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The dead body of a Chinese woman was found last Tuesday morning lying across the sidewalk in a very uncomfortable position. The cause of her death could not be accurately ascertained, but as the top of her head was caved in, it is thought by some physicians that she died of galloping Christianity of the malignant California type.

In the summer ofwhen Chinese women remained relatively scarce in California, writer Ambrose Bierce escorts in china this acerbic dispatch for the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser. Killing two birds with one stone, the consummate cynic offender was calling out an epidemic of callousness regarding the often sad fate of Chinese women out West. From the latter half of the 19th century through the early 20th century thousands of Chinese men left their homeland to seek their fortune amid the California Gold Rush and in its aftermath.

As their stay in the United States was to be temporary, they left wives and family at home.

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That dearth of female companionship created a natural market for prostitution, and Chinese girls soon began to flood into San Francisco. Sworn brotherhoods of immigrants who offered protection and opportunity to new arrivals, the tongs were also notorious criminal enterprises. To furnish the burgeoning sex trade, its members kidnapped and bought Chinese girls. Business proved highly lucrative, and with their profits the tongs were able to extend their power, dominate immigrant neighborhoods and further expand the sex trade and other criminal activities.

Although some girls were kidnapped in China by bandits during such political upheavals as the mid-century Opium Wars and the —64 Taiping Rebellionother girls were sold into bondage by their own families. As daughters in Chinese households could neither furnish the hard manual labor required to support the family nor carry on the ancestral name, they were considered inferior to sons.

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Their inferior status in Chinese society at the time made them expendable, thus it was acceptable to dispose of them as circumstances warranted. Families facing economic hardship and starvation often made the decision to sell their daughters abroad in hopes of giving them the chance at a better life.

The women purchased for tong brothels while still in China were handed over to their owners; those not yet sold were put up for auction. On meeting their owners, the Chinese women, though often illiterate, were forced to papers that contracted them as prostitutes for four to six years.

Others ended up in high-class brothels reserved for Chinese men, where they might also receive better escorts in china. Conditions in the California brothels, concentrated primarily in San Francisco and Los Angeles, were terrible.

Often mistreated by customers, the indentured girls received little care and no medical attention. Homesick and left untreated for venereal disease or other illnesses, most women were broken within a few years and rarely lasted more than five or six years in bondage.

Some who started when they were 14 years old were dead before they reached 20, according to Chinese academics Yung and Lucie Cheng and the reportage of Gary Kamiya based on stories in the San Francisco Chronicle archives.

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A dreadful ritual took place when a Chinese prostitute could not earn her keep. The proprietors then locked the escorts in china door.

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Days later, when the lamp had burned out, her executioners entered to remove the woman, who was usually dead from starvation or by suicide. In other cases the ailing prostitute was simply put out on the street to die.

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In the Daily Alta California reported that bodies of dead prostitutes littered the streets of Chinatown. Some chose to commit suicide by eating raw opium or jumping into the bay. Library of Congress. Despite the prevalence of such inhumane and appalling depravity, there is no record of local officials having taken any action to address the problem. As Chinese immigrants in California were generally regarded as inferior, it stood to reason that unfair and harsh treatment of Chinese women would not raise much concern with the general public.

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That said, women of all nationalities were certainly involved in prostitution in Gold Rush California. It was largely a world of men, most of whom had come to get rich quick, not to build families or permanent communities. The tongs came to control prostitution in Chinatown just as they did the other major vice rackets, such as gambling and the opium trade.

By upward of 85 percent of Chinese women in San Francisco were prostitutes. But the tongs had local politicians in their pockets.

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Inwhen contracted Chinese slave girls arrived on a Pacific Mail steamer, Captain William Douglas of the San Francisco Police and 18 officers made a show of apprehending them at the Brannan Street docks, then took them straight to the Chinatown brothels. Eight months later, Douglas and his men did the same for another girls who landed in San Francisco.

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As Chinese immigration increased, the ratio of prostitutes dropped to 71 percent by and 21 percent by The Chinese Exclusion Act of went even further, prohibiting the immigration of all Chinese laborers, yet Chinese women escorts in china to slip into the country illegally with the complicity of corrupt politicians and policemen, fueling a second wave of prostitution that swept through the state. This young daughter of a San Francisco fish dealer was among the lucky few not driven—or compelled—to more desperate straits.

While most Chinese female immigrants out West were concentrated in San Francisco, a seaport with a large Chinatown, they were sent or traveled elsewhere as well. Bythere were Chinese in Oregon, though relatively few of escorts in china women were prostitutes owned by the tongs. The provisions of the Act proved largely irrelevant, as many of the enslaved Chinese women in Oregon were concubines, mistresses or secondary wives, not technically prostitutes.

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Many of the Chinese women in Nevada, on the other hand, were prostitutes, who often lived and worked inside opium dens. While some had chosen the trade, many others were forced into it without pay, as the only alternatives were to run away or end their lives. When recaptured in the Nevada hills, one runaway was brought in with frozen feet in need of amputation yet courted death by refusing to take medicine or food. Escorts in china 19th-century Virginia City paper reported the mass suicide of six Chinese prostitutes desperate to escape enslavement.

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Chinese prostitutes in Idaho Territory were also known to try to escape, sometimes with the help of lovers. The women usually faced arrest, though authorities would drop the charges escorts in china release the prisoners once their owners had posted bail. Not all prostitutes met horrible fates. About a dozen Chinese prostitutes operated in Idaho City, while in Boise most of the Chinese women, like Annie, were married to wealthy Chinese men, many of whom also had wives back home.

As elsewhere, in Idaho Territory many Chinese women considered prostitutes by white society were closer to being concubines. Chinese women probably had it best in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Neither man excluded the Chinese, men or women, from medical or legal protection. Though there were some Chinese-operated brothels in town, many Chinese men who had come to prospect went on to open such legitimate businesses as laundries, restaurants and shops.

The provisions of the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented Chinese bachelors in Deadwood from requesting wives sent from their homeland, thus most single Chinese women in town were either prostitutes or servants.

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That said, they were seldom neglected or persecuted. The tongs in Deadwood largely steered clear of violence or criminal activity, instead helping the Chinese community as originally intended. The only records of tong violence were fights waged against the relatively small anti-Chinese faction in the community. The Chinese in Deadwood even had their own fire company, with a hand-drawn, hand-pumped engine that drew cheers whenever the fire companies staged foot races down the main street. Courtesy Deadwood History Inc. Respected figures in the Chinese community also won regard in the community at large.

Wing Tsue herself was the loveliest bit of exquisite china I ever saw. She was painted and mascaraed in a way no nice American woman could understand in those days, but on her the effect was charming. Her black hair was built in a high pyramid with gorgeous pins and combs.

Her brilliant silk jacket and trousers were heavy with embroidery, and her tiny, useless little feet were encased in embroidered satin escorts in china with wooden soles. Bennett, was a Civil War veteran and devout Christian especially familiar with 13th Amendment passages regarding bondage. Deadwood authorities showed remarkable diligence when investigating the death of Di Gee, a wealthy Chinese woman who owned escorts in china well-furnished homes in town. And while they never apprehended the murderer s or determined a motive, they did conduct a proper investigation, followed by a funeral and proper escorts in china.

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In San Francisco, her corpse might have been unceremoniously dumped in a hole. In time circumstances for some Chinese women in San Francisco improved. Take, for example, the story of Tye Leung, born in that city in to a father who was a cobbler and a mother who ran a boardinghouse. After volunteering for the Presbyterian Mission Home for rescued Chinese prostitutes see sidebar belowLeung went on to be the first Chinese American to pass the civil service examinations and worked as an assistant to the matron at Angel Island Immigration Station.

Angry Angel of Chinatown. Donaldina Cameron right, in this early 20th-century photo devoted her life in San Francisco to rescuing young female Chinese captives from brothels and gambling clubs. Courtesy California State Library.

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When Culbertson died inCameron took over as superintendent of the home, managing educational programs for the young women until her retirement in escorts in china She also organized raids to liberate female captives from brothels and gambling clubs. On occasion Donaldina herself went undercover into these squalid places, risking discovery and retribution by the powerful tongs, who were reluctant to kill whites out of fear of reciprocal massacres.

History of migration

Cameron faced an uphill battle to keep custody of the working girls, as San Francisco courts would often turn them back over to their owners, who claimed them as relatives or willing participants. At the mission home the young Chinese women were taught sewing, cooking and various legal functions, as well as how to pray and behave as proper Christians. Inunder new ownership, the home was renamed the Donaldina Cameron House.

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Cameron died on Jan. Cameron House [cameronhouse. For this article she used Chinese-language sources, archived articles from the San Francisco Chronicle and the writings of Judy Yung and the late Lucie Cheng.

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