As a first generation Chinese-Canadian who grew up in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver's Chinatown—especially in recent years—has always occupied a special place in my heart.
What's going in Vancouver's Chinatown?
Vancouver is a very interesting place with many different enclaves of Chinese folks. Richmond, BC, is the best known Chinese diaspora, but there are also Chinese people found all over the Lower Mainland, most notably parts of Surrey, Coquitlam, and South Vancouver. But Vancouver's Chinatown was the place where all Chinese people first came to live in the mid-1800s. Chinatown was the site of race riots, discrimination, and suffering for a population of newcomers who were just looking for a better life. To add further insult to injury, Chinatown became the site of disinvestment which would later fuel the social issues and gentrification that it faces today.
"The term 'Chinatown' was developed in the 19th century as a European concept to represent an undesirable neighbourhood festering in unsanitary conditions, steeped in repulsive vice and populated by an inferior race."
"Vancouver Chinatown in Transition", Li & Li, 2011, 8-9
And so, I started investigating.
Throughout my degree, I've had the opportunity to continue to learn more about the Chinese-Canadian diaspora in Vancouver, the history and significance of Vancouver's Chinatown, and dive deep into the social issues that Chinatown faces today. This fascination has served as the subjects of various final papers and projects. Currently, Vancouver's Chinatown is the research setting for my honours project in SFU's School of Communication.
"By exclusively recognizing only the arts and tangible manifestations of culture, policy frameworks have overlooked both the tangible and intangible culture of food and the role it can play in cultivating healthy communities. We believe that this is a factor that has contributed to the rapid loss of cultural food assets in Chinatown."
Vancouver Chinatown Food Security Report, Hua Foundation, 2017
Check out the research I've done on Chinatown and Chinese-Canadians.
The following is a collection of research papers, blog posts, projects and presentations that I have done that center around the topics of Vancouver's Chinatown, Chinese-Canadians, and the Chinese identity.