The Chinese Community in WWII

The 1930s and 1940s brought changes and challenges for the Chinese community in Newfoundland. While many remained in the laundry business, others used their savings and opened cafés and restaurants. St. John’s was also no longer the only site of Chinese settlement, as men opened businesses in communities such as Bell Island, Corner Brook, Grand Falls, Port-aux-Basques, and Botwood. The international conflicts and events of the period, however, brought Chinese people from across the Dominion together. The Sino-Japanese War (which began in the 1930s) followed by World War II had a direct and devastating impact on southeast China, where many of the Chinese men in Newfoundland still had family members. In response, Chinese people from across the Dominion formed the China War Relief Association and started raising money for the Red Cross and the Newfoundland Patriotic Fund. By January of 1942, the Chinese in Newfoundland had also purchased over $3000.00 in war bonds. Although it was a difficult time for these Chinese men who worried about families in China, their support of the war effort gave them some public recognition from the wider Newfoundland community.