Glimpses into Chinese Immigration in Canada The New Republic & The World Journal Vancouver Newspapers

Some Editors and Their Main Activities

According to David T. H., Lee’s book A History of Chinese in Canada, Mr. Simon Ko Bong (高榜 or高云山), a member of the Victoria Branch, the Chinese National League, initiated a mimeographed irregular newsletter in Victoria with his comrades Li Tianmin (李天民 Walter Lee) and Huang Bodu (黄伯度 Wong Bark Du). The newsletter became a daily newspaper The New Republic possibly in 1911.

In 1912, the Revolutionary Alliance (Tongmenghui) was incorporated into the Chinese National League, or Kuomintang (KMT), and the Canadian KMT branch reported to the San-Francisco KMT headquarters. The newsletter became The New Republic Daily, the Canadian KMT party's newspaper.

Some local key KMT members, including Guan Baohua, Huang Bodu, Li Hanping, and Ma Jieduan (关宝华, 黄伯度, 李瀚屏, 马杰端), were the earliest editors. Their written communication documents can be found at the Chinese KMT Archives in Taipei or at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1915, Sun Yat-sen assigned Xia Chongmin (夏重民) to Canada, but he served as an editor of The New Republic Daily for only a short time.

In 1913, the KMT was dissolved by the Yuan Shikai’s Beijing government, and Sun established the Chinese Revolutionary Party (中华革命党) in Japan in 1914. However, the English name of KMT, “the Chinese National League,” was still used in North America in order to fulfill its fundraising purposes.

From 1915 to 1918, frequent debates and controversies arose between The New Republic and The Chinese Times (大汉公报, 1909-1992). The latter was a newspaper of Vancouver's Chinese Freemasons organization (致公堂). Their argumentative articles reflect differing political opinions about the future of China after the Revolution of 1911. The New Republic was frequently monitored by the Chief Press Censor of Canada. In 1916, Chinese National League members, including The New Republic editor Li Gongwu (李公武), physically attacked some officials of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA, 中华会馆). On September 1st, 1918, a local Chinese Nationalist League member Wang Chang (王昌) assassinated Tang Hualong (汤化龙), the former Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republican government, in Victoria's Chinatown. Not long after the assassination, the Chinese National League was banned by the Canadian government. However, The New Republic was not banned. In 1919, six KMT members including The New Republic's chief editor Chen Shuren (陈树人) were arrested in Vancouver. The government stopped censoring the KMT party in Canada in June 1919.

Since the Canadian federal government introduced the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1923, Chinese communities have gone through many hardships, including the Depression in 1930s and the Sino-Japanese War in 1937-45. During the War, the families of Canadian Chinese immigrants could not come to Canada and struggled to survive. The New Republic newspaper became an extremely important information source for overseas Chinese and its subscription increased rapidly.

After the war, Foon Sien Wong (黄文甫,) a UBC graduate who grew up in Cumberland, BC, worked as editorial staff at The New Republic. In 1948, he became the president of CCBA in Vancouver, and for the following eleven years he lobbied the federal government to gradually equalize immigration rights for Chinese Canadians with the rights of their European counterparts.

David T. H. Lee (Chinese: 李东海) served as the principal of Victoria’s Chinese Public School from 1953 to 1966. He also worked as an editor, and later the chief editor of the New Republic. His book Jianada huaqiao shi (A history of Chinese in Canada), published in 1967, is a great contribution to the study of Chinese-Canadian history. David T.H. Lee’s archive can be found in the UVic Archives.

The last chief editor of The New Republic was Mr. John Hsu (Chinese: 徐新漢), who also served as the chief editor of The World Journal Vancouver from 1981 to 2002.

< The Founder Ko Bong and His Family Canadian Censorship (1916-1918) >