This book sheds light on the overseas Chinese communities in French Indochina, the interactions between overseas Chinese communities and French colonial authorities, and the nature, scope and effectiveness of the congregation - an institution designed by the French to control Indochina's overseas Chinese but eventually extended across the greater French empire as a means of monitoring 'foreign Asiatics.' These Chinese formed their original organizations in China, and then reached across the China-Indochina border to expand across Indochina. In China, native-place ties inherited from their fathers bound them together, and after they reached Indochina, they established bases, most often in Saigon-Cholon, and then expanded into other cities and towns where their networks competed for commercial gain andpolitical influence. Narratives of the lives, crimes and political and economic ventures of scores of overseas Chinese living and working in Cochinchina, Tonkin, and Cambodia paint colourful portraits of individual overseas Chinese communities in Indochina, a population that has been generalized by many scholars but focused upon by very few. At the time, all of these places were under French colonial rule, and the overseas Chinese and their networks negotiated the pathways and pitfalls of French colonial law to achieve their own agendas and maintain multidirectional ties, not only with all of their branches in Indochina but with their native places in China as well. By concentrating on the points where Chinese and French interests intersected, the book shows how they cooperated and came into conflict with each other. Ultimately, it concludes that even while the French held official authority in the colonies of Indochina, Chinese transnational networks exercised unofficial control over decision-making, not only in commerce but also in the wider arenas of politics, law and society as they pertained to local Chinese communities.
Chinese Diaspora in South-East Asia
The Overseas Chinese in IndoChina