Canadian immigration film

December 2, 2010

Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Related Links



Simon Fraser University’s Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) and the multicultural non-profit S.U.C.C.E.S.S. premiered a new one-hour documentary on the plight of early Chinese immigrants to Canada to a packed audience last month.

From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration is a richly layered exploration of the fate of pioneer Chinese-Canadians through the eyes of their young descendants.

CBC, Fairchild TV and China’s Guangdong TV, which has 50 million viewers, are slated to broadcast the documentary in the New Year.

With interviews in four languages—Cantonese, Mandarin, Taishanese and English—the film captures on a personal level the impact of the infamous Head Tax and Exclusion Act imposed on Chinese immigrants to Canada from 1923 to 1947.

TLC video producer Jordan Paterson and his crew follow current-day young Chinese Canadians from their homes in British Columbia to their ancestral roots in China’s Guangdong province where most of Canada’s head-tax payers originated.

Through 20 interviews of young and old immigrant family members sharing stories, Paterson records current-day Chinese-Canadians reflecting on how injustice has shaped their family histories and fate.

 “Throughout the film we explore the empty homes built by Chinese-Canadians in their ancestral villages in China as they were not permitted to own property in Canada due to government restrictions,” says Paterson.

 “In these ancestral villages are the lost stories of the women left behind during exclusion who have been silent for generations. This film asks us all to come to terms with the historical injustices that still affect us today and to determine how we can prevent their recurrence.”

Among those interviewed are 102-year-old Charlie Quan, the oldest known head-tax payer in Canada, local Vancouver activist Sid Chow Tan and Vancouver police chief Jim Chu.

The film and a companion website were financed through a $200,000 grant from the Canadian government’s Community Historical Recognition Program and took a year to complete.

Comments

Commenting is closed
Comment Guidelines

Christina Wong

I am 3rd generation Chinese-Canadian whose Yeh-Yeh (paternal grandfather) arrived in Vancouver in 1913. Terrance Wong is my brother (see photo above). We are proud of our heritage, but more so, extremely grateful and appreciative for the hardship that our Yeh-Yeh went through during his time in Vancouver. Because of his decision to come to Canada, we are who we are today, and we are thankful to be citizens of this wonderful country, Canada.

Search SFU News Online