Plus ça change


Yesterday’s history post included a reference to anti-Chinese hysteria in Dunedin in 1888:

A meeting in Dunedin presided over by the mayor unanimously called for a ban on further Chinese migrants. . . 

As work on the goldfields became harder to find, anti-Chinese prejudice resurfaced. Some spoke of a conspiracy to overrun the colony with ‘Coolie-slaves’ who were ‘ignorant, slavish, and treacherous’. Canada and Australia had imposed entry taxes on Chinese immigrants and New Zealand followed suit via the Chinese Immigrants Act of 1881. A poll tax of £10 (equivalent to $1650 today) was introduced and ships arriving in New Zealand were restricted to one Chinese passenger per 10 tons of cargo. . . 

Fast forward 109 years. Immigrants in general and Chinese in particular are once more being used as political scapegoats by vote-hungry desperates.

July 5 in history


On July 5:

1811 Venezuela declares its independence from Spain.

1881 a poll tax was imposed on Chinese people in New Zealand.

1937 Spam (the processed meat, not the internet variety) was introduced.

1946 the bikini had its debut in Paris.

1996 Dolly the sheep became the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell.

Dolly’s remains are exhibited at the Royal Museum of Scotland.

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