search   index   by subject   by year   biographies   books  SF Activities  shop museum   contact



It is another kind of Chinese question that worries the citizens' relief committee and the municipal authorities just now – a question not of exclusion, but of location.

Dr. Thomas Filben, chairman of the sub-committee on the relief of Chinese and the permanent location of Chinatown, told the general committee yesterday that, except for the blunders regarding the establishment of a temporary camp for the Chinese, the Orientals had been well treated since the beginning of the trouble. There are now 500 Chinese encamped at the west end of the Presidio, near Fort Point. Dr. Filben said it was the disposition of the secretary of the Chinese Legation, who is here from Washington, to scatter the Chinese through the State, not wanting them to become public charges or to accept the bounty of the military or the people.

There was some restlessness in Oakland, where many of the Chinese had congregated, and Dr. Filben expressed the hope that if the Chinese there had to be disturbed, the matter would be handled wisely and with great diplomacy. He thought a permanent location for Chinatown should be established immediately, and he said that the matter was to be considered at a conference of his committee, the Chinese secretary of legation, the Chinese Consul and others, to be held today at the committee's headquarters, 1931 Fillmore street.

Charles S. Wheeler informed the committee that he had been in consultation with the first secretary of the Chinese legation on the preceding day, and cautioned the committee, before taking any action, to look well into the future and inform itself thoroughly as to what influence its action might have on the future of San Francisco. He declared that if the situation were not wisely handled the bulk of San Francisco's Oriental trade might be diverted to other Pacific Coast ports. Seattle was making a strong bid for this trade, he declared, and would like to welcome the Chinese of this city. By the exercise of caution and diplomacy, he though San Franciso might still retain its large Oriental trade, and at the same time look after its own civic affairs.

Dr. Filben said that the secretary of the Chinese Legation was being urged to come into friendly relations with his committee, so that the matter might be adjusted to the satisfaction of all interests.

Gavin McNab wanted to know what all the fuss was about and what had been done to ruffle the temper of the Chinese.

"Only this," replied Dr. Filben, "that the Chinese have been hustled from one temporary camp to another without ceremony. After the fire they were gathered together and put in a temporary camp near Fort Mason. Then there was a summary conference of which it was decided to remove them to the Presidio golf links. They remained overnight and were then hustled out of there and hurried over to a location further away, where the few Chinese remaining in the city are now encamped."

A. Ruef declared there was no disposition to harass the Chinese nor to exclude them from a full participation in the commercial life of the city. He thought matters would be amicably adjusted at the conference today.

San Francisco Chronicle
May 2, 1906

Return to the 1906 Earthquake Exhibit.

Return to top of page