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[Introduction]

The Chinese in Australia present their worst side to us. Most of us see in them only an inferior race of foreigners, yellow-skinned, plain-looking, insanitary, opium-using, gambling, immoral, cowardly, jabbering heathens, who work for low wages, and, as the phrase goes, “live on the smell of an oil-rag.” From the information which we get from some rapid travellers in China who have had little chance of seeing and understanding the people, from some residents who do not mix with the people, from some missionaries who have strong anti-heathen prejudices and misjudge the people, from some who have strong racial prejudices, and from other adverse writers, many of whom can see nothing good in the Chinese and give them a very bad character—from all these representations they have become disliked, despised, and condemned by great numbers of “white people.” These unfavourable, and, I hold, for the most part prejudiced, exaggerated, and unfair views of the worst side of the Chinese character, have been spoken, written, and spread widely abroad, while their good points have been less chronicled and voiced forth. I shall therefore in this little book give the better side of the Chinese character from the writings, principally, of missionaries, residents, diplomats, traders and others, most of whom have had long and intimate experience of the Chinese, and from intercourse, observations, and inquiries of my own.

I shall attempt to show by strong and reliable evidence that the Chinaman, like unto ourselves, is a human being, and that, taken all in all, he is not a bad sort of human being, but much better than he has been generally represented.

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