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Nonlethal Anti-Chinese Violence in the United States, 1850-1910

To view the full contents of the sheet, including source citations, click the link below to open the sheet in a new tab/browser window:

Full Nonlethal Anti-Chinese Violence Spreadsheet Link


The earliest cases of racial violence against Chinese immigrants in the U.S. and its territories known to this project occurred in the 1850s, almost immediately after the first large-scale wave of Chinese immigration began. Patterns of Chinese immigration, and anti-Chinese violence as a result, changed after the early 20th century when the effects of immigration restriction became more pronounced. As such, although racial violence did not end after 1910 by any means, this project nevertheless focuses temporally on the six decades between 1850 and 1910.

This project focuses on cases of anti-Chinese racial violence within the geographical boundaries of the United States and its territories. Although anti-Chinese violence also occurred in Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere during the period and was arguably connected to the American system of anti-Chinese nativism, the database does not currently reflect these cases. It is the editor's future goal to research the historical geopolitical contexts of anti-Chinese violence outside of the U.S. and ultimately include those incidents in the discussion.

The sheet is organized by case, and includes cases of racial violence with Chinese victims who did not perish as a result, which this project defines as violence committed by non-Chinese perpetrators. For a list of lethal violence against Chinese in the U.S. organized by victim, navigate using the header at the top of this page. Ethnicity is determined by the sources cited in the spreadsheet; although it is possible that a source has misidentified a victim, the editor has determined the cases listed to be credible. The spreadsheet attempts to take an approach that is both quantitative and qualitative, and lists cases that include white perpetrators as well as other ethnicities, including Native Americans. Although racial violence against Chinese perpetrated by whites was undoubtedly different in cause from that perpetrated by Native Americans, this spreadsheet does not differentiate. Instead, it only seeks to provide these cases for readers to draw their own conclusions. Incidents that sources have included as an example of anti-Chinese racial violence but have not elaborated on perpetrators’ identities have been attributed to the generic “anti-Chinese nativists.”


This list includes assaults, forced removals, property destruction, nonfatal lynchings, and other incidents of physical violence against Chinese in the U.S. Cases such as boycotts, anti-Chinese resolutions, and other incidents that the editor could not prove had a tangible, physical impact on specific Chinese have been omitted. Cases where the existence of purposeful violence is unclear, such as fires on Chinese property that could possibly have been arson but cannot be reasonably determined, have also been omitted. Lastly, this list only includes what might be called "popular" or "extralegal" violence. Cases such as "legal" police violence, arrests, imprisonments, and deportations or refused entries performed by the state or state actors have been omitted. Conversely, cases such as extralegal, off-duty police brutality have been included when possible.

This list only includes cases known to the editor that fit the aforementioned qualifications, and should not be considered complete or exhaustive. Cases that the editor is still working to verify qualifying details, such as the ethnicity of the victim, the perpetrator, or to confirm the case's existence at all, will be added to the list when they can be confirmed. New cases will be added to the list as they are discovered.

Lastly, the "Corresponding Case" column is used to connect cases in this list with entries in the "Lethal Violence" database that correspond to the same incident. To view the victims of a case listed below who perished as a result, find the corresponding number in the same column on the Lethal Violence spreadsheet.

This spreadsheet is sorted by date first, state/territory second, and place third. The sources credited are listed in order of publication date.

Scroll down to view the spreadsheet in-browser. To view the full sheet in another window, scroll up and click the link below the heading.

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