HC Deb 29 June 1904 vol 137 cc12-3
MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the advertisement in Chinese of the terms of contract which appeared in the China Times of 29th March last, and which purported to contain and to explain the provisions of the Labour Ordinance under which the Chinese coolies were to be recruited; whether he is aware that in this advertisement no mention was made of the following points: that the labourer is to be compulsorily repatriated at the end of his term of service; that the work will be underground work; that the labourer is to be confined to a compound; and that he is prohibited from trading or from owning property; and will he state whether all mention of the right of the labourer to be accompanied by his wife and children was omitted; and whether the rate of wages for day work was not stated to be 25s. per calendar month; and whether any Chinese coolies were recruited under the terms of this advertisement.

I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies on whose authority the advertisement in the Chinese Times of 29th March last, relating to the terms of engagement of the Chinese coolies, was drawn up and inserted; and whether he will have the advertisement at once withdrawn, and advertisements issued which will give a full and truthful statement of the conditions of contract.

§ See (4) Debates, cxxxi., 636.

MR. CHARLES ALLEN (Gloucestershire, Stroud)

At the same time may I ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to advertisements in the Chinese language, which have been recently circulated in the provinces of Shantung and Chihli, inviting coolies to go to South Africa, which do not inform them that they will have to work underground in the deep levels, do not inform them that they will have to live in a compound, which make no mention of the system of fines and penalties incurred by those leaving the compounds without leave, and which give the wages to be paid in pounds and not in dollars; and, if so, what steps the Government propose to take to prevent the circulation of such advertisements.


My attention has not been called to this advertisement, and if any coolies were recruited under it, they must have had the conditions of the contract fully explained to them before they signed it. With reference to the hon. Member's second Question on this subject, I am not aware by whose authority this advertisement was issued, but it was apparently drawn up before the conditions were finally settled, and if it has not been long since withdrawn I will certainly at once direct that this shall be done.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiry if the original advertisement did contain the conditions; and if any coolies were actually recruited under it, and will he state what action will be taken with regard to coolies obviously recruited under misstatements.

[No Answer was returned.]