HC Deb 05 March 1906 vol 153 cc64-5

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the 9th Article of the Convention of the 13th May, 1904, between the United Kingdom and China, which stipulates that, in every British Colony to which indentured Chinese emigrants proceed, an officer shall be appointed to ensure that the emigrant shall have free access to the courts of justice to obtain the redress for injuries which is secured to all persons, irrespective of race, by the local law; whether this stipulation was ignored by the Transvaal Labour Importation Amendment Ordinance, 1905, which shut out the Chinese from the resident magistrates' courts of the Colony; and whether, in amending the Ordinance, the Government will ensure that the Chinese shall have access to these courts, as contemplated by the Treaty.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The jurisdiction conferred by the Ordinance of 1905 on the superintendent and inspectors of foreign labour applies only to offences committed by a labourer, i.e., a coolie labourer, and the coolie is in no sense shut out from the courts in regard to redress for injuries. Even in the case of an offence committed by one coolie labourer against another, the Secretary of State is advised that there is nothing to prevent the aggrieved person seeking redress in the ordinary courts of the Colony in accordance with the stipulation in the 9th Article of the Convention.