The Chinkey Invasion., Fair Play, Page 19, Volume I, Issue 26, 1 October 1894

The Chinkey Invasion.[1]

New Zealanders will soon have to give a most emphatic and distinct pronouncement as to whether their country is to be for the White Man or the Asiatic. The fact of the influx of Chinese and the evils arising from it having been of an insidious and gradual growth accounts for the absence of any strong manifestation of public feeling. The danger is not yet fully realised, and the effects have been confined to that class of small shopkeepers and distributors whose inorganised and isolated condition deters them from making appeals of any power, publicly or politically. The want of sympathy which has hitherto existed between that class and the Trade Unionists has not made any combined action possible ; and, unfortunately, as long as the Chinaman confined himself to fruit-selling and cabbage-growing, the Trade Unionist treated him with good-humoured apathy and tolerance. But the advent of the Chinese into the industrial, or rather mechanical, sphere has placed the matter in a new light, and the recent meeting at the Wellington Skating Rink witnessed the union of forces which can bring about a speedy settlement of the difficulty. The proposal to starve them out by a system of universal boycott does not appear commendable, from its impractibility to ensure regular abstinence on the part of purchasers, and from the strength of prejudice or racial hatred which must be generated ere it could have effect. Tolerance of all kind, good feeling towards all sects, nations and classes have hitherto been New Zealanders brightest characteristics, and it would be a pity to take any course which would endanger this quality. No one wants to injure the Chinese— it is merely a question of how to prevent them injuring us. Those who are already in the Colony will probably have to stop till they die out or return to the Flowery Land. But there is nothing to prevent drastic restrictive legislation to stop any further influx. The polltax should certainly be increased to £100, and special rates levied on property owners who let them houses or shops. From some landlords' point of view the Chinese are desirable tenants, as they rarely want any repairs done, and pay their rents regularly — but their presence deteriorates the value of adjoining property. To compete successfully with any inferior race, whose standard of living is lower than ours, it is absolutely necessary to come down to their level, which, on either moral or economic grounds, is most undesirable and ruinous. The danger which attends the proximity of any lower developed type of humanity, which cannot be absorbed into a stream of national life, cannot be over-estimated. The risk of our rising generation being contaminated with the peculiar vices of the Chinese is very great. This is considerably intensified through the absence of Chinese women. The Chinaman is, after all, a human being, and it is unreasonable to expect his sexual instincts to be any less, or under greater control, than the Europeans, which points directly to contingencies of a most alarming character, and affords opportunities for allowing fallen womanhood to sound the lowest level of debasement and degradation. The evil must be nipped in the bud. If the question is dallied with the magnitude of the resulting evils will induce some act of lawlessness or rioting which might provoke undesirable complications. It must certainly occupy a prominent position in the programme for next Session, and the Trade Unionists and shopkeepers will have neglected their duty if their representatives have not been instructed to carry their wishes into effect. If we wish to see national life poisoned at its very source by the demoralising influences of a soul destroying competition, coupled with the contamination arising from social intercourse and daily contact with a people whose moral stagnation has been, for ages past, their chief characteristic, then — let us take it easy. But, if we really have any patriotic feeling it is incumbent on us to preserve this fair young country for ourselves, and for our children.

  1. The Chinkey Invasion., Fair Play, Page 19, Volume I, Issue 26, 1 October 1894


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