Friday, March 24, 2017

Chinese once an influential force in Sonora, Mexico

Chinese restaurant in
Nogales, Sonora, Mexico
When the Chinese began immigrating around the world, many of them ended up in Mexico where they became an important economic and social force to be reckoned with. Many of them ended up in northwestern Mexico’s state of Sonora, which borders the U.S. state of Arizona.

By the early 20th century, Sonora was home to more Chinese than any other state in Mexico. But that changed a few years later when thousands were expelled from Sonora. The Chinese worked hard at local trade and businesses and set mew demands in these fields, according to Evelyn Hu-De-Hart who wrote a paper on the Chinese in northern Mexico.

Their successes did not set well with the Mexicans, who felt they could not compete with the industrious Chinese. Thus, the downfall of the Chinese began with the Mexican Revolution of 1910 where new leaders promised the Mexican masses an end to social injustices. The success and influences of the Chinese did not sit well under the new regime, and eventually led to them being dispelled. The Chinese never regained their influence.

In an ironic twist, when the immigrants newly arrived in China, they sometimes only found menial work that paid wages of about one-third of what Mexicans were paid. This, again, did not sit well with the Mexicans who said this led to them being exploited in the work place.

Some new Chinese immigrants were bankrolled by long-time Chinese residents to start their own businesses. This was usually something low on the totem pole, such as street vending. But they quickly grew into larger businesses, perhaps in truck farming, retail or manufacturing. At one time, the Chinese owned 10 of the shoe factories in Sonora.