Monday, February 12, 2007

Overseas Chinese Forum

This from the Overseas Chinese Forum -- posted back in 2002 by Fred Woo:

At one point, there were over 100,000 Chinese (mostly men) who migrated to Mexico and found work. Many of them had founded families with Mexican women. Later, many of them were sent back to China in a round of deportations. Many also remained or found their way back. The Mexican singer, Ana Gabriel is of 1/4th Chinese background (her grandfather was Chinese).

My own grandfather had married a Mexican woman in Los Angeles and we lost contact with her and the step-relatives after my grandfather died.

I know there also must be some Chinese of partial Mexican heritage who were forcibly deported back to China in the 1930s. Some have said that there are "barrios" (Mexican ghettos) of such descendants still living in certain villages of Guangdong. Is that true? Where do most of them live? Have they not been fully integrated into Chinese society by now?

But, anyways, I found an article posted by one of these Chinese-Mexican descendants:


My grandmother, Cruz Arredondo, met my grandfather, Antonio Yee, in Sinaloa, Culiacan, when he immigrated to Mexico from China to look for work in the mines, in 1928. He opened a small store with the help of the growing Chinese community already in Mexico. They married and had 3 sons, Poncho, Jacinto and Antonio.

Abuelita Crucita, y mis tres Tios, went with my grandfather when he was sent back to China by the Mexican Government in 1932. President Calles at that time did many corrupt things, one of which was to conduct a massive movement to deport Chinese immigrants back to China. Many families were rounded up, uprooted, put on buses and trains to Arizona, U.S., before they were taken to a boat headed towards China.

Of the Chinese who came to find work in Mexico and a better way of life, the majority were young men, many of whom married and established families with Mexican women. Given the choice to go with their husbands or stay and raise their children alone, many women, like Abuelita Crucita, chose to go.

Although, Abuelita Crucita also suffered in China. They went to his hometown where he had a home, wife and children already. Both families lived there together. Abuelita Crucita was also a stubborn woman and would not allow herself to be second in this situation, but she was still miserable.

My Tios felt discriminated there, because they were different to their classmates, and did not speak Chinese well at first. They soon learned over the 6 years they lived there, until 1937 when the President of Mexico, Lazaro Cardenas, made it possible for my grandmother and her sons to come back to Mexico, along with the other Mexicans in China, who wished to return to Mexico.

A newspaper columnist wrote an article one day announcing that anyone who told their story of how they got there and who was president at the time they came, would be given passage to Mexico. Abuelita Crucita saw her chance to go back home.

President Cardenas then arranged for a boat to leave from Shanghai before war between Japan and China disrupted. Abuelita Crucita, who was 7 months pregnant with my mother, packed up her 3 sons and snuck away in the night. She knew my grandfather would not let her go otherwise.

The boat trip lasted two months. Abuelita Crucita was constantly sick. She thought she would deliver her baby on the boat, but she made it to Mexico and traveled back to Mexico, where she gave birth to my mother.


Information posted by Conchita Villalba Yee.
Anyone with a similar experience or with any comments
please send email to:

Paul Yih of San Paulo, Brazil added this:

I have loved your story -- and I think this story of yours should be chronologically dated for the future history about China and and about their immigrant workers and their plight in the past. I think your story will be of tremendous value to not only Chinese but to the Mexicans as well.

If I may add a bit of history, often times, not the most pleasant -- but I think you and I or in t his forum can create such an interesting thread as many will follow sooner or later -- for the sake where we can now document the many events past and present -- which can only lead to a good future. I for one will come to Mexico to research more.

As we all know, as in the many story of the Western stories, be that of cowboy or Indians as in Hollywood -- be that of the well know apache like Geronimo in Arizona and his many skirmishes with the US Calvary.

But in and near Tucson and in Nogales, also there is Nogales right next to the American Nogales. As Tucson, the last city of that famous Santa Fe railroad ended.. along with that, many of hte Chinese railroad builders had also stopped there . If one goes to the city or Marana ---well, a name was given to the Jews -- right ? Maranos e maranas .. Some of the largest land owners in the region were also Chinese.

Many Chinese had also ventured accross to the Mexican side, as in your story, in those days, only men were allowed to come to the US to build railroad and to do grunt work. Mexico had followed the same laws then as the US -- no Chinese were allowed to have their spouses or ---female Chinese -- for simple racial reasons -- US and Mexicos did not want more non Whites to be born in their country --- because then, they will have to grant them citizenship ...

Maybe you and us all can also do the research, where in the early 1900 or late 1800s - the Chinese had grown to become very affluent in the city of Nogales, or in that contado of Sonora ---- But the miltary and the politicos in that region had their envy of the rise of the Chinese where a massacre had taken place in that area. I do not have the exact date where I am still partially investgating and doing my best to document that one episode in that region and I wish I can find more Mexican students, university researchers to elaborate more on that famous burning and killing and lynching of the Chinese in Nogales.

I also would like to see more and more documentation of those Mexicans who were in China and more specifically, I would like to know of the village in Guangdong, as we can trace them of those ethnic components of the Chinese -- I wonder if they were from Toisan -- of which there are great interest to have an overseas Chinese museum in that region, agian to document all the past history of joy, glory as well as pain and agony -- be that of the Chinese, be that of the suffering Mexicanos or their half and half children --- As we all aware of the duo comedians as in Chich and Chong -- Chong is part Chinese ..and there will be more for us to show and I wish there will be a greater link now between China and Mejico ..

Keep up with more posting in here -- as a registry of your abuelita --

Vaya con dios y felice navidad a su familia

Pablo (de Brasil) :)


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