The Saga of the Water Tower: Chinese Diaspora in Practice

By Kay Li.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 5, 2016 $US5.00

The aim of this article is to examine how the histories of a prominent family in Southern China, the Lau family of the Water Tower, reflect the history of modern China. It also demonstrates the immense scope and complexity of the modern Chinese diaspora and the transformations of the Chinese society and economy. The Water Tower complex in Zhong Shan (formerly Shi Qi City), a prefecture-level city in Southern China, is the ancestral home of the Lau family. It used to be a symbol of local power because of the historical prominence of this family. The plight of the family members over the generations reflect the challenges modern China went through in the past two centuries, and how people responded to the rapid political, economic, and social changes. Some tried to realize their dreams and aspirations; others simply struggled for survival; there were daring ones making the best use of China in transformations to make their marks in history. The family members ranged from high-ranking officials of Imperial China, to a revolutionary supporting the revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat Sen who founded the Chinese Republic, to an official representing the Qing government overseeing Chinese laborers overseas, to high-ranking officials in various Chinese governments.

Keywords: Culture, Diaspora, China, Family, History, Diplomacy

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.33-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 5, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.622KB)).

Dr. Kay Li

Project Leader, SAGITTARIUS—ORION Digitizing Project on Bernard Shaw, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Project Leader, Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Adjunct Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; President of Asian Heritage Month–Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada