JOURNAL OF PACIFIC STUDIES
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Ali, Bessie Ng Kumlin(1)

Title: Quong Tart and early Chinese businesses in Fiji

Author: Ali, Bessie Ng Kumlin
Subject:  Chinese contract labour|Chinese migration; contract labour, nineteenth century|contract labour|Pacific|overseas Chinese
Volume: Vol.28 no.1, 2005
Collation: p. 78-88

Abstract: In examining the activities of the Chinese who settled in Fiji during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this article throws light on why the Chinese were attracted to Fiji and how Chinese settlement occurred. It considers Quong Tart’s interest in employing Chinese labourers to work in Fiji for a company he was hoping to establish in these islands. Other Chinese also had similar ideas. None of their proposals eventuated and Chinese labour did not come to Fiji in large numbers. Yet Fiji’s economy was developed through Australian corporate capital dependent upon Indian indentured labour. That the Chinese presence in Fiji remained limited partially reflects three shaping factors: the attitude of the British Government towards the Chinese living and working in Fiji; the colonial government’s perception of its responsibilities to the indigenous population arising out of the Deed of Cession (1874); and the influence of Australian colonies upon British policies in this matter. The intention of Quong Tart to establish a company employing Chinese labour is analysed. In this context, the activities of the Chinese companies and Chinese traders already in Fiji are illustrated through emphasis on some prominent Chinese in Fiji in the late nineteenth century.

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