Clan Diaspora


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The movement of the Chinese within and outside of China has provided scholars with many interesting areas of study.   Even before the New Gold Mountain gold rush days (circa 1850), there already had been Chinese migrants to Victoria.  During the gold rush days, waves of Chinese migrants arrived in Victoria.  As it is generally well known, most of the Chinese in Victoria came from the SiYi region.  

In Australia, for these Chinese migrants and their descendents, there are many stories of success. These success stories are repeated elsewhere wherever they choose settle down, as for instance in the Americas, South East Asia and elsewhere.   Their success has something to do with their attitude to the concept of family and clan. 

By way of example, in this page, we focus on the Chins/Gins Clan (甄) in an attempt to understand the reasons for the success of clan members spread across the world.

The Gin Clan in the Pacific Rim: Diaspora in motion

By  Mun Chin.  Director, Chinese Heritage Interest Network (Australia)

Paper presented at The Chinese Studies Association of Australia 9th Biennial Conference, in association with the International Society for the study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO).   3rd July 2005, The Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo, Australia.  


The Gin clan of Taishan has at least 730 years of recorded history. As we approach the date to mark the passing of Gin Sun Hall, the founder of the Gin clan, it is timely to review the development of the Gin clan, as an instance of the Chinese diaspora in motion. This paper traces the reasons for the transmigration of the Gins from the Central Plain, the cradle of the Chinese civilisation, to the Pearl River Delta, Guangzhou, where they settled in Taishan County, what is today consider the Gin clan's homeland. For centuries, descendents of Gin Sun Hall flourished around Taishan, but towards the dying days of the Qing Dynasty conditions forced many of the Gin to leave China. Thus the Gins joined thousands of other Huaqiao - Chinese sojourning abroad - in search of new opportunities outside of China. Whilst it is not entirely clear how many Gins were "sold" as "piglets" for the privilege of working overseas, there is sufficient evidence to persuade us to accept that some Gin were Huagong first and foremost and Huaqiao later.

This paper explores the movement of the Gins from Taishan to the "South Ocean" and "North Ocean," and reveals the contribution of the Gins to the development of various associations and Chinese institutions, many of which were vital to other sojourners, and later, to migrants from the "old country." It concludes with a salute to some of the notable successes of the Gins in their adopted countries, and attempts to compare and contrast the Gins with other Chinese migrants, who travelled from China in search of a better future for their descendents, and along the way, made enormous contributions to their adopted countries.

View presentation here: Gin Clan Diaspora.pps   After viewing, click the "Back" button of the browser, to return to this page.

See also Gin Clan World Conference page.