'Habeas Corpus Mongols' - Chinese Litigants and the Politics of Immigration in 1888
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Prior to the Commonwealth's first major statute, the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, Britain's colonies experimented with a range of statutory restrictions on population movement. When these came to affect the interests of Chinese-born residents of the colonies, the Chinese struck back. As in British Columbia and California, the Chinese of Victoria and New South Wales deployed law in asserting rights of movement and residence. When the Supreme Courts of those colonies ruled in their favour, the self-governing colonials turned their minds to ever tighter restrictions through statutory reform. In this way, the White Australia Policy of the twentieth century might be considered the perverse product of Chinese litigation in colonial courts. In this article I argue that the Victorian and New South Wales immigration cases of 1888 demand greater respect than has been afforded them in the historiography and the legal literature of immigration policy and practice in Australia.
Australian Historical Studies
© 2014 Taylor & Francis (Routledge). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Australian Historical Studies on 29 May 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1031461X.2014.911759
Historical Studies not elsewhere classified